Want that highly-coveted toned movie star look? Let’s say like Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Gal Gadot in Wonderwoman type of look?
Or maybe you’re not really into looking like a bodybuilder and just want to look good at the beach or the poolside BBQ.
Regardless of what your fitness goal is, you should lift weights. And especially if you want to burn fat, which might sound odd because conventional wisdom suggests you should spend hours on the treadmill.
Nothing wrong with treadmill workouts of course, but this article will explain why you should prioritize weight lifting for your body composition goals.
The Basics of “Weight Loss”
Weight loss usually comes down to spending more energy during the day than you consume. This is often referred to as “calories in, calories out”.
“Calories in” is what you eat and drink. Calories out is your BMR (basal metabolic rate) plus any activities, usually hard physical effort (exercise or labor).
The goal with lifting weights is to increase your BMR, which is your resting metabolism.
If you build more muscle, you’ll also burn more calories during exercise, because more muscle mass means more fuel is required to move your body around.
So, essentially you’re increasing your “calories out” part of the equation, which then tips the scale in favor of easier weight loss.
Why Lifting Weights Will Help You Lose More Weight?
If you lift weights, you’ll increase muscle mass.
Muscle mass burns more calories because it needs energy to sustain itself. So just by having more muscle, you’ll increase your resting metabolism.
In other words, you’ll burn more calories throughout the day even in a state of relative rest.
But there’s one caveat, you have to maintain somewhat of an active lifestyle to maximize the calorie burning benefits of more muscle mass.
As discussed above, body composition comes down to “calories in, calories out”. If you burn more calories than you consume then you’re in a calorie deficit and you’ll lose weight.
By lifting weights and increasing metabolism, you’re increasing the calories out part significantly.
Isn’t Lifting Going to Make Me Bulky?
The short answer: no.
People that get “huge” from lifting have to put a LOT of effort to do so, and sometimes even performance-enhancing substances.
Most regular people that go to the gym and lift weights at a regular level won’t get humongous. But you will get toned though.
Not to mention, you’ll improve bone strength, immunity, coordination, confidence….the list of benefits can be endless.
So What About Cardio?
You should definitely do cardio. It’s proven to be good for blood circulation, disease prevention, and better mood.
And you’ll probably sleep better as well. Cardio, as the name suggests is great for cardiovascular health.
And yes, cardio does burn calories, but increasing some muscle mass will burn exponentially more calories overall.
Improving your cardiovascular health with also increase your work capacity, which means you’ll become better at lifting weights.
Point is, you should definitely include cardio in your routine, but don’t just go to the gym and spend every day on the treadmill if body composition is your primary objective.