Lifting weights can help me lose weight? Impossible!
Fitness professionals are forever looking for new and improved ways to help their clients lose weight, get stronger and restore their health in a faster and more efficient way. Makes it sound like weight loss is going to get easier and easier right? Wrong. There is never going to be a substitute for hard work, however there are ways to make the most of your valuable time spent at the gym.
The best way to tackle weight loss, and everything in life for that matter, is to set and prioritise your personal goals. That could mean dropping the number on the scales, or flexing in the mirror for your next Instagram post. Either way, you’ve laid out a plan and now you just need to know how to attack the process.
Weight training plays a vital role in building and maintaining lean body mass, strength and function. But what does that mean for weight loss? Yes, pound for pound lean muscle weighs more than fat. However, you can burn fat by having more muscle. After a weight lifting session your metabolism is boosted for up to 38 hours, so instead of burning 80 calories watching TV for an hour, you could burn 90 calories. The increase in calories burnt is minor but add that increase up over the period of 24 hours post-workout, and you can imagine the potential calories burnt! This is important because in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than what is consumed. Those 2 to 3 weight lifting sessions per week can make all the difference.
Cris Slente, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University states “minute per minute cardio burns more calories, so it works best for reducing fat mass and body mass.” But what defines cardio? And what is the most effective method to burn more calories? Cardio can be aerobic (Marathon) or anaerobic (repeated sprints). The amount of calories burnt when performing cardio depends on your intensity (speed and resistance) and time. For example, if you ran on the treadmill at a speed of 10 for 30 minutes, you will burn more calories by running at a speed of 11 for the same time period. The same goes for all other variables, if you want to lose fat and burn more calories, increase your intensity/time.
The ideal process to losing weight is to combine both weight lifting and cardio. When you enter the gym, weight lifting should be your starting point. Resistance training increases your testosterone levels, which improves metabolic function and therefore burns more calories. Performing cardio first will deplete your glycogen levels and will result in having less energy for your weight lifting session.
Mixing weight lifting and cardio can seem like a lot of work, and for those with limited time to spare, giving up over an hour to the gym isn’t exactly an option. However, all it takes is a solid 20-30 minutes weight lifting, followed by another 20-30 minutes of cardio 3-4 times a week.
There is no easy process to losing weight, but if you set some achievable goals, train efficiently, and attend the gym on a consistent basis, you will be that much closer to a healthier lifestyle and the body of your dreams!
Nick Fee completed his Bachelor of Sports Science Degree at Massey University whilst juggling his love for basketball. Dubbed "The Rainmaker" by his colleagues for the amount of 3 point shots he swishes around the UniRec Sports Hall, Nick demonstrates balanced nutrition with a strong training regiment to keep himself in top shape for National basketball and preaches consistency to all of his clients.