Many people just beginning their fitness journey toward a lean, toned physique make the mistake of focusing solely on cardio and aerobics. Exercises like jogging, walking, and cycling are no doubt a major ingredient while cooking up a leaner look, but failing to add in some weightlifting is like serving a PB&J sandwich without the jelly. It just isn’t going to work!
Indeed, if you still mistakenly believe the weight room is only for seasoned athletes or bodybuilders, you’re sabotaging your lean body goals right from the start. “You may lose weight faster doing cardio only, but unfortunately it’s the wrong kind of weight,” Greg Justice, PT, told Women’s Health. “Weight training builds lean muscle mass, which elevates your metabolism and burns more fat, even when you’re not exercising.”
Moreover, this study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism concludes that combining a clean diet with strength training is effective at simultaneously burning unneeded fat while preserving muscle mass. So, it’s quite clear that strength training, in general, is helpful for weight loss. That being said, making one relatively minor adjustment to your weightlifting routine can potentially help you burn twice as many calories.
Read on to learn more, and then, don’t miss This Workout Plan Will Keep You Lean Throughout the Holidays.
It can be tempting to lift the heaviest weights you can handle, but science tells us that choosing to prioritize rep quantity over heavy weights helps burn significantly more calories.
This study released in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tracked calories burned as a group of young men either performed lots of bench press reps with low weight or performed a much heavier bench press for just a few repetitions. Incredibly, subjects who performed more reps with lighter weights ended up burning close to double the calories as the others.
“What type of lifting ‘burns’ the most calories, muscular endurance (high reps), or strength-type training (heavy weight)? The answer appears to be muscular endurance-type exercise,” the study concludes.
Another study published in Diabetes Care came to similar conclusions, discovering that those who performed just a few reps with heavy weights burned far fewer calories than others who performed more reps with lighter weights.
These findings shouldn’t serve as an excuse to take it easy while working out. Your strength training sessions should still be strenuous. Instead of lifting the heaviest weights you can only handle for 1-5 reps at a time, go for lighter barbells in 15-25 rep increments. Your muscles should still be burning and exhausted afterward, but all of the extra energy used performing more reps will translate into extra calories burned.
Related: This Workout Is Three Times Better for Your Health Than Walking, New Study Says.
If you’re worried …….