Weightlifting Is Crucial for Hitting Weight Loss Goals—Here’s What You Need to Know

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<p>Whether you're trying to lose weight or not, exercising and lifting weights are excellent steps to your health. Weight loss is not a reliable measure of health, and not all weight loss methods are healthy or sustainable.</p>
<p>However, lifting weights is an important factor in any weight loss effort, and it's definitely a healthy choice to incorporate into your fitness program. There are many benefits to building muscle and strength beyond weight loss.</p>
<p>To find out how lifting weights can contribute to a healthy and sustainable weight loss program—especially compared to the old standby cardio—we spoke to personal trainers Prentiss Rhodes and Hannah Clausen. Read on for what they had to say.</p>
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  • Prentiss Rhodes is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Training Specialist (PES).

  • Hannah Clausen is the Director of Coaching for Macros Inc. and a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.

  • Weightlifting to lose weight

    Lifting weights is an important part of any weight loss program and offers many benefits to your health that go beyond the scale. “When lifting weights is part of a progressive training program, you'll build muscle that will help you perform steady-state cardio and other activities effectively,” explains Rhodes. Progressive training is the key to seeing lasting results. It simply means that you keep challenging yourself with each workout — for example, by adding weight.

    And as far as looks go, lifting weights is crucial to most guys' goals. “Lifting weights…enhances a ‘toned' look after our dietary efforts, which is a reward many look forward to,” Clausen said.

    Science is also on the side of weightlifting: Although aerobic exercise has a higher average calorie burn for the same duration of activity, weightlifting may lead to more weight loss. Lifting weights changes your metabolism for better weight balance. Science also shows that when you lift weights, you burn more calories 24 hours or more after training. Over time, this leads to increased calorie burning and fat loss. What's more, lifting weights maintains lean mass during weight loss, keeping your metabolism higher than it would otherwise be — which may lead to more sustainable, longer-term weight loss.

    Lifting weights also plays a very important role in our longevity by helping to maintain good balance and strong bones as we age. “While a weightlifting class may not burn as many calories as a spinning class, it can still lead to some significant improvements and takes relatively few hours a week,” says Clausen.

    cardio for weight loss

    According to Rhodes, there are several reasons why cardio is a solid choice for weight loss. “Aerobic exercise at a lower sustained intensity, called steady state, will help burn fat while strengthening your heart muscle,” he says.

    The benefits become even more pronounced with consistent aerobic exercise. “When you do these types of aerobic exercise for an extended period of time, this may signal your body to increase the number of mitochondria, or organelles, in your cells that are responsible for providing energy,” Rhodes explained.

    Mitochondria convert body fat into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which fuels many important processes in the body, as well as giving you the energy you need to exercise. “You may also notice changes in your overall aerobic fitness and muscular endurance,” Rhodes adds. As your aerobic exercise and muscular endurance improve, your other physical activities will also be enhanced, allowing you to perform better and burn more calories. These effects will also improve your lifting performance.

    And don't forget the all-important psychological impact. “Most of us also tend to feel great after a run, spin or swim, which in turn can support better mood and overall stress management. These are important factors in our ability to stay motivated and focus on creating change ,” Clausen said.

    According to Clausen, other benefits of aerobic exercise include lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, improved oxygen consumption, and increased mitochondrial density.

    Cardio and Weightlifting for Fat Burning

    When it comes to comparing fat burning with weightlifting and cardio, the picture isn't so black and white. After all, both are part of any healthy lifestyle and have unique benefits for weight loss and beyond.

    “When it comes to asking which is better for fat loss, it really depends on who you're talking to and their long-term goals. In an ideal world, people would find ways to do both, but could prioritize their favorite and Enjoy it the most,” Clausen suggested.

    Rhodes agrees: “The best program will be the one you can stick with long-term. Both have their benefits and should ideally be part of a comprehensive training program,” he says. He recommends doing cardio that you're not currently doing — steady-state or high-intensity training.

    Other Factors to Consider for Weight Loss

    Weight loss is more complex than a single type of exercise and includes other lifestyle aspects such as sleep, stress and nutrition. Rhodes offers these additional tips:

    • Nutrition can affect your weight loss and recovery: Make sure you're getting the right macronutrients, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, enough to support your training and recovery.

    • Try getting quality sleep: Losing one night's sleep can adversely affect fat metabolism and recovery. Lack of sleep may also affect appetite and lead to overeating.

    • To manage your chronic stress: Chronic stress causes a constant cycle of certain stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can lead to cravings for high-sugar foods. This can negatively impact weight loss efforts.

    But the most important thing is consistency and compliance. “What really matters is whether you can change your current habits, increase your total physical activity, change your nutritional habits, and change your priorities so that your health and wellness — not just weight loss — is a priority, ‘ explained Clausen.

    “It's very important that before someone does anything extreme, they stop and think about the commitments they can actually make successfully. Now,she added. “Every step — no matter how small — is a step in the right direction, and it really doesn't have to be all or nothing.”

    final harvest

    Weight loss, while a healthy goal for some, is not a measure of health by itself. However, if you do want to make weight loss a goal, lifting weights can be a key factor in losing and keeping it off. Sleep, stress management and proper diet are also important.

    Building muscle and strength will help you enjoy life and increase your longevity and independence. Start with easy exercises or bodyweight training, and build up from there, challenging yourself to improve. Enjoy the process of getting fitter and healthier, and the weight will follow.

    Read more: 3 Weightlifting Myths Trainers Want You to Stop Believing

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