Is Weight Lifting Good For Weight Loss?

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You can implement many different types of workouts in your weight loss routine. Find out whether weight lifting is good for losing weight.

To lose weight, you need to make it so your body uses up more energy than is coming in from the things you eat.

Weight lifting is good for weight loss in the sense that it helps you get to that point.

First of all, your body needs more energy to fuel your movements when you are lifting heavy weights.

Secondly, if you implement a good lifting program that helps you build muscle mass, this extra muscle will help you burn more calories with everything you do.

In turn, many people, especially lifting beginners, will benefit a lot in terms of weight loss by implementing one to three weight lifting workouts with compound exercises a week.

Even if you don’t want to go to the gym, you can use more at-home-friendly equipment options like workout sandbags or resistance bands.

One thing you do want to keep in mind is that your habits in lifestyle areas like the things you eat still need to be good enough to lose weight by lifting weights.

Can you lose weight by only lifting weights?

If you want to achieve weight loss, you have to get in a situation where your body needs more energy than is coming in from food.

At this point, you start using up energy stores like body fat to get your remaining energy needs.

Lifting weights helps with this in two main ways.

First of all, lifting heavy weight requires more energy from your body than the things most people typically do.

Secondly, if you approach your lifting program the right way, you can build a nice amount of muscle mass. Especially if you are more of a resistance training beginner for now.

This is relevant because having more muscle mass makes you burn more calories throughout the day. This includes during any other workouts you do.

One thing to keep in mind is that you still need to have habits that are good enough in areas like your diet to actually lose weight by lifting weights.

At the same time, if you are currently at a weight loss plateau and don’t change anything else, you can lose weight by just lifting weights.

Can you lose stomach fat by lifting weights?

Many people get the impression that you can target fat loss in areas like your stomach by doing specific weight lifting exercises.

Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to choose from what areas you lose fat first in significant amounts. That being said, there are still ways to achieve this goal if you want.

More specifically, if you lose more and more weight, you will also end up losing a lot of body fat over time.

In simpler words, you can lose stomach fat by lifting weights but you will not necessarily only focus on this area.

Additionally, since losing stomach fat tends to be relatively challenging, you may need to make changes in other lifestyle areas to achieve this goal.

Can you lose weight by lifting weights

What type of lifting is best for weight loss?

While lifting weights does burn a nice amount of calories, most of its weight loss effects tend to come from the extra muscle mass you build.

Especially if you are a beginner who still has a lot of room to get easy muscle mass gains.

This is important to note because some muscle groups in your body are bigger than others. In turn, these bigger muscle groups also tend to have more room for mass increases.

In simpler words, the best type of lifting for weight loss is compound lifts that work a lot of big muscle groups at the same time.

A few examples of these exercises per area you can include in your weight loss lifting programs are:

  • Legs: Squats, deadlifts lunges, Bulgarian split squats, good mornings
  • Back: Bent-over rows, pull-ups, lat pulldowns
  • Chest: Bench presses, machine chest presses, cable flys

Another benefit of for example leg compound exercises for weight loss is that these also tend to be the movements that burn the most energy during the workouts.

What if you are lifting weights but not losing weight?

It is possible that you start lifting weights but don’t see the number on the scale go down. Whether this means you are doing something wrong depends on certain details.

For example, there is a phenomenon where someone who is new to lifting weights loses body fat but not weight.

If you are in this situation, it is possible that you are building muscle mass (aka weight) by lifting weights but losing body fat at the same time.

In this situation, you would be getting healthier even though the number on the scale is not really moving.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning that many people overestimate for how much food exercise can compensate.

In simpler words, it is also possible that you are not losing weight when you are lifting weights because your habits in areas like nutrition are not good enough.

You can notice the difference between these two situations by keeping track of details like your waist circumference.


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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.