Too often beginners that go to the gym hop on some cardio equipment for 30 minutes to an hour and call it a day.
Now technically there isn’t anything wrong with that, but if your goal is to lose fat, there is a better and more efficient way to do that.
Don’t let the idea of lifting weights scare you.
It’s not as hard as it may seem when done correctly.
It’s actually a lot more enjoyable than cardio to me, and I really don’t like working out that much in general. So that says a lot coming from me.
And if you’re a woman you don’t have to worry about bulking up or looking mannish.
For one, it will take years of heavy lifting and a specific, well executed diet to do that, and two our bodies typically don’t have enough testosterone to make that happen.
There are women who naturally have more masculine builds though, due to their own genetics, but if you don’t then you have nothing to worry about
Lifting has many benefits, and torching calories and fat is one of them.
I recommend anyone who wants to burn fat and shape their body to ditch the long cardio sessions and do more strength training.
This doesn’t mean start doing a bunch of Russian twists, donkey kicks, or glute bridges. It means pick up some weights!
You don’t have to completely stop doing cardio though. We will talk more about that in a few.
I actually used to do a lot of cardio in my first few months myself, even though I hate cardio.
I used to do about 30 minutes of weights and 30-45 minutes of cardio, per session.
Now I do about 15 minutes of cardio and an hour of weights. BIG DDIFFERENCE!
In the beginning of my journey I had those same ideas of lifting as most people do at first.
I thought it was for athletes, or men. I thought I would get huge and look like a boy.
I didn’t know that it was good for losing weight, and that my concerns weren’t true.
A lot of the influencers I follow do mostly strength training and have BOMB bodies, so believe me when I say lifting weights is the way to go.
Cardio vs Weight Lifting – Which is better for fat loss?
What is cardio?
Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that gets your heart rate up significantly, and raises your oxygen and blood flow throughout your body.
There are many benefits of doing cardio including weight loss, lowering blood pressure, creating and maintaining a healthy heart, and more!
Doing cardio also helps you build stamina and endurance, which can be super beneficial In your daily life.
What is weight lifting?
Weight lifting is the act of lifting barbells, dumbbells or any kind of heavy weight.
There are also machines that can be found at gyms that have added weight, such as hip adductor or a leg press machine.
Lifting weights is anaerobic meaning the body does not use oxygen to breakdown glucose for energy, unlike cardio.
It’s important because it builds lean muscle mass, burns calories, and makes one stronger.
It also helps build endurance!
Which is better for fat loss?
Most studies show that lifting weights is the better option for burning fat.
Reason being because after lifting weights your metabolism stays elevated, and your body continues to burn calories.
This does not happen when you do cardio.
Once your cardio workout is done, you no longer will burn calories from that workout.
You have the ability to burn much more calories in a day from lifting weights than you do from cardio.
The best thing to do to burn fat Is to incorporate both into your weekly exercise routine, with weight lifting being the priority and cardio being supplemental.
For example, my current workout routine consists of 15 minutes of cardio, and 1 hour of weights. I do cardio 3-4 times a week and weights 4-5 times a week.
This kind of structure will ensure that you maximize calories burned each week, and when paired with a healthy diet, the fat will fall off!
You will also notice your body being shaped and toned, depending on the kind of weight lifting you are doing.
*** Side note – It’s important to have a workout plan in place to make sure that you are training with purpose to achieve specific goals rather than just doing random things.
Benefits of weight lifting
Lifting weights makes you stronger, as I’m sure you know.
The muscle that are involved in your posture include your back, shoulder, and core muscles.
The stronger those muscles are the better your posture will become.
This will also help relieve back pain if you struggle with that.
You’ll Sleep Better
According to bp magazine strength training helps people to sleep better.
Scientists believe that there is a direct link between exercise and better sleep.
From my personal experience, any day that I workout especially if its in the evening I sleep like a baby, so I can attest that this is likely true, and may be for you as well.
You Gain Bone Density
Weight lifting not only stresses your muscles, it stresses your bones as well. This in turn increases your bone density over time by activating osteoblasts.
By increasing your bone density you can reduce your risk of developing bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.
Maintain Weight Loss
For people who have already lost weight and are satisfied, lifting weights will definitely help you to maintain that weight rather than losing more from doing more cardio.
You’ll burn those extra calories and tone up too, so if you still have a bit of cellulite or maybe some areas that are saggy, lifting can help you tighten those up without causing you to lose more, when done correctly and paired with a healthy diet of course.
Boost Your Metabolism & Burn More Calories At Rest
One of the best things about weight lifting is the fact that when you build more muscle you also boost your metabolism.
The more muscle your body has, the more calories your body burns at rest.
This is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR)
Your BMR is the amount of calories your body burns from doing absolutely nothing. Just being alive.
So everyday you will burn a number of calories even if you just lay in bed.
If you have more muscle mass that number increases, so the amount of calories you burn from laying in bed all day will go up, which means your metabolism is higher.
Having a higher metabolism decreases the amount of fat that is stored in your body from either overeating or already having excess fat, and that leads to weight maintenance or weight loss, respectively.. whichever you are trying to accomplish.
Everyone knows that lifting weights makes you stronger.
The stress it causes on your muscles causes the muscle fibers to tear.
You may feel soreness from this, but your body will be actively working to repair them.
When your body repairs them they will be stronger than before, which over time if done consistently will increase your strength.
You will be able to do simple daily tasks, like walking up stairs or lifting a package much more easily when you are stronger
You’ll Torch Belly Fat
As I mentioned earlier, lifting weights boosts your metabolism.
Having a higher metabolism means your body torches MORE body fat.
That includes that belly fat!!!
Ready for that flatty? Get to lifting!!
The Kind Of Lifting You Should Be Doing
One of my favorite trainers, Kiara, suggests that workouts that revolve around the primary movement patterns: Squat, Hinge, Push, Pull, Lunge, Carry are what you should focus on.
These are the kind of movements that most people do everyday without noticing, so strengthening the muscles that facilitate those movements will be beneficial to your everyday life, reduce pain in your body, and allow you to do more complex exercises as you progress.
Squat: weighted squats, goblet squats
Hinge: deadlifts, pull throughs
Pull: chin ups, bicep curls, deadlifts
Lunge: forward lunges, reverse lunges
Carry: farmers carry
How To Start Lifting
Do Your Research
If you have specific goals make sure you research the kinds of exercises that are best for those goals. You don’t want to be doing something that is not benefiting you in the way that you want it to.
Make A Plan
Always prepare. Write out your workout schedule before you go to the gym including the exercises, reps, sets, amount of time for resting etc. Things will go much more smoothly this way.
Practice without weight first
To prevent injury and to learn it’s good to practice the movement without weight first. Only add weight when you are sure that you have your form on point.
Try to warm up for about 5-10 minutes before starting your weight session. You don’t want to have stiff muscles during this time.
Start Light, don’t overwork yourself
It’s common for people to want to feel strong especially in front of others but you need get over your ego if that’s you.
Don’t lift heavier than you can.
If your form is fucked up while you’re lifting then you are likely lifting too heavy, and need to dial it down.
If it feels too easy then you are probably not lifting enough so up it by 5-10 pounds until you feel challenged but not overwhelmed.
How often should you lift?
As a beginner you should aim to start with 2-3 days of lifting per week.
Focus more on full body exercises, and on perfecting your form before moving into new things.
As you get stronger you can start to increase the amount of days you lift, and the amount of weight you lift, and you can also start to try new things.
Consult a personal trainer for advice if you need to.
Do not be afraid to ask for help.
One question can be what stops you from getting hurt, and not being able to exercise at all.
Again, remember to practice your form and make sure it is correct!
Advice From Me
- Do not neglect stretching or resting. Both of these things are vital, and can prevent injuries. Make sure to stretch often and to rest on your rest days!
- Do compound exercises. This means exercises that target multiple muscle groups. Here are some examples
- Plan your routine based on your goals. Do not go into the gym with no plan. Know what you are going to do, and why you are doing it. For example if you want to build strong legs, you need to be doing exercises that target your legs at least once a week.
- Watch videos, and make sure that you know what to do and how to do it correctly before going into the gym. It’s always better to be prepared.
I understand that lifting weights may not be for everybody, but I encourage you to get over that fear, and those misconceptions about it and try it out for awhile!
You never know until you try, right?