When most of us think about weightlifting, we think about bulking up, getting “gainz,” getting ripped, getting jacked! Very few people realize just how great weightlifting is for losing weight!
While it’s generally true that you will burn more calories during a cardio session than you will during a weightlifting session, there’s a couple of hidden benefits to lifting weights that aren’t present with cardio… well, maybe three if you’re a guy who wears a bandana and says “bro” a lot (that just doesn’t fly when you’re doing the “happy baby” in yoga class — “I need more baby from you, bro!”).
To begin with, weight training is more effective at building muscle, and muscle burns more calories than an equal amount of fat.
As we pointed out in a previous blog, according to Dr. Christopher Wharton, a certified personal trainer and researcher with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, “10 pounds of muscle burns approximately 50 calories a day in a rested state, while fat burns about 20 calories a day.”
One study found that the resting metabolism of males increased by nine percent after 24 weeks of weight training; females saw a four percent increase after 24 weeks of pumping iron. In terms of calories burned, this isn’t huge — about 140 a day for men, 50 a day for women — but every little bit helps.
Plus, there’s another benefit to weightlifting.
Research has shown that you burn more calories after a session of weight training than you do after a session of cardio. In fact, one study suggested that a person’s resting metabolism remains elevated for up to 38 hours after lifting weights for just 31 minutes.
This should come as no surprise… well, why researchers chose 31 minutes instead of a half-hour is a head-scratcher, but the metabolic boost is easily explained by the fact that lifting weights produces micro tears in the muscles — tears that require additional energy to be repaired (this tear-and-repair process is what causes muscles to grow).
The muscle repair process is part of a what is commonly referred to as the “afterburn effect,” otherwise known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC relates to the additional oxygen the body requires to cool down and repair itself after a high-intensity workout.
“This requires the body and metabolism to work at a higher rate, so it continues to burn calories,” Cris Dobrosielski C.S.C.S., C.P.T., a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and founder of Monumental Results, told SELF.com.
Studies indicate that strength training is particularly effective at raising EPOC. However, it’s worth noting that the intensity of the workout is what is most important in turning your body into a metabolic machine.
Thus, doing bench presses, squats and deadlifts with heavy weights is preferable to doing bicep curls and/or tricep pulldowns with lighter weights.
While the metabolism boost you get from EPOC will not get you from a size 14 to a size 5 overnight, it is, nonetheless, significant. One study of young women revealed that the basal (resting) metabolic rate increased by 4.2 percent in the 16 hours following a resistance training session of one hour and 40 minutes, which is about 60 extra calories burned — the equivalent of a one-ounce shot of vodka… or so we’ve been told.
Of course, we know what a lot of people — especially women — are thinking right now: But won’t I get to big if I lift weights?
No, no, no and no!
Don’t believe us? Read what Jacque Crockford, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, has to say.
“Gaining muscle mass comes from a combination of heavy weight training and an excess in calories,” Crockford notes. “If you perform resistance training one to three days per week and you’re not eating more calories than you expend in a day, you probably won’t see a ton of muscle growth.”
So, if you’re looking to lose a few pounds before summer is over, try picking up a weight or two the next time you’re at the gym. And to really max out your metabolism, grab some Redline® NOO-FUSION™ while you’re at it.
Based on the original Redline Xtreme® formula, Redline® NOO-FUSION™ was designed to boost your energy level and keep you focused during your workouts or anything else that requires concentration and effort.