Did you know that weightlifting is one of the best workouts for weight loss?
On top of supporting weight loss, weight training can increase endurance, relieve stress, and even extend life expectancy.
As a personal trainer, I wish all women knew that weight loss is achieved through making small changes to our diets and exercise habits, not by punishing our bodies. Adding weight training to your fitness regime is one way to support and love your body while working towards your weight goals.
Let’s get into what you need to know about weight lifting for weight loss.
Strength training versus cardio for weight loss
Did you know you don’t need to spend hours on a treadmill or in an aerobics class to lose weight? It’s true.
Cardio and strength training are tools to live a healthy lifestyle, and while it’s ideal to incorporate elements of both into our lives, they serve distinct purposes.
Cardio for weight loss
Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise and includes any activity that raises your heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood flow. These workouts include all kinds of activities, from swimming and cycling to walking with a friend or joining a running community. There are also cardio machines, such as the elliptical, stair climber, and the dreaded treadmill.
Cardio is often thought of as the path to weight loss because it is the type of exercise that burns the most calories in a set period. For example, did you know that walking for 30 minutes a day burns an extra 150 calories? Over the course of a week, that’s over 1,000 calories, not to mention all the good you’re doing for your heart and endurance.
While cardio-focused exercises can contribute to weight loss and support a healthy lifestyle, they are most effective when paired with strength training.
Weight lifting for weight loss
Weightlifting and strength training are exercises that use weighted objects such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and weight machines to build muscle mass and strength. You can also use your own body weight.
So why exactly is weightlifting one of the best workouts for weight loss? The answer lies with our metabolism.
As we strength train and build up our muscle mass, our metabolism becomes more productive. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more you burn while you eat, sleep, work, and watch tv.
Beyond weight loss: Benefits of strength training for women
In a 2021 study, researchers found that exercise is more important than weight loss for men and women to live longer lives. That means if we care about sticking around to see our kids and grandkids grow, we’ve got to get moving (and ditch the fad diets.)
Apart from supporting weight loss, strength training comes with a wealth of perks.
Lower risk of heart disease
Reduce the risk of injury and back pain
Gain strength and endurance
Relieve mental stress
Sense of personal achievement
Support joints and bones
Helps you live longer!
Nutrition for strength training
Have you ever heard the saying that abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym?
To support your body as you strength train and build up your muscle mass, you also need to consider your diet. This does not mean limiting your food intake or subscribing to any harmful fad diets but instead supplying your body with the nutrients required to build muscle.
You can think of nutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and fats – as the building blocks that create muscle. If you don’t eat enough, your body doesn’t have anything with which to make more muscle.
How often should you strength train to lose weight?
How often you should strength train depends on a variety of factors, such as your current fitness level and any existing injuries. If you’re just beginning with weight training, between two to three days a week might be a good starting point.
How much weight you lose depends on how much time you can dedicate to your workouts, your diet, and other factors, but it’s important to remember that consistency, without overdoing it, is key for weight loss and long-term fitness.
As a personal trainer, I’ve had several clients who had previously been going to the gym and attending high-intensity workout classes 7+ times a week. Not only is this not the most effective way to lose weight, but it’s also likely to lead to burnout.
Giving your body time to rest and recover from vigorous activity is crucial.
Does weight training make you bulky?
A common concern for many women regarding weightlifting is the fear of “bulking up.” That is, looking too muscular or too manly.
This assumption is purely a myth. Significant muscle gain is quite challenging— ask the bodybuilders and Hollywood superheroes notorious for their steroid consumption.
Unless you plan to spend hours upon hours a week in the gym while consuming an excessive amount of calories, you don’t need to worry about getting too bulky.
Weight training tips from a personal trainer
Always complete your warm-up and cool-down.
Start with light weights and low reps, and build from there.
Form matters more than how much you lift.
Body weight training is just as valid as weight training.
Incorporate different types of exercise into your fitness routine (Strength training, walks, stretching, etc.)
If you have existing injuries or aren’t sure where to start, seek a professional personal trainer to customize a fitness plan for you.
Get started with weight training today!
I’m Luan from Sculpt & Glo Fitness, a personal trainer for everyday women in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I believe fitness is not a chore. It’s a choice! If you’re ready to take the leap and approach weight loss from a place of self-love, I’d love to help you realize your fitness goals.
If you have more questions about starting your fitness journey, schedule a free consultation call.