For most people, the decision to join a gym or start a workout routine is based on the desire to lose weight. For many, they make a common mistake when it comes to working out for weight loss. They think the amount of cardio they do will generate the results they are looking for and body fat will melt away the longer they are on the treadmill.
That is a misconception about cardiovascular exercise. It does not have the impact on weight loss many people think it does. In fact, if you are one of those people who have the old school mindset that you have to turn yourself inside out during cardio and run until you nearly pass out, you may be doing more harm than good when it comes to losing weight.
Cardiovascular health is indeed important and training your cardiovascular system with aerobic exercise is beneficial to your health, but not your weight loss, depending on how hard you are going after your cardio.
If you want to focus on losing weight, one of the best ways to start dropping the pounds is to start a strength training or weight training program.
What are the benefits of lifting weights for weight loss?
Lifting weights can be an effective way to lose weight and improve your overall health. Weightlifting can help you burn more calories, build muscle, and increase your metabolism. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Weightlifting can help you burn more calories because it requires more energy to lift weights than to do other forms of exercise. Have you ever helped a friend move on a weekend when they told you they already had most of the packing done and all you really had to do was show up to help with the big furniture but then you get there, and you find out that was all a lie, and you really have to work like you are on a moving team? Remember how you felt the next day and how you promised yourself that the next time you moved, you were hiring professionals? Well, you got that feeling because you were moving heavy stuff around and that works your muscles. Because of all that effort, your body burned a lot of calories to help keep your muscles supplied with the energy needed to move that stupid couch down four flights of stairs since your friend thought it would be cute to live in a walkup on the Lower East Side. Lifting weights helps you burn more calories which, with proper nutrition, leads to better results when trying to lose weight.
Another benefit to lifting weights for weight loss is that as you add muscle mass and tone to your body, your metabolic rate begins to increase. The more muscle mass you have the more energy your body needs just to exist. So, if you have more muscles, you burn calories at a higher rate all day long than someone who has not lifted the weights you have. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of being able to burn more calories just by sitting than by having to face that treadmill one more time during the week.
What types of weightlifting exercises are best for weight loss?
Weightlifting, or resistance training some may call it, helps increase your metabolism which helps your body burn more calories which can, with proper diet and nutrition too, lead to increased fat loss and weight loss.
If you go on the internet or speak to an expert trainer or coach, you’ll quickly discover that there are a nearly limitless number of workouts you can do for strength training. If you are starting a weightlifting or strength training program for weight loss, a key type of exercise you’ll want to add to your program is the compound exercise.
A compound exercise is one that works more than just one muscle when you are completing your reps and sets. Think of an exercise like arm curls. Those are very much focused on your biceps muscles and will really target those specifically. If you are trying to build muscle to lose weight, you might want to try an exercise that not only targets your biceps but is a compound exercise where biceps are included in the targeting but so are other muscle groups.
For example, here are 5 compound exercises you could do that target the biceps muscle but also other muscles from AMM Fitness:
1. Chin Ups
2. Underhand grip barbell row
3. Underhand grip seated cable row
4. Underhand grip lat pulldown
5. Underhand grip inverted row
Those are just 5 examples of exercises you can do that will target more than just one muscle helping you get the most out of your weightlifting routine.
How often should I lift weights to lose weight?
If you are working out to lose weight, the frequency that you exercise will have an impact on your results. Too few times exercising is obviously not going to get you anywhere, but you can also exercise too much and overdo it and hurt your results.
If you are a beginner, you should be looking to strength train 2 to 3 times a week rotating the focus around your body to give proper time to rest and recover. Recovery is just as important to your success as the workout itself and if you don’t give your body time to do its job, then you are not going to get results.
If you are more advanced with weightlifting, you can get up to 4 or 5 times a week, but you need to make sure you still give your body time to rest and recover. We have some tips on making the most of your recovery days that you might want to check out to make sure you are doing the right things when it comes to recovery.
Whether it’s 2 to 3 times a week or 4 to 5, being consistent with your workout schedule is important. Decide on the schedule that works best for you and do your best to stick to that schedule to get your body used to regular strength training.
How can I stay motivated to lift weights for weight loss?
If you are starting a strength training program with the goal of losing weight, staying motivated can be a challenge.
You are starting a program that takes time to see results. How much time depends on many factors, but it is definitely not something that is going to happen overnight.
Some tips to stay motivated:
1. Set realistic goals
2. Find an accountability partner
3. Find an exercise routine you enjoy doing
4. Track your results
5. Take it easy on yourself
To start off, you need to set realistic goals. If your goal is to lose 40 pounds in a month, you are likely going to fail and be disappointed and that could derail your entire program. Be realistic about what to expect. If you aren’t sure, talk with a fitness expert to come up with realistic goals you can achieve with consistency.
Finding an accountability partner is very helpful for many too when it comes to keeping your motivation. Having a workout buddy or someone who is going through what you are going through or someone who supports you and your goals who will be there to help keep you accountable for the things you need to do to be successful. Going through it alone is a tough road. Having support helps.
Find a routine you like. This doesn’t mean easy. It’s things you like to do. The more you can look forward to working out instead of dreading it, the more likely you are to be consistent, and consistency is key, especially when you are just getting started.
Track your results. When you are just getting started, take your measurements. The scale is not the only number for you to focus on and if you are new to weightlifting, you won’t want to watch the scale anyway as you are likely to see that number climb at first as you start adding muscle mass. Watch other things like your waist size or your arm measurements.
Look for the incremental changes that will start to happen if you are consistent and practicing good nutrition. You will start to see your body changing and it’s not just going to be on the scale.
Finally, take it easy on yourself. You are beginning a journey that really has no destination. The goal is for you to improve your fitness and live a healthier life forever. This is not something you are going to start and then quit in a bit if you hit your goal, or you’ll be back to the starting point again sometime later.
Remember to take it easy on yourself. It’s good to have goals and a plan but sometimes life gets in the way and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you are failing forever. If you miss a day, you’ll get back to it the next day. If your motivation is low, recognize your feelings and feel them. It’s ok. We’ve all been there. Take it easy on yourself and keep moving forward.
Ok so that’s it. That’s a look at the power of weightlifting for weight loss. If you’re a person that hates the idea of having to do cardio to lose weight, this should be very good news for you. If you love cardio, congrats the rest of us hate you (we don’t), you can still do cardio too, but this should show you the benefits of weightlifting too that you can add to your cardio routine.