Usually, people who are interested in losing weight focus largely on cardio because it burns more calories than lifting weights. There’s something to be said for weight lifting for weight loss, though. While weight lifting shouldn’t be your sole form of exercise when trying to lose weight, strength training does play an important part in helping you reach your long-term weight loss goals. It also goes a long way toward toning your body and getting you in top shape once the pounds come off.
Lifting vs. Cardio
When you exercise as part of a weight loss plan, the goal is generally to burn calories and make your body burn stored fat to make up the difference between the calories it uses and the calories it brings in. Lifting weights doesn’t burn many calories compared to other forms of exercise, so those who are solely looking to lose weight often skimp on the strength training because other exercises produce faster results. To really get the most out of a weight loss plan, however, strength training should be added in every few days in addition to more calorie-intensive types of exercise.
Developing Lean Muscle
Lifting weights strengthens your body’s muscles, resulting in increased amounts of lean muscle in your arms, legs, abs, and other parts of the body. This can actually cause your weight loss to slow down a little as the lean muscle tissue is dense and adds weight to your body even as you’re taking it off by burning fat. This might prompt some people to wonder what’s going on, since they’re exercising more but losing less weight. They’re still losing fat, however, which is much more important than simply losing weight.
Boosting Your Metabolism
Once you start developing more lean muscle, the real benefit of weight lifting for weight loss starts to kick in. All of that new lean muscle tissue needs energy, and it gets that energy the same way that the rest of your tissues do: by burning calories. As you lift more weights and develop more lean muscle, your base metabolism will rise and your body will burn more calories throughout the day. This even applies when you’re at rest, because that energy-hungry lean muscle tissue will still need to be fed.
If you’re not lifting weights while trying to drop a few pounds, you may notice that your skin seems a bit looser and you generally look a little more out of shape than you did before you started losing weight. That’s because your body is burning the fat stored under your skin and you’re not building additional muscle to take up the slack. Lifting weights to work all of your major muscle groups will help with this, as the additional muscle bulk will provide you with additional toning and muscle definition once the fat starts melting away.
Long-Term Weight Loss
Strength training is an important part of long-term weight loss. Not only does it make you look and feel better, but it also gives you a much-needed break between cardio days. Between the boost you’ll receive to your metabolism and the self-confidence boost that you’ll receive from your new beach body physique, there’s no reason to not work weight lifting into your long-term weight loss goals.
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