Lift Weights to Lose Weight

Do you lift weights on a regular basis? Most people do not, and that’s a mistake, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations. The CDC suggests that you should be lifting weights, or performing any type of resistance training, at least two times per week. There are several health benefits that weight lifting offers, and one of these is weight loss. It’s actually one of the most effective weight loss strategies out there.

Many people shy away from weight lifting — especially women — because they don’t want to end up looking bulky like a bodybuilder. The fact is that in order to look like a bodybuilder, you would need to eat many more calories than you currently do, and workout at an extremely high-intensity level five or more times per week. So to think that you’ll get too muscular by lifting weights a couple times per week is so far from reality.

In fact, strengthening and toning your muscles is one of the most effective exercise strategies for people looking to lose weight. Here’s how it works…

As you build muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently and your metabolism increases. Muscle tissue naturally burns more calories than fatty tissue, so building more muscle will naturally lead to greater calorie burns, even when you’re not working out. In addition to helping you burn more calories, increased muscle mass can give your body a more sleek and toned look, which is what we all want, isn’t it?

Following the CDC’s recommendation of two resistance training sessions per week will certainly not get you on the cover of a fitness magazine, but it will help you lose weight and tighten up your body. I suggest you start with light weights that comfortably allow you to do 10 to 20 repetitions per set. Lift weights, or perform simple resistance exercises (push-ups, crunches, wall squats, etc…), twice per week with at least one day of rest in between each workout. Each workout should last between 30 and 60 minutes. Use compound exercises to target multiple muscles at the same time, and get a full-body workout each time you hit the weights. Here’s a quick list of essential exercises to try:

  • Bench Press (free weights are best)
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts (focus on good form)
  • Shoulder presses
  • Crunchs (abs) and back extensions (lower back)

Good secondary exercises…

  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep extensions or dips
  • Calf raises (use a step or platform)
  • Leg extensions/curls (both forward and reverse for hitting both front and back of your upper legs)
  • Reverse flys (targets the upper back muscles)

If you have questions about how to properly do any of these exercises, please post your question in the “comments” section below and I’d be glad to help you out.

Photo: Flickr — Greg Westphall

5 Responses to Lift Weights to Lose Weight
  1. Kathryn

    I do weights about once a week, I find it’s good to break up the exercise routine. Do you know how many kgs would be recommended for a youngish female?

  2. San Diego health updates

    Very interesting post.
    I used to lift weights seriously in college. Back then, as long as I lifted 3 times per week, I continued to make progress. If I missed even a day or two, however, I seemed to slide noticeably.
    My question is, if 2 times per week are beneficial as far as weight loss goes, how much more weight loss progress can one expect from lifting 3 times per week. My guess is that it is dramatic.

    • admin

      Three times per week is ideal. The difference in weight loss potential is certainly better, but maybe not as dramatic as you make it sound. There’s really no way to determine how much better three days is compared to two days-a-week, but I can assure you that three days will provide improved weight loss results in a shorter period of time.

      Thanks 🙂

  3. MS

    I lift weights coupled with healthy weight loss exercise through Pilates. This keeps me fit and I have not gained a muscle for a long time.

  4. Gilbert Tambunga

    I am not very great with English but I come up this real leisurely to understand .

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