When you first start a new weight lifting programme to lose weight, it can be difficult to know where to start. But can you actually lose fat by weight training or is it best to do cardio?
Will lifting weights help me lose weight?
For weight loss, research has found that that lifting between 60-80% of your 1 rep max (the heaviest amount of weight you can lift for one repetition of an exercise) is the best way to stimulate muscle growth, which is what helps you lose fat by burning more calories. It is also scientifically proven that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest and the higher your metabolism will be.
However, there is a big difference between losing weight and losing fat. As you start lifting more weights and developing more muscle mass, you may well notice that you become heavier. This does not mean you have become 'fatter' as muscle weighs more than fat. You will notice that your physique changes and you will become leaner as your fat percentage drops and your muscle mass increases, but the number on the scale may stay the same. So in this instance, lifting weights won't help you lose weight, but it can certainly help you lose fat, which is far more important!
Other benefits of weight training
There is more to weight training than just 'toning up'. Lifting heavy weights has been undoubtedly proven to increase your bone density, which means you will have a stronger frame and will be less likely to develop health problems later in life such as osteoporosis. You will also find that your clothes will fit better as your body fat drops and your larger muscles create a more 'toned' physique.
So, lifting weights has many benefits and can indeed help you drop fat, but don't be concerned if the number on the scale isn't saying what you want it to, there is more to fitness success than being light.