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Does Weightlifting Help Women Lose Weight?


In order to lose weight and burn fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit, which can be achieved in three main ways:

  1. eating fewer calories per day than you need.

  2. burning more calories through exercise than you consume.

  3. a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity.

Though lifting weights can burn calories, it’s not the most efficient way to do so.


Cardiorespiratory training, also known as cardio — which includes running, cycling, and swimming — burns more calories per workout session than weight training (5Trusted Source).

However, weightlifting can support weight loss by building muscle mass. Simply put, muscles are metabolically efficient and support weight loss by burning more calories at rest. Thus, it’s typically best to add both weight training and cardio to your workout regimen (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).


Research also suggests that your metabolic rate is increased after weight training, meaning you’re still burning additional calories hours after your workout has ended. In fact, studies have shown that your metabolic rate can stay elevated for up to 72 hours after a workout (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).


When you lose weight, you’re not losing pure fat — rather, you’re losing fat mass, glycogen stores, and muscle. Weight training helps preserve muscle mass during weight loss, thus increasing fat loss and keeping your metabolism from changing too much (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).


Although weight training will contribute to fat loss, you may not see a large change in the number on the scale, depending on your starting weight and goals. That’s because muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body pound for pound.


Therefore, as you lose fat and gain muscle, you may lose inches from your waistline but see no change on the scale.


All in all, adding weight training to your workout routine along with cardio exercise and a healthy diet is a great way to support weight loss.


Reference/Source:


Medically reviewed by Danielle Hildreth, RN, CPT — By Katey Davidson, MScFN, RD, CPTon January 21, 2021



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