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There are countless questions surrounding fat loss, with one of the most common being … does lifting weights burn fat?
The short answer is yes, and here’s why. Lifting weights builds muscle, which in turn torches fat. One study published by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine reported that weight training can promote fat loss, and may even increase metabolism.
Cardio exercise may burn more calories initially than weight lifting, but the benefits of lifting weights lasts well after your workout. Building muscle can help increase your metabolic rate, which means you’ll be burning calories even when you’re not working out. Some may get discouraged looking at the scale after a regimen of weight lifting workouts, but it’s normal for body weight to increase with strength training.
However, lifting weights alone isn’t the magic solution to burning fat. If you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning per day, you may not see results as quickly as you might want.
Whether or not weight lifting burns fat certainly isn’t the only question surrounding this form of exercise. If you’re looking to learn more about lifting weights, we’ve got all the answers to some of the most commonly-asked weight lifting questions.
Burning fat isn’t the only benefit that comes from lifting weights. It can also:
One study reported that lifting weights may even help improve cognitive function.
Some women tend to shy away from weightlifting due to the misconception that it will make them look bulky. Let’s squash this fallacy right now. Doing some weighted squats or bicep curls won’t transform you into the Hulk overnight.
If only it was that easy. What lifting weights DOES do, however, is make you stronger, build lean muscle mass, and improve your overall body composition.
This is something CrossTown Fitness Director Stacy Bradley has run into quite a lot, having spent many years in the industry.
“I’m a big advocate for strength training — especially for women,” said Stacy. “Getting physically stronger can be so empowering, especially as you progress with how much you’re lifting, and helps you discover truly how much your body is capable of. It also aids in better sleep, stress relief, and keeps your body in a good place while you age.”
The answer to this question differs from person to person. What’s considered heavy for one person may not be for another. The key here is to choose a weight that offers enough resistance to be difficult without compromising your form.
For example, if you’re doing overhead presses with dumbbells and you notice your back arching each time you lift the weight up, you may want to try a lower weight with higher reps to ensure proper form. Once that becomes too easy, you can experiment with increasing weight.
Many people designate certain workouts as “leg day” or “core day.” While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you’ll get a more effective strength training workout if you focus on more than one muscle group. For example, kettlebell deadlifts not only strengthen your hamstrings, they target your glutes, back, hips and core, too!
While you certainly could lift weights every day, taking rest days is almost as important as the workouts themselves. Giving your body the opportunity to rest allows your muscles the time they need to grow and recover. Stick to a weight lifting regimen of two to three days per week, then on rest days stick to low-recovery exercises like walking, stretching or foam rolling. Resting in between weight lifting sets is also important, and can help prevent fatigue so you don’t break proper form.
Weight lifting exercises can range from dumbbell rows and chest presses to deadlifts, kettlebell swings, curls, goblet squats and lunges. Weight lifting exercises can always be modified to match your fitness level. For example, if weighted squats are too difficult, start off with bodyweight squats instead.
If you’re unable to maintain proper form doing regular push-ups, try push-ups on an elevated surface. Consult with a personal trainer who can recommend exercises, weights, and number of reps that best suit your fitness level and goals.
If you’re new to lifting weights, using a personal trainer can ensure that you’re doing each movement correctly. This can help you avoid potential injury, and can increase the effectiveness of your weight training workouts.
Prep your muscles for a weight lifting workout by doing some stretching, which can help increase range of motion and make your gym session more effective.
You don’t need a full gym filled with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and med balls. You can get an effective strength training workout with just your bodyweight. If you do have minimal equipment, that works too! A set of dumbbells, or a single kettlebell can go a long way in helping you build muscle. You can also get creative with what you have at home whether that’s a case of beer or a backpack with some heavy books in it.
Before you even pick up a weight, make sure you can do the exercise with proper form first. If you have a mirror nearby, keep an eye on your form and make adjustments as needed.
If you want to make progress and continue building muscle, you have to push yourself when it comes to the weights you’re using. If you’re able to get through multiple reps of an exercise with ease (and proper form), it may be time to try a heavier weight. Sure, it might be tough, but that’s what helps you see results!
Join a Fitness Community: Surrounding yourself with people who have similar exercise goals can not only be motivating, it can help keep you accountable! Plus, it’s a great way to meet new friends, learn new weight lifting techniques and keep a consistent workout schedule. CrossTown Fitness has three locations across Chicago with 200 classes per week to choose from.
Looking to incorporate weight lifting into your workout routine? Contact us to get started!