Can I lose weight by lifting weights? It is a good question. And the answer is if that is the intention of your weight lifting regimen - yes. Now of course in the classic story of the “98-pound weakling” who got sand kicked in his face on the beach and then went on to become Charles Atlas – weight lifting lead to increased muscle mass and weight gain - and of course even today many people lift weights to “bulk up”. But a properly designed weight lifting workout can be used to burn fat, increase metabolism and lose weight.
Doctors and fitness experts agree the key to effective weight loss is to raise what is called Resting Metabolism. Resting Metabolism Rate (RMR) is the rate at which your body consumes fuel when at rest. That fuel is better known as calories.
Do you know where the bulk of calories are burned or used in the body – in lean muscle mass. Muscle is active tissue, muscles even at rest burn calories – fat does not. The leaner muscle mass you have the more calories you burn. What is the best way to build lean muscle mass – lifting weights of course! This is why diet alone never leads to permanent weight loss; diet without exercise does nothing to increase RMR. And even the exercises usually associated with slimming down, like aerobics and other cardio workouts, also do little to raise RMR –that is why fitness gurus all suggest adding weight lifting to any exercise program designed for effective and permanent weight loss.
This is true for men as well as women. Many women fear weight lifting because they are afraid they will get “too bulky” or “too manly”. This is simply not so, Mother Nature has seen to that. Most women just do not have enough testosterone (which speeds and enhances muscle growth, actually making it easier for men to raise their RMR, sorry gals) – to develop a “manly physique”. Remember we are not talking about a heavy 2 hour a day pumping iron session. As part of a regimen to raise RMR, moderate weight lifting 2 – 3 times a week is all it should take.
Start out with a weight that is comfortable for you and that you can lift in any given exercise 8-12 times or repetitions. If the muscles do not become noticeably fatigued by the 12 th time, the weight is too light, gradually increase until the first signs of fatigue come in at around that 12 th rep. To build the leanest mass, gradually increase the weight by about 10% each time you can do the 12 reps. Remember weight lifting is designed to raise RMR and build lean muscle mass as an adjunct to cardio, not as a replacement. They work arm and arm, cardio to burn fat – weight lifting to build muscle mass and increase RMR.
The bottom line is dieting slows metabolism – weight lifting increases it. Dieting plus weight lifting leads to a slimmer healthier you.