Many people who are unfamiliar with the benefits of weight training think that working out with weights means gaining bulk, not taking it off. In reality, people looking to lose fat and get lean and toned should be spending more time lifting and less time on things like cardio. This is especially true for women, who will bypass the gym weight machines in favor of the treadmill, spin class, or yoga studio. Don’t worry about numbers on the scale (muscle weighs more than fat), focus on how your shape changes.
Here’s why strength training is so good for weight loss:
Weights and Metabolism
Muscle contractions drive fat loss by burning calories. Your body also releases hormones during weight training that help reduce body fat. Metabolic resistance training (MRT) is the best way to burn calories and up your metabolism. MRT consists of circuit training with exercise like pushups, kettlebell swings, and Olympic lifts, with short intervals of rest in between.
Burn the Fat
Strength training combined with healthy eating burns more fat than dieting combined with aerobic exercise. Aerobics burn fat during exercise, but anaerobic activities like lifting weights continue to burn fat after you exercise. After weight training, your body burns more calories to keep your metabolism boosted. Your muscles will still be “firing” hours after you exercise.
The Power of Hormones
Weight training activates hormones that help you burn fat and build muscle. That charged up feeling you get when you walk into the gym is your adrenal glands releasing epinephrine and norepinephrine. Testosterone is stimulated by weight training. It helps you lose weight, build muscle, and feel energized. Lifting weights boosts a digestive hormone called peptide YY. Peptide YY helps neutralize the effects of another hormone called ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry and store more fat when you reduce your calorie intake.