Plenty of people assume that you should lift weights to gain muscle mass rather than lose that extra flab and get leaner; it’s not like bodybuilders are exactly light on their feet.
However, if you dig into the science of the matter a little deeper, you will see that writing off weight lifting for weight loss is unhelpful. Here is a look at the reasons behind this.
Cardio Isn’t Everything
In the battle of cardio vs weights, there is a common misconception that if your main aim is to burn fat, you should opt for the former over the latter.
It all comes down to the simple way in which your body uses energy. If you burn off more calories by exercising than you take on by eating, you will lose weight, and ultimately it doesn’t matter if those calories are whisked away by running for hours on a treadmill or by pumping iron and bench pressing.
Furthermore, research has shown that weight lifting and other types of resistance training are actually better in the long term, because they can increase your body’s metabolic rate, helping it to burn calories more efficiently. So even if an intense cardio session will have greater short term benefits, weight lifting is the way to go if you want better overall health, including weight loss.
Intensity Delivers Results
The idea that weight lifting is not going to get your heart pumping and your lungs heaving is perhaps based on the fact that a lot of people simply do not throw themselves into it with the same intensity as a cardio session.
The answer is to flip the script and aim to push yourself when carrying out resistance training, so that you build up a sweat, increase your pulse and generally ensure your body is working hard. This will let you achieve similar fat burning results, without having to invest long hours into weight lifting every day.
Of course you might not have the ability to motivate yourself to achieve the kind of intensity with weight lifting that is needed, in which case working with a trainer or an experienced partner is sensible.
Variety Is The Best Approach
Ultimately it is important to remember that weight loss goals and overall fitness levels should not be based around one type of workout. The world’s top athletes hone their bodies using a combination of cardio, resistance training and of course nutritional management, and this is a perfectly acceptable option for amateur enthusiasts as well.
Planning out your workout schedule and factoring in weight lifting as well as cardio will mean that you can get the short term weight loss advantages as well as the long term improvements to your strength and metabolism that you crave.
Such variety will also avoid you over-working any one part of your body to the detriment of other muscle groups. It is all about striking a balance and finding what works for you.