Strength training is an essential component of a balanced workout program and successful weight management. And a regular strength training program can help you increase your lean muscle mass, reduce your body fat, and burn calories more efficiently.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, and if we don’t include resistance training in our fitness routine, our percentage of body fat will increase.
And, strength training is an important element of any fitness and weight loss program, along with aerobic exercise and a clean and well-balanced diet. Any weight loss program will be less effective if you neglect one of those components. They work in tandem to help you lose the weight you want and help you make a lifestyle change that can improve the quality of your life.
Read on to find out why weight training is important for weight loss, how to get started, and simple and at-home weight training exercises to include in your fitness routine and successfully lose weight.
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Check out a video summarizing this article that we have uploaded to our YouTube channel.
Table of Contents
What is the Basic Principle Behind Losing Weight?
The basic principle behind losing weight is creating a calorie deficit. To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories daily than you burn. And when you consume fewer calories than you burn, it triggers your body to start pulling energy from reserves. Fat is an excellent source of reserve energy – that’s one reason why we store it.
Strength training is essential for weight loss. While cardio workout helps create a caloric deficit and is also fundamental, strength training helps build muscle that provides shape to the muscles and increases your base metabolic rate.
And contrary to popular belief, resistance training is not just for bodybuilders. It is a powerful and proven tool for weight loss.
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Can You Lose Weight By Lifting Weights?
Weight training can help weight loss by strengthening muscle mass because muscles are metabolically efficient and promote weight loss by burning more calories at rest.
Even though weight training can help you burn calories, it is not the most efficient to lose weight. Cardiorespiratory exercise (aka cardio), including running, swimming, and cycling, burns more calories per workout session than weight training, showed research.
I recommend combining a healthy diet, weight training, and cardio for optimum results.
14 Reasons Why Weight Training Is Important For Weight Loss
Resistance training, also known as weight lifting, has been practiced for centuries to develop muscular strength. In addition, research reveals that resistance training, whether performed via bodyweight, resistance bands, machines, dumbbells, or free weights, helps us improve:
- Muscle size
- Build strength
- and help counteract age-related muscle loss.
More recently, weight training has become popular among people looking to lose weight. While exercises such as cycling and running are efficient for reducing body fat, these physical activities can simultaneously reduce your muscle size, leading to weaker muscles and greater perceived weight loss, as muscle is more dense than fat.
However, unlike endurance exercises, evidence reveals resistance training has beneficial effects on reducing body fat and increasing muscle size and strength.
These are several ways that strength training can contribute to healthy weight loss. Whether you need to lose 100 pounds, 20 pounds, or gain some functional lean muscle and maintain a healthy weight, weight training is essential.
Resistance training should be an essential part of your workout program if lasting weight loss is your goal. Everyone you see that has that lean, athletic look performs some form of resistance training.
Let’s discuss the 14 reasons why weight training is important for weight loss.
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1- Weight Training Helps Burn More Calories
Weight training increases our ability to burn more calories. Increases lean muscle mass producing higher metabolic output, leading to more calories burned while resting.
Resistance training actually pushes the body to burn more fat. By adding strength training to your weight loss program, you know that the weight you lose comes from fat and not lost muscle mass.
Weight or resistance training pushes your body to burn more fat and will turbo-charge your weight loss results.
For bonus points, a cardio workout only burns calories while you are performing it. However, strength training will help you burn calories during the exercise and force your body to spend many more extra calories recovering post-workout.
2- Weight Training Can Be Effective For Long-Term Weight Control
Weight training can help maintain a healthy weight because muscle size plays a significant role in determining resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is how many calories your body requires to function at rest. Resting metabolic rate represents about 60-75% of total energy expenditure in non-exercising individuals, and fat is the body’s preferred energy source at rest.
And, increasing your muscle size through weight training improves RMR by increasing or sustaining fat loss over time.
A review of 18 studies observed that weight training effectively increased resting metabolic rate, whereas aerobic exercise and mixed aerobic and resistance exercise were ineffective. However, it’s also essential to manage your calorie intake to lose fat and sustain fat loss.
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3- Protect You Help Against Bone Loss
Stressing your muscles will strengthen your tendons and bones; therefore, protecting you against bone loss.
As we age, we lose so much muscle. And by the time we reach 70, we only have about 50% to 55% of our muscle mass left, expert says.
Thankfully, we can prevent some of that with weight training because it can improve bone density and decrease the risk of osteoporosis by stressing your bones.
4- Help You Build Lean Muscle
Most people, especially women, tend to shy away from strength training, based on the myth that weight training will make them look like burly bodybuilders. However, it is simply untrue.
Building lean muscle gives you the “toned” lean look. Besides, imagine you just lose weight, and you have no muscle. Wouldn’t you be disappointed? I would.
But, beyond vanity, lean muscle also helps make you stronger and more resilient to aging.
Resistance training has been shown to reverse specific aging factors in skeletal muscle, according to a 2012 study issued by current sports medicine reports.
The study found that ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, boost resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg.
5- Help You Sleep Better
Regular strength training can also help you sleep better because your body will naturally want to rest after the positive stress of exercise.
Strength training naturally corrects posture, helps you sleep better, reduces sleep apnea, and decreases or eliminates aches and pains.
Researchers speculate that there are various ways that chronic sleep deprivation might lead to weight gain:
- Increasing hunger
- Giving people more time to eat
- Prompting people to choose less healthy diets
In addition, a study from Stanford Medicine showed sleep doesn’t significantly impact weight loss.
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6- Weight Training Helps Reduce Stress
Heavy strength training can improve your mental pathways and nervous system.
When you use heavier resistance, your brain develops stronger neural connections to drive your muscles, allow you to use your muscles more effectively, and perform more challenging tasks, show a recent study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In other words, strength training isn’t just about building muscles – it’s also about making brain connections.
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7- Decrease Your Chance of Injury
One of the reasons most professional athletes perform weight training as a part of their conditioning programs is to prevent sports injuries.
For example, a swimmer can prevent overuse shoulder injuries with weight training.
Research shows that resistance training promotes growth and increases ligaments, ligament to bone junction strength, tendons, tendons to bone, joint cartilage, and connective tissue sheaths within the muscle.
Resistance training increases muscular strength and hypertrophy.
8- Weight Training Help Improve Your Self Esteem
If there’s one thing that all humans crave, it is to appear sexy and attractive. We all want to “look good”.
Dieting to lose weight can make you thinner. But tearing down your body till you reach a target weight isn’t going to make you look healthy. You need to weight train.
Conditioned muscles help improve your self-esteem; Toned muscles look better than unconditioned muscles. You look better; therefore, you feel better about yourself and convey that confidence to others around you.
The dedication you need and develop to build strength and change how your body looks with resistance training will carry over into different areas of your life. It will help retrain your brain that if you apply the same level of dedication to anything, you can achieve it.
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9- Weight Training is Less Boring Than Just Walking On a Treadmill
I prefer performing weight training to walking on a treadmill because I find it super boring.
And if you also find walking on a treadmill boring. In that case, I encourage you to do intensity training because (High-Intensity Interval Training) HIIT will help you burn 25–30% more calories than the other forms of exercise, according to research.
In addition, it makes more efficient use of your resources over time.
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10- Strength Training Maintains Muscle During Weight Loss
To lose weight, you need to absorb fewer calories per day than you burn. When you consume fewer calories than you burn, it triggers your body to pull energy from reserves. And, fat is an excellent source of reserve energy.
When you exercise, your body is forced to retain muscle and draw most of those extra needed calories from fat. This is particularly true of strength training, where your muscles are being pushed to their limits and forced into growth mode.
11- Strength Training Increases Mobility and Capability in Daily Life
Building up your strength makes performing your daily activities easier. Imagine removing 50% of the effort from any physical activity.
For example, your friend asked for help to move a 200lb (91kg) desk last week. And, imagine the same desk only weighs 100lbs (46 Kg). It becomes easier to move, right? The same happens when you lose weight and being stronger feels like this.
It is also not just about heavy objects. In addition to having an improved ability to push, lift, pull, grip, carry, throw or scrub random things in daily life, your coordination and balance also improve, meaning that every activity you perform daily becomes more effortless.
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12- Strength Training is Safe and Advantageous for All Ages
Imagine you own a 25-year-old car and think that performing maintenance on your vehicle is a waste of time because it doesn’t operate like it used to. Your vehicle isn’t performing exactly because of the lack of care and maintenance.
One of the most common misinterpretations about strength training (and exercising in general) is that people believe it is a young person’s sport. In addition, older adults and seniors often get caught up in this mindset, thinking that as they age, they are less able to handle physical activities and will reap fewer rewards from it if they try.
Consistent strength training increases bone density, helping you to survive a fall or other accident better. Improved coordination and balance reduce the possibility of taking that tumble in the first place. In addition, increased range of motion, flexibility, and core strength makes you lighter and more confident on your feet.
Regularly exercising may sound tiring; however, it will boost your energy and stamina. If you wish you felt more youthful, weight training is the number one way to do it.
Living a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous for people of any age, but the risks of being inactive rise exponentially as we grow older. The only way to maximize your health, energy, and mobility is to get up, get out and get active.
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13- Weight Training Provides Long-Term Health Benefits
In addition to some immediate results you experience strength, training can help reduce the future risk of several diseases and conditions, including the following:
- Heart Disease
- Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
- Arthritis and Osteoporosis
Maintaining a regular and proper weight training routine will keep you agile, strong, and resilient, lowering the risk of injuries in your daily life.
14- Weight Training Is An Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise is any physical activity such as weight training that breaks down glucose for energy without using oxygen. In general, anaerobic exercises are of short length with high intensity. The idea is that you release a lot of energy within a short period, and your oxygen demand surpasses the oxygen supply.
Anaerobic activity, like resistance training, can:
- Enhance the strength and density of your bones.
- Help you maintain a healthy weight.
How to Get Started
Resistance training plays a massive part in building a lean and muscular body that lasts. Start slow and gradually increase. For a perfect balance and amount, you need to maximize sustainability and benefits; focus on these basics:
- Try to learn and use proper form; you must learn the appropriate form to avoid injuries. And if necessary, hire a personal trainer to help you get your form right.
- Perform strength training 3 days a week, every other day—for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Use compound, free weight, and bodyweight workouts
- Focus on doing 3-5 sets of an exercise
- Perform between 5 and 15 repetitions the majority of the time. (depending on the activity)
- Aim to rest 30 seconds to 2 minutes between sets (and depending on the exercise and your goal)
- As you progress, try to use more weight or more challenging variations.
Weight-Training Exercises to Add To Your Workout Routine
Make sure you warm up first. You can also increase the intensity by adding fitness bands.
- Chin Ups
- Dip Workouts
- CrossFit Foundational Movements
- Yoga For Weight Loss For Beginners
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Overall, adding a well-structured strength training program to your weight loss regimen is a wise and healthy thing to do.
Resistance training is an effective exercise for weight loss because it elevates the metabolism more than any other type of activity and keeps it elevated longer, even at rest.
Plus, you will enjoy the added benefits of higher overall muscle gain, including improved strength, better posture, improved appearance, increased confidence, and more.