Why Weight Training is Best for Fat Burning
“I don’t want to get bulky so I’ll just do cardio.” “I’ll start weight lifting after I lose 10 pounds.” “I don’t want to look like a man.” These are all excuses that I’ve heard from clients over the years as excuses not to lift weights.
The problem is, WEIGHT LIFTING IS THE BEST FORM OF FAT BURNING!
Want a study?
Researchers assigned overweight subjects to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights.
The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound than the diet group. Their training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks. Nothing special.
But the weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat. That’s 44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic-only groups respectively. The addition of aerobic training didn’t result in significant fat loss over dieting alone.
Why Does Weight Lifting Burn Fat More Than Cardio?
Muscle Burns a lot of Fat
There are quite a few reasons why this is true. The First is that muscle burns fat at rest. The more muscle that you have (again we aren’t talking about trying to look like Arnold) the more fat you burn, even when you are doing nothing at all.
According to Dr. Wharton from Yale University, 10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories (source: http://kaplifestyle.com/2014/02/20/weight-lifting-women/).
Say you are 200 pounds at at 30% body fat. That means that your lean muscle is approximately 140 pounds.
Say your friend weighs 200 pounds and is at 10% body fat. This means that his lean muscle is approximately 180 pounds.
Your friend will burn an extra 220 calories per day doing nothing at all.
Working out creates muscle which speeds up metabolism. It is that simple.
Weight Training Burns Calories
While you are lifting weights, you are burning calories. Science shows that weight lifting is between 50% and 90% as effective as burning calories compared to cardio. Doesn’t that mean that it is better to just do cardio since you are admitting that cardio burns more calories? NO. You are missing out on additional muscle growth that will lead to further calorie consumption.
Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption is a term most of us haven’t used before. When you workout, you burn oxygen. Post workout your body needs to correct your oxygen levels, which continues to burn calories! EPOC is peaked during HIIT or Weight Training with frequent, challenging sets. It isn’t the duration of the workout that peaks EPOC, it is the intensity. Cardio does not have much EPOC.
Protein is Needed to Build Muscle
Nutrition is the key to any successful diet, however we know that muscle is made up of the products of protein. The better quality protein, timed at the right time, will help you increase muscle mass. This can also help with soreness and recovery.
It is strange to think that trying to build muscle will help you burn fat, but try to use the analogy of a car. If you add a supercharger to your mustang, it will burn more fuel, but will be stronger and faster. Same is with lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have, the more fuel you burn. Weight Training is the answer.
You should not give up on cardio. I suggest 15-20 minutes of cardio 3x a week.
Personal Trainer/Sports Nutritionist
Note: I am not a doctor, please meet with a doctor or registered dietitian before starting any diet or exercise program.