Why Weight Training is More Effective for Fat Loss

Fat Loss with weights is not a new concept, but for many a forgotten one.  Long before the surge of aerobic training in the 1980s, people were building lean muscle and achieving fat loss with weights.  While many trainers, professionals, and exercisers may have read about the fat loss benefits of weight training, it’s kind of a lost art.  Very few people are looking for “hard work and discipline”  as the answer to their quest for fat loss.  It is our constant desire to find a way to achieve more with less effort that has gotten us the watered down, over hyped, and under performing workout programs today.

It’s amazing how many people roll into a gym the first week of January expecting to reverse the damage they have done to their health in a few short weeks that they have accumulated over the last 10 years.  Don’t get me wrong, great results are possible, and you can achieve them, but the reality of the work and dedication it takes to achieve them is often enough to turn most people away.  It’s sad that people will spend millions of dollars this year on false promises and fad programs all for the chance at getting to where they want to be with less work.

Ask any highly successful person how they got where they are today, and I highly doubt that they found a product on late night television that drastically changed their lives in almost no time.  Nor will they tell you they got there from doing the same grinding activity day after day without evolving.  I’m referencing fad products and aerobic training here.

These people got where they are by adapting, evolving, and working hard consistently.  You should expect nothing less from an exercise program.  Fat loss with weight training allows you to evolve your program as your body changes and adapts.  Fat loss with weights allows you to change your training to fit your needs and goals precisely and effectively.  Don’t get stuck in the hamster wheel with nowhere to go.  Don’t get conned into some too-good-to-be-true shiny product that is basically just selling you an excuse not to work hard.

Why Does Fat Loss With Weight Training Work Better?

Reason 1
Fat loss with weights not only allows you to customize and adapt your program more precisely, it also works with the way your metabolism was made to run.  To sum it up, our bodies have adapted to store energy for two major metabolic needs.

The first and most obvious is for periods between meals, whether it be minutes or days, our body has to store enough energy for us to survive from one meal to the next.  The other purpose is for short bouts of intense activities.  This is our hunting and survival energy reserve.  Our body needs to dip into quick usable energy sources when we need to chase something down or run away from it.

Fat loss with weight training works to increase the amount of energy you store for those short periods of intense activity.  This is stored in the form of proteins and carbohydrates in your muscle tissue rather than fat.  Long steady aerobic programs and low calorie diets are basically a way of training your body to store more fat, and less of this short term energy reserve.

Reason 2
When you do fat loss programs with weights, the hormonal outcome is much different than when you do aerobic training.  You can think of your hormones as managers of everything you put in your body and how it’s used.  The hormones you make can in turn make you fatter or leaner.

When you do fat loss with weights you create more of the hormones that promote fat loss and lean muscle gain.  When you do steady state aerobic training for instance you create more hormones that break down lean muscle and actually increases subsequent fat storage.  This is part of what makes that “AFTERBURN” effect of resistance training possible.  Having the right hormones elevated after you workout.  You can burn more fat after leaving the gym than when you were at the gym if your program is made properly and you elicit the right hormonal response.

Reason 3
Weight training for fat loss is not your stereotypical weight lifting  session.

Fat Loss Weight Workouts Vs Other Types of Weight Workouts

When I say resistance training or weight training is superior for fat loss, I am not talking about the slow going work for 10 seconds, watch TV for 2 minutes training you see a lot of guys doing in the weight room.  There is a big misconception on what a fat loss weight workout is.  It’s not a certain amount of reps, or special functional exercises, or any gimmick product.  Fat loss with weight training involves changing the variables of training to increase metabolic activity and promote the right hormones to burn fat and build lean muscle.

Fat Loss Workout With Weight Training Key Points

  • A high work to rest ratio. – This is not your 20 seconds of bicep curls followed by walking in front of the mirror for 5 minutes routine.
  • It’s hard, and gets harder as the sets get higher. – Fat loss workouts should fatigue your system making each set harder and harder.  If you can use the same weights for the same reps throughout the whole workout, you are either resting too much or not working hard enough and need to increase the weights and use longer sets.
  • It’s a big movement – This means it requires a large range of motion for the muscle to go through.  A full squat requires a lot more movement than a small step up.
  • It crosses multiple joints. – An example of this would be a squat or lunge which require movement at the hip and knee or a row which moves at the elbow and shoulder.  Crossing multiple joints means more muscles are involved.  The more muscles involved the greater systemic response you can produce to solicit fat burning effects.
  • You will lift heavy weights.  – Now heavy is relative to the individual.  It doesn’t matter how much weight is on the bar, but it does matter that you are busting your butt to move it.
  • The exercise can break the anaerobic/lactic thresholds. – Basically if it’s not an exercise that you could make someone gasp for air with, it’s not going to be very effective by itself.  You have to be very strong to be able to go breathless from a set of bicep curls before they would just give out from fatigue.  A sign of high lactic acid is that burning in your muscles and nausea in your stomach.  The creation of lactic acid is crucial for the stimulation of fat burning hormones.  If you’re not doing big multi-joint exercises with the right reps, tempo, and rest intervals, you can make a good exercise ineffective.
  • It’s at least 4 times per week.  – Frequency is very important when working out for weight loss.  Lifting weights more frequently keeps you in a more positive metabolic state and help increase insulin sensitivity more.  Those two things are so important to fat loss that working fat loss programs using 4x/week weight training vs 3x per week are 50% more effective.
  • It comes with a nutrition program. – No personal trainer/coach that is worth their weight in salt will ever put someone through a fat loss program without proper nutritional and supplemental guidance that is tailored to their body and the program they are going to undertake.

What a Fat Loss Workout is NOT

  • It’s not a stereotypical bodybuilding workout. – Most bodybuilding workouts are made up of a lot of isolation exercises and often split up for a few body parts for each day.  A example would be like Monday, 3 sets of 10 bench, 3 sets of 10 incline bench, 3 sets of 10 flies, 3 sets of 10 cable flies.
  • It’s not an arm workout.  – Bicep curls, tricep extensions, and shoulder raises have no business in a fat loss program.  You would need at least an 18” arm for these exercises to have any real metabolic benefit.
  • It’s not in the latest Muscle and Fiction Magazine. – You will almost never see a really good routine in a magazine.  The biggest reason being, good routines are very difficult and demanding.
  • It’s not a functional training circus act. – Balancing on bosu balls, swinging ropes and kettlebells, or hanging on a TRX are all great ways to avoid lifting heavy weights.  There are some small aspects of training where these can be used but when it comes to fat loss programs, better results come to those that weight train.
  • It’s not a cardio routine. – Aerobic training is basically just the opposite side of the starvation diet.  Instead of taking in less calories, you are starving your body by burning more.  It can provide short term results, but with long term consequences.  Training your body to live of less calories only increases the risk of disease, and makes you more likely to gain even more fat in the future.  If you don’t think you get enough cardiovascular work from your weight training, you are not working hard enough and you are definitely not doing a fat loss workout.

It’s not in the group fitness studio.  – Unless you find a group fitness area that has squat racks, barbells and heavy dumbbells that is.

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