Regardless of what diet you use, if you want to maximize your fat loss and more importantly, if you want to keep your new shape instead of rebounding and gaining all of the fat back (and possibly more), you need a good fat loss weight lifting routine. When combined with proper diet and cardio-vascular (aerobic) exercise, weight lifting can result in dramatic and long term changes. There is a lot of research and conflicting information about weight lifting. How can you decide which program is right for you?
Many people start lifting weights because they have been told that muscle burns more calories than fat. While this is true, current research shows that the difference is not as great as once thought. If you are trying to lose weight quickly, a weight lifting routine won’t make a lot of difference.
If you are looking at an overall lifestyle change, weight lifting can make a huge difference. Either way, to sustain your body-fat percentage, weight lifting will help. Much of the benefit of weight lifting for fat loss comes from the increase in lean muscle. Since muscle burns fat even when you aren’t doing anything, you benefit 24 hours a day. It’s estimated that you can lose an extra pound of fat every 7 to 10 days by gaining just 10 pounds of muscle.
A common belief is that you should lift heavier weights to gain mass and lighter weights to slim down. This is no longer a popular belief with researchers. Lifting lighter weights does not lead to significant muscle gain and is generally not intense enough to qualify as an aerobic exercise, so there is little reason to perform light weight/high rep routines.
For maximum benefits you should select a routine that requires you to perform with weights heavy enough to allow only 8-12 repetitions. Many women avoid lifting heavy weights because they are worried about becoming to bulky. For the vast majority of women this isn’t a problem. Most women don’t have enough testosterone (required for muscle growth) to result in huge muscle gains.
Your program should target all the major muscle groups. A lot of people dislike working the lower body because the exercises often seem un-natural and more difficult. This is mainly because most people don’t use their legs for much more than walking and the occasional light lifting. Many people also experience extra soreness the day after a lower body workout. This is also because the muscles are being used in new ways (not because of lactic acid as commonly believed.) Your muscles will eventually become accustomed to the new exercises and become less sore.
Your fat loss weight lifting routine should include lower body workouts. Don’t skip them. There are a lot of large muscles in the legs and as they grow, they too will burn calories.
Probably the most important thing you can ask yourself about any fat loss weight lifting routine is “Can I stick with it?” If you are going to stop lifting in a week, a month, or even a year, you won’t enjoy the lifetime benefits. Remember, weight lifting isn’t a quick fix when you’re looking to drop a few extra pounds before a big event. Weight lifting is a long-term lifestyle change. If it isn’t enjoyable, you won’t stick with it.
When combined with diet and aerobic exercise, a fat loss weight lifting program can help you develop the body you want. More importantly, it can improve your overall health and fitness for the rest of your life.