Are you guilty of going too light when you lift? If so, you may not be seeing the results you’d like. Learn more about why lifting heavier weights could change your entire bod
Lifting Heavy is the Key to Weight Loss: Did you know that muscle plays a huge role in raising metabolism. That’s because losing fat involves increasing your metabolism, and a pound of muscle burns about 10-20 calories a day while a pound of fat burns 5 calories. That means any growth in your muscle tissue is going to help you burn more calories all day long.
In fact, strength training has all kinds of great effects on your body like:
- Increasing resting metabolic rate so you burn more calories, even while at rest.
- Making you lean and slim–muscle takes up less space than fat so, the more you have, the slimmer you are
- Strengthening bones and connective tissue, which can protect your body from injuries in daily life
- Enhancing balance and stability
- Building confidence and self-esteem
However…this only works if you’re using enough weight to stimulate that muscle growth. In other words, if you can lift the weights you’ve chosen (for most exercises) more than 16-20 times, you might not see the kind of fat loss you would if you increased your weight.
People, especially women, are afraid to lift heavy for all kinds of reasons: it feels weird, fear of injury, confusion as to how much is too much, fear of getting bulky (Lifting heavy weights will NOT make you huge–you simply don’t have the testosterone levels to build big muscles. Lifting heavy weights WILL help you lose fat), fear of pain.
- goal of weight training is to lift as much weight as you possibly can (with good form!) for the number of reps you’ve chosen. In daily life, we typically don’t push ourselves to fatigue in anything we do, so this idea may not only feel foreign, it may feel downright miserable. But it is totally worth it!
How heavy should you lift? Lifting between 60-80% of your 1 rep max is the best way to stimulate muscle growth, which is what helps you lose fat. The problem is that most of us don’t think much about how much weight we need, much less going through the process of figuring out 1 rep max for every exercise we’re doing. So, how do you figure out how much to lift if you don’t know your 1 rep max? Typically, if you lift 60%-80% of max, you could do anywhere from 10-20 reps. Lifting at 80% and above takes you down to the lower rep range, which is where you’ll be if you’re trying to gain size. That means keeping your reps somewhere between 8-16, if you’re lifting for weight loss and fitness. Your weights are determined by the number of reps you’re doing.
The important thing to remember when it comes to strength training is that you must give you your muscles more weight than they can handle–that’s how muscles grow. The challenge of lifting heavy is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one and, if you haven’t pushed your body’s limits in a while, just the act of lifting weights may be all you can handle. If you’re consistent with a basic program and build a solid foundation of strength, you’ll be ready for the next step–lifting heavy and pushing your muscles to their limits. You’ll be amazed at the changes in your body. And how much fun it is!