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Can You Lose Weight Weight Lifting? Sorta..

Updated on March 31, 2013
Don't get discouraged! The first steps are the hardest!
Don't get discouraged! The first steps are the hardest!


If you're looking to lose weight but aren't really into the whole running or swimming thing, then lifting weights might be your kind of activity. Before you read on, know that lifting weights doesn't equal easier exercise, just a different type of exercise that might be more suited towards your ideal workout. Weight lifting in my view is less boring than regular cardiovascular activity and can leave you feeling much more accomplished. If you're looking to lose weight lifting weights then you have come to the right place.

So How Do I Go About Lifting Weights?

If you're reading this then chances are that you are a beginner at weight lifting, which is okay. If you're going to begin lifting weights you should first get familiar with the exercises that you should be doing. There are many great exercises out there, but not all will be geared towards your abilities or goals. Assuming you know some exercises, it is best to start out lifting with moderately heavy weight (about 60-70% of your max) but to do a high repetition workout.

What this means is that for each exercise you should be doing about four sets and at least twelve reps. It is a good idea to do this high repetition (hypertrophy) workout because it will aid in building a foundation for your muscles in terms of endurance and work capacity. Later on this will be important if you want to lift heavier and gain muscle.

The more repetitions you do, the more cardio-like your workouts become which is good if you want to lose weight by weight lifting. A lifting style geared towards weight lose is circuit training. Circuit training involves high repetitions with little rest. An example of this would be the Crossfit workouts (although I cannot say whether I like them or not). The idea behind circuit style training is to take little rest between sets and exercises while maximizing on how much you lift. Basically just think of it as weight lifting cardio.

What Type of Exercises Are Best For Weight Loss?

You do not want to be doing isolated exercises if your goal is to lose fat. Isolated exercises are those which only work one or two muscles at a time. Examples being the bicep curl, tricep-kickback, leg-extension, etc. You want to be doing compound exercises that work many muscles. By working more muscles at once, your body requires more energy to the exercises which will lead to more calories burned.

What are some compound exercises? Power-cleans, squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, and many others. These will help you build muscle endurance and cardio at the same time while allowing you to lose weight. I love doing a particular pull-up and push-up pyramid set where you do 1 pull-up, 10 push-ups, 2 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, etc until you get to 10 pull-ups. It's a great kind of exercise because you start small and build up to the hard stuff. Try it out sometime and remember to take as little rest as possible. It'll be hard and you have to stay motivated.

Won't I just Gain Muscle From Lifting?

While lifting definitely promotes muscle growth, you have the ability to choose how much muscle you grow. Your diet and workout routine determine how your fat and muscle levels change. If you start lifting and eat a balanced diet, you will definitely gain muscle but you will also loose fat simply from the exercise.

Also, having more muscle is better for losing fat. Did you know that having more muscle means your body requires more calories to simply survive? This means that just by sitting in one place, if you have more muscle than before, you will burn more calories! Pretty cool I know. So as you can see, if you're worried about getting buff from lifting and gaining too much muscle, you have nothing to be concerned about. The circuit style training will build what most refer to as lean muscle. You're not about to get huge from circuit training, just healthier, more fit, and leaner.

How Often Do I Need To Lift?

You should be lifting as often as you feel recovered. If you do your first workout and you feel sore for a couple days, then please don't try to workout when you're feeling sore. Since you'll be doing full-body workouts, your bound to work similar muscles each time so just wait a couple more days to workout.

That being said, you should aim to workout as often as you can without over-training. Since circuit training is less intense on your muscles than heavy lifting, you will probably be able to lift more frequently than heavy lifter. Try to workout at least three times a week and no more than need at least one day of recover for both physical and psychological reasons.

You'll be able to see results pretty quickly if you're just starting to lift weights. You might only be able to workout twice a week at first, but after a week or two you'll be in full swing doing at least three to four if you have time.

Getting the swing of things
Getting the swing of things

What Type of Food Should I Eat for All This?

First of all, let's get a quick fact out of the way:

  • Fats have most calories per portion
  • Carbs have second most
  • Protein has the least

What does this mean? It means you can eat much more protein rich foods than you could carb or fat loaded foods. I'm sure you've heard some commercials about how protein can manage hunger..? Well this is why. While you certainly need carbohydrates and fats, you should also make sure to get around 30% of your diet's calories from protein. I've practiced this myself and am convinced it'll help you as much as it did me.

It is also better if you eat consistently throughout the day as to avoid any overcompensating meals. Eating throughout the day also keeps your metabolism at full steam which helps to break down food quicker. There are a ton of diet tips to keep off weight. My best advice is to eat with common sense, eat whole-natural foods always and always keep your weight goal in mind.

Conclusion: Can I Lose Weight Weight Lifting?

As you can see, losing weight with weight lifting is achievable if you put in the consistent effort to workout, eat right, and focus on your goal. Nothing you haven't heard before. Try and implement the circuit style training into a weight lifting routine. Google "tabata training" and see if you like that. There are so many options for you to get what you want. All of the information is out there, you just have to be brave enough to take it and make it work for you. Hope I helped spur you on. Good luck!

What activities have you tried to lose weight?

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    • silverback system profile image

      SILVERBACK 2 years ago from WASHINGTON,DC

      good article!