It’s official: weightlifting is the best form of exercise you can do! Whether your goal is to get ripped, burn fat, lose weight, or just stay in shape, weightlifting and strength training is always the way to go.
When it comes to weight loss, many people spend more of their time focusing on cardio than lifting weights. Cardio has always been seen as the top notch weight loss/fat burning solution, which is why so many place such emphasis on it.
But, it turns out that weightlifting and strength training is better for your weight loss and fat burning than cardio!
The Science Behind the Claim
Why is weightlifting better for weight loss than cardio?
In a study published in 2014 in the journal Obesity, Harvard researchers studied the bodies of more than 11,000 men over the age of 40. Metrics like waist circumference, total body weight, and physical activity were used to determine which men were the healthiest. Their habits were examined over the last 12 years, and the data was analyzed to see which men saw the greatest change in their waistlines.
Of the 11,000 men studied, those who spent no less than 20 minutes per day lifting weights or doing strength training were the ones with the least abdominal fat, or the most marked difference in body fat. Men who jogged, ran, or cycled had more body fat than those who spent time lifting weights on a daily basis.
Another study, this one published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, described the thermogenic effect of exercise. The more you walk, stand, run, and move around, the more calories you burn on a regular basis. Those with sedentary lifestyles tend to burn fewer calories, both throughout their day and when working out.
But the thermogenic effects are particularly visible in those who lift weights. Weight training causes your muscles to burn more energy throughout the day, as the muscles need that energy in order to make repairs to the muscle tissue that has been damaged. Especially after losing weight, strength training is the key to increasing calorie burning throughout your day.
But Only Weights?
Absolutely not! The key to effective weight loss isn’t ONLY lifting weights and packing on the pounds of muscle, but you have to add some cardio into the mix as well!
Lifting weights burns up the glucose floating around in your bloodstream, but cardio focuses on burning fat. If you get your weightlifting out of the way first, you’ll have very little glucose left to burn. This will in turn force your body to activate the fat it has stored around your frame, and you will burn primarily fat during your cardio workouts.
What kind of cardio is the best to keep the fat-burning going? HIIT training!
High intensity interval training combines periods of low-energy exercise (walking, jogging, or cycling/elliptical walking at a slow pace) with short intervals of high-intensity exercise (sprinting or cycling/elliptical walking at top speed). This not only forces your heart and lungs to adapt to the exercise, but it strengthens the muscles and increases your oxygen uptake.
HIIT training is the perfect complement to a solid weightlifting routine. You can get through your strength training in 30 to 45 minutes, and finish off your workout with another 15 to 20 minutes of HIIT cardio. You’ll burn A LOT of calories and fat this way, and you’ll keep your body burning for hours to come. If you want a sleek, svelte body, this is definitely the way to go!