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Does Lifting Weights Help You Lose Weight?

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
Does Lifting Weights Help You Lose Weight?
Weight training can play a supporting role as you attempt to lose weight. Photo Credit: LUNAMARINA/iStock/Getty Images

Deciding to join a gym in an effort to lose weight presents you with a number of ways to build a healthier body. Regular exercise is key, but to bid farewell to your excess fat, your workout regimen should include more than just lifting weights. While you shouldn't underestimate the importance of weight training in your attempt to lose weight, aerobic exercise is crucial to getting results.

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Boost Your Metabolism

Strength training exercises are effective at boosting your BMR.
Strength training exercises are effective at boosting your BMR. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Two people can perform similar workouts and have completely different weight-loss results because of their basal metabolic rate, which is unique to each person. A long list of factors influence this rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories to provide fuel for your body's basic functions. While you can't control such BMR-influencing factors as your genetics, gender and age, you can control the important factor of your physique. The American Council on Exercise reports that strength-training exercises are effective at boosting your BMR. As such, lifting weights can elevate your BMR to contribute to a higher calorie burn long after you leave the gym.

Lift Your Chance of Losing Weight

Make sure you avoid overtraining.
Make sure you avoid overtraining. Photo Credit: LUNAMARINA/iStock/Getty Images

Strength-training exercises such as lifting free weights, using weight machines or even performing body-weight exercises are integral to include in your weight-loss plan. When lifting weights, it's important to avoid overtraining, which can lead to injury. Instead of trying to lift weights daily to boost your BMR, devote two or three days per week to strength training, allowing at least a day of rest between workouts. Alternate your exercises to focus on all your major muscle groups.

Break a Sweat With Cardio

Cardiovascular exercises should be incorporated into your routine.
Cardiovascular exercises should be incorporated into your routine. Photo Credit: Andrey Kryuchkov/iStock/Getty Images

Solely performing weight training can benefit your body, but is unlikely to lead to weight loss. Cardiovascular exercises, which elevate your heart rate, are key exercises to include in your regimen if you wish to lose weight. These exercises can help you burn hundreds of calories in a short duration to achieve the caloric deficit needed to burn fat and lose weight. Plan to perform aerobic exercises, such as walking, jumping rope, swimming or biking, five times per week for up to 60 minutes per workout.

Don't Discount Your Diet

Cut out unhealthy foods in your diet.
Cut out unhealthy foods in your diet. Photo Credit: Azurita/iStock/Getty Images

A successful combination of lifting weights and performing cardio exercises on a continuous basis can help you work toward weight loss, but no weight-loss goal is complete without attention to your diet. It's possible to shed some pounds without improving your diet, but ACE reports that it's very difficult to do so. "Muscle & Fitness" magazine suggests improving your diet by cutting out unhealthy foods, limiting your intake of carbs and eating multiple protein-rich meals throughout the day.

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