We are about to serve you some real, honest-to-goodness truth: cardios aren’t the best way to lose weight. Surprised? And how’s this for more surprise? Weight training is better and more effective.
In a nutshell, lifting weights allow you to burn more calories. Studies also reveal that it will help keep the metabolism up. Let’s just say weights are the batteries that help keep your energiser bunny metabolism up and going. We all know that a faster metabolism helps burn calories more. Thus, preventing weight gain.
You may spend hours on end running on the treadmill or spending countless hours at spin class but the weight loss will not be as much as what you will get from weight training. The results do not happen right away because the magic happens right after the workout.
The ultimate goal will always be weight loss. Getting you fitter and stronger is a no-brainer benefit of weight training. But there are other benefits that include reducing the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.
But what happens in between the now and the weight loss is a lot of hard work—working out is one part and the bigger part of that is proper dieting, rest and exercise.
Although weight training is just part of the equation, it plays an important part in calorie burn and weight loss.
What are these weight lifting myths?
Gone are the days when lifting weights are being shunned. So many old beliefs about lifting weights have been eradicated:
- “I don’t want to bulk up!”
- ”Weights are only going to make me look like a bodybuilder!”
- ”I will turn into incredible hulk or a WWE wrestler.”
- I don’t need those weights coz I just want to do a little toning here and there.”
- “I have to do cardio first before losing weight because the weights will harden the fat.’
These are the common misconceptions about weight lifting especially those who are trying to lose fat at the gym.
So gym-goers, who have been led on by this belief do this: Use light weights and go bat-shit crazy with the repetitions with short rests in between. This has proven to be an incorrect strategy to burn fat.
The best way to get toned is to lose body fat. To lose body fat, you need to burn more calories. To burn more calories, you need to do more heavy lifting.
In this blog, we will try and dissect which ones work and which doesn’t. But before anything else, let us try to understand what heavy lifting means.
This means you are lifting weights heavy enough for you to do two to 10 reps until failure or in other words until you can’t do it any longer.
So why is a high rep, low weight, short rest period NOT effective? Because this actually promotes fat gain.
We are going to be a little bit scientific here.
Weights that you can lift for many repetitions means that the load is not heavy enough to push your body into training mode. You want to put your bigger muscles to work. But by doing the lightweight-more-reps strategy you are instead tapping the smaller muscles fibre, which has little power and thus recovers easily.
Of course, since you are using lighter weights, your body can easily lift them as many times as possible.
But we do know that it takes more than that in order to push your body into fat-burning mode. If you keep on targeting the slower twitch muscle fibres over and over again, the thing it does is it makes your cortisol level shoot up. And cortisols are not a good thing.
They are hormones that induce stress and suppress testosterone and growth hormones—the natural fat burners.
Higher repetitions also cause stress on your muscles and it, unfortunately, leads to aging and damage to your muscles and body.
What are the benefits of weight lifting for weight loss?
Now let us talk about the good things about heavy lifting as far weight loss is concerned.
It increases muscle mass, increases metabolism and increases chances of calorie burn even after a workout
When you lift heavy, you also increase muscles mass. The more muscles you have, the more energy the body needs even when it is at rest.
The body needs a certain amount of oxygen in the body for it to go back to its pre-exercise state or the resting state. Lifting weights actually increases this oxygen level, more than cardio does. It results to more muscle breakdown, which means that even if you have completed the workout, the body still has enough power to burn calories at the resting stage.
High-rep leads to lower muscle mass
What are usually the reasons for working out? Burn calories, lose weight, tone your muscles.
But high-rep-short-rest-light-weights leads to muscle loss. Since as what we discussed is that this taps the smaller muscles, those that aren’t used are turned into energy thus losing muscle mass. Because of this, it takes you away from having that toned body, you have always dreamed of. It may give you endurance, yes, but not toned muscles.
When you are toned, you are stronger
If you want to be toned, you need to strengthen your muscles. To strengthen your muscles, you need to lift heavier weights. See, you may lose fat but to get toned, lift those weights.
You can have two women both weighing the same but one could still have flabby arms, the other could have defined ones. Of course, the difference is one of the most probable lifts. And that ain’t the one with flabs.
Caloric deficit pairs perfectly with weight training
Heavy lifting plus diet is the simplest way to get to your goal of a toned body.
Following the use it or lose it principle, this plan is backed by research that shows people who diet and lift weights maintained higher levels of muscle mass than those who did not. Now this follows that if you have a high level of muscle mass, you have enough energy to burn calories while on rest mode.
Lifting weights gets rid of sugar faster
What does excessive sugar intake do to your body?
First, if you eat a lot of sugar, your liver will become resistant to the hormone insulin. Insulin is the hormone that turns sugar into energy. If your body resists insulin, it could lead to a world of problems, health-wise.
Too much consumption of sugar can lead to heart disease, weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Diabetes disables your body from processing glucose thus insulin becomes useless.
If you do strength training, again, it increases the lean muscle mass. This boosts your metabolic rate and calorie burn is faster.
Weight training following a stop-start fashion, allows you to empty the stored sugar in your muscles. When you eat later on, it once more refills sugar in your body. This aids your system into having more insulin sensitivity. Ultimately, the body is able to transform sugar into energy instead of it becoming stored fat.
Burns more and more calories
Just because you are dripping in sweat doesn’t mean you are losing weight.
Doing the intense and high-rep exercises, you will definitely feel the burn or you will feel sore. You are burning calories, yes, but it is not long term. The effects are only up until the duration of your workout.
Intense workout, which is brought about by heavy lifting, despite lesser repetitions, ultimately burns more because it burns more calories and continues working even after a workout. Even when you are already resting.
Aside from this, the body does not go through the struggle of a high-intensity, interval workouts. If done for a longer amount of time, it stresses the muscles out. If this happens, the body needs to repair the tissues. Instead of burning calories, the energy will instead be used to repair the tissues.
Heavy lifting can help with hormonal imbalance.
In weight-loss, hormones are king they say. You need to fix your hormones in order to see the effects of all your hard work at the gym and in the kitchen.
You may wonder why no matter how hard you try, you are still not seeing the results and if you have lost weight, you have reached a plateau and the scales have not moved since.
This weight-loss resistance is caused by hormones. There are many reasons for this obstacle and it could be a nutritional imbalance, your unhealthy gut, toxins and genes and of course, hormonal imbalance.
Excessive insulin is the major cause of weight gain.
As mentioned earlier in this article, light weights and high repetitions will tap on hormones that will promote weight gain.
Heavy lifting, on the other hand, does the exact same opposite.
Go to the gym and think about burning calories right away. Think about how your workout will affect your hormones. Heavy lifting plus recovery can lead to changes in hormones that will then expedite the fat loss.
Heavy Weight will NOT lead to overtraining
Enough recovery time is an important aspect in the weight loss formula.
Overtraining leads to stress; stress leads to fat retention. If you incorporate heavy lifting into your workouts, make sure that you get enough rest and sleep and proper nutrients to allow your body to recover. If in time you find yourself getting weaker instead of the other way around, it means you have overtraining and it is your body’s way of telling you that you need to recover.
It is also important to lift smart. Heavy training also needs a longer recovery period. Low weights put your body in a craving mode that you want to train day in and day out missing out on maximum results for your body.
Some important things to consider:
Meanwhile, if you want to include weights into your workout regime, here are some important things to consider:
Do not crimp on getting professional help.
Getting the right people to guide you is always the best option. The right trainers know what to do and they can help you get to your goal by following the right, safe and healthy system and strategy and technique. Personal trainers will personalise your workout and will help you not just on how to use the machines at the gym but also motivates you to keep going. Once you have a trainer by your side, they will be able to monitor your progress and are there to spot your when you are already lifting the heavier weights thus minimising chances of injuries.
Lift to fail
When you think lifting heavy weights will not do anything for your body, you are absolutely wrong. If you follow the lift to fail system as what the pros do, you will see the effects of your workout more quickly. Lifting to failure, in gym lingo, means you do the repetitions until you can no longer do it. When you lift a heavier load, the number of time you lifts is not important anymore. It is now dependent in your body. If you can’t then
Eat properly and get enough rest
Eat a high-protein breakfast, avoid sugary and fruity drinks, drink water. Always. Eat fibre, drink coffee, eat whole, unprocessed (if possible) and eat slow.
And while all these things mentioned, the things that make proper nutrition along with workout, are important in weight loss, the glue that binds them together is a good night’s sleep. If your body lacks rest, it cannot repair itself. A tired and worn out body leads to stress and stress causes your ”body to produce hormones that will lead to weight gain and fat retention.
And as we mentioned, fat burn –the magic– happens not at the gym while you are lifting those dumbbells. But it happens when your body is at rest. Heavy weightlifting is advisable one to three times a week only. The other times, it allows yourself to heal and recover. Believe you me, this will lead to maximum effect, which is weight loss.