Burn Fat By Lifting Weights
Americans drink an average of 200 calories a day in high-fructose corn syrup! That’s enough to pack on nearly 21 pounds a year.
It’s common knowledge right? Lifting weights=bulking up and more muscle. Cardio=slimming down and less fat. Not so fast. Studies have shown strength training to be just as effective for burning fat as hopping on the treadmill. However “spot reduction” itself is one of the most misunderstood theories in fitness. Fat is lost throughout the body in a pattern dependent upon genetics, gender, and age. That means doing crunches will not necessarily make you lose fat from your midsection. Overall body fat must be reduced to lose fat in one particular area. Strength training is one of the best ways to help accomplish this overall fat loss. Here are some facts in regards to strength training and burning fat.
- Increased Metabolic Rate Post Workout-While doing generic cardio and aerobics does a good job of spiking your metabolism during exercise, strength training using large muscle groups can increase your metabolism more effectively in the hours following your workout. As a result, more calories will be burned for up to 24-48 hours after your workout.
- Boosting Metabolism At Rest– Strength training can stimulate the development of muscle mass which can increase your resting metabolic rate and therefore increase the calories you burn.
- Strength Training Increases Energy Expenditure During A Training Session-Both cardio and weight lifting will burn calories and utilize stored energy in the body. However, in some cases, the anaerobic nature of strength training indicates a higher utilization of carbohydrates during a training session once initial ATP and CP(sources of energy) stores have been exhausted. During the post-exercise recovery period energy expenditure is elevated resulting in burning more calories. A good portion of those calories burned are coming from stored fat.
- Changing Your Body Composition– Lifting weights can help you maintain or increase lean body mass while reducing fat. Overdoing it on cardio itself can cause a reduction in lean body mass and lower your body’s ability to oxidize fat, in effect, lowering your metabolism. Strength training, especially high intensity weight lifting, can allow you to maintain or increase muscle mass while reducing body fat.
- High Reps vs Low Reps– This depends largely on your overall goals in terms of muscle hypertrophy or specifically losing weight. Generally, higher reps is geared towards burning calories/fat and developing more lean muscle versus sheer muscle mass. Lifting moderate to heavy weights for a lower number of repetitions will help you gain muscle at the same time as you lose body fat. The difference comes in post training metabolic rate and calorie burn. Some studies show when subjects used heavier weights and lower reps they burned more calories in the hours after training. With much debate about this, the best approach is to mix it up and keep the body guessing by varying rep range.
- Stand holding a bar on the front of your shoulders, with your elbows pointing straight ahead and feet hip-width.
- Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor while keeping elbows up and hips back.
- As you push back up to the starting position, press the bar overhead and head through your arms.
- Lower the bar to your shoulders and immediately sink into your next squat.
- Start in pushup position with legs elevated on a bench or swiss ball.
- Use resistance by; 1.Placing a band around your back 2. Having a partner put a weighted sand bag on your back or 3. Have a partner apply manual resistance to your mid/upper back.
- Lower until chest/head is close to the ground.
- Explode up to starting position and repeat.
- Start by standing and holding a barbell overhead with your arms straight and core engaged.
- Hold that position as you lunge forward and your front knee is bent at 90 degrees and your back knee is an inch or two off the floor.
- Push back to starting position by exploding with front leg and maintaining your upper body posture.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Grab two dumbbells. One twice the weight of the other and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise the lighter dumbbell in one hand overhead, with the heavier dumbell between your legs and your arm straight with palm facing inward.
- Perform squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor and push back to start position through your heals and mid foot.
- Complete all reps without lowering your arms, then switch sides.
All of the exercises above involve major muscle groups and can be modified for each individual’s ability. Going in and doing a few sets of arm curls is not going to help you burn fat. Multi-joint exercises that require multi-level muscle contractions will be the most effective. Strength training is a proven method for fat loss, and allows you to maintain lean muscle mass and definition while losing body fat. Strength training in combination with dietary modifications can have more impact on fat loss than weight training alone. The ideal program for fat loss would include the combination of proper diet, weight training, and cardio exercise. As a general guideline for strength training and cardio, you need to cut back on the time but increase the intensity. This will prevent your body from going into a state where you start burning muscle mass instead of fat.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments. The next topic will be about sleep.