Nutrition & Health OnLine Magazine: Weight Loss Products: Weightlifting for Weight Loss
Weightlifting for Weight Loss
By Davey Dunn
If you have tried diets and aerobics and still have not been able to lose any fat then weightlifting may be the answer that you are looking for. Most people that start weight loss programs understand that in addition to improving their diet they also need to perform some exercise. What many fail to realize is that weightlifting is an excellent choice for exercise because of the positive effect is has upon your metabolism.
Increasing your metabolism, of course, is one of the most important keys to losing body fat. Metabolism refers to the amount of energy that the body requires to function each day. The higher your metabolism the greater the number of calories your body consumes. On average a man will burn 2000-3000 calories a day and a women will burn 1600-2200 calories a day.
The reason people gain fat is mainly because they ingest more calories than are needed by the daily "metabolism" of their body. In order to lose fat it is therefore necessary to ingest fewer calories than your metabolism requires. Unfortunately your metabolism can slow if you decrease the amount of food you eat. The solution is to try to increase your metabolism by exercising which brings us back to weightlifting. Of all the different forms of exercise weightlifting does the most to stimulate metabolism.
Weightlifting stimulates metabolism in two different ways. The first has to do with the intensity of the exercise. The higher the intensity level the greater the number of calories you burn. Figure 1 shows different activities and the number of calories burned in each one. You can see that weightlifting is at the bottom of the list because it burns a lot of calories.
As impressive as the number of calories burned during weightlifting is it is the second way that weightlifting stimulates metabolism that has the greatest effect upon fat loss. The engines that propel your body are your muscles and like the engine of a car they also require fuel. And like a car the larger the engine the greater the demand for fuel. A good weightlifting program will help you to build more muscle and increase the size of your engines. By increasing the size of your engines you cause your body's fuel requirements to increase dramatically. This is an effect that lasts 24 hours a day. Through weightlifting you really can burn more calories while you sleep.
By now I hope I have convinced you that weightlifting is one of the most important exercises you can perform to lose body fat. Before you jump in and start a weightlifting program let me give you a few basic principles that should be included in any program designed to burn fat.
Perform sets with repetitions between 8-12. This repetition scheme has been shown in research to produce the greatest decreases in body fat percentage.1
Decrease the rest time between sets to the absolute minimum. A great way to do this is to use "supersets" which means performing exercises back to back on antagonistic muscle groups. An example would be after finishing a set of benchpress you immediately perform a set of pull-ups. By utilizing this technique you can maintain a high intensity level throughout your workout.
Perform exercises that incorporate as much muscle as possible. You will not burn many calories nor will you stimulate much muscle growth doing arm curls. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, step-ups and lunges are the best exercises for losing body fat. If you are a women then lunges may be the best exercise you can ever do for shaping your body and losing fat. I have had several women come back and thank me for teaching them this particular exercise because of the outstanding results they got from lunges.
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1Stone,M. O'Bryant,H. Weight Training: A Scientific Approach. Minneapolis, Burgess Publishing Co., 1984.


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