Why You Should Lift Weights If You Want to Lose Weight
There’s a constant struggle in the fitness community centered around weight lifting and weight loss — or more specifically, fat loss. People who are aiming to drop the pounds often avoid the weights section of the gym altogether, assuming that more muscle simply adds to the scale, so why bother? Unfortunately, this pervasive fear of building muscle actually inhibits you from performing at your best. Lifting weights has been scientifically proven to enhance your weight loss performance.
Let’s get the basics out of the way: weight resistance training does burn calories. Your heart rate increases and your body is actively moving — both of these things point toward a caloric decrease. But aside from the basic benefit of burning calories while you’re working out, weight training also extends your burn time far longer.
Your EPOC — your Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption — lasts far longer after you’ve worked your muscles. What this means is that your metabolism is increased for up to 38 hours after lifting weights, so you burn more calories during that bike ride home than you would otherwise.
While a higher metabolism for 38 hours is great, it’s not going to get you long-term results on its own. But believe it or not, lifting weights in order to cut body fat provides more lasting benefits as well. Building muscle through weight training essentially creates a bigger engine. More muscle mass helps to increase your basal metabolic rate, so your metabolism will burn more calories you will burn on a regular basis.
Another strong factor to consider when considering weight training is that while losing weight is the goal that many people strive toward, a thin body with no muscle is less healthy for your body overall. Strong back and chest muscles lead to better posture; a powerful core helps prevent backaches — these are just a few ways that a muscular physique can help you feel better on a daily basis.
While weight loss is a common goal across the board, it’s important to focus on the health of your body as a whole rather than the number on the scale. A number that is too low can be just as unhealthy — sometimes even more so — than a high number. Rather than emphasizing one workout style, one target area or one number, focus instead on your overall health and strength by including both cardio and weight training in your regular routine.