- Strength training can help you burn fat and lose weight just as effectively as cardio, according to new research.
- The key to losing weight is a calorie deficit, or eating less than you burn, experts say.
- Weightlifting and other strength-training exercises can also help keep your metabolism high by building muscle.
Strength training can be an effective way to
new research suggests.
According to a study published April 11 in Obesity Reviews, resistance exercises like weight lifting, combined with a calorie deficit, help burn fat and reduce body fat percentage.
Researchers from Edith Cowen University in Australia and the University of Caxias do Sul in Brazil analyzed data from a total of 4184 participants in 116 published studies on exercise and weight loss to find out whether resistance training resistance like lifting weights could help with weight loss.
They found that combining resistance training with calorie reduction was an effective weight loss strategy, resulting in an average weight loss of 12 pounds.
According to Pedro Lopez, lead researcher and doctoral student at Edith Cowen University, the results debunk the myth that cardio exercises like running or HIIT are the only way to lose weight.
“Usually when we talk about obesity, body composition or weight loss, we only hear about aerobic exercise,” he said in a press release.
Research could help provide an alternative to cardio exercises like running, which can stress knees and other joints, so that more people can benefit from exercise, including obese people looking to lose weight, Lopez said.
To lose weight, a calorie deficit is essential
One research caveat, however, is that exercise alone may not help with weight loss without proper nutrition.
The weight loss in the study was linked to a calorie deficit, or eating fewer calories on average than you burn with exercise.
“If you want to lose weight, you have to reduce your calorie intake,” Lopez said.
Experts say that while a calorie deficit is essential for losing weight and burning fat, the methods of creating a calorie deficit can vary. Strategies for reducing calories include tracking what you eat, reducing portion sizes, adding bulkier foods like vegetables, or trying a diet that helps you eat less per day. other ways such as low carb or intermittent fasting.
A calorie deficit can also come from adding physical activity to your day, from walking to gym sessions, although exercise alone is rarely enough for long-term weight loss, according to previous research.
Lifting weights also helps build muscle, which can speed up metabolism.
The most recent study also found that resistance training was the most effective for building muscle, as well as maintaining muscle during weight loss.
Typically, when people are looking to lose weight, the goal is to lose body fat, not lean body mass like muscle. Muscle tissue is important not only for strength and athleticism, but also for metabolic health.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, which means weight lifting is a great way to build up your metabolism over time, according to personal trainers. It’s also a myth that weightlifting makes you bulky without trying, because it takes time and effort to build muscle.
Other proven benefits of strength training include stronger heart and joints, more confidence and better body image, and a lower risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease.
You don’t have to be a gym rat to get started with dumbbells, dumbbells or kettlebells, either — you can learn to lift weights even without previous strength training experience, according to personal trainers.
You can also start strength training with bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, push-ups and squats, no gym required.
No matter what equipment you use, strength training exercises can be tailored to your experience and skill set, so you can get the most out of your workouts, whatever your fitness level.