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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

Why Weight Lifting for Weight Loss Leads to Super Fast Results

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Why Weight Lifting for Weight Loss Leads to Super Fast Results

Weight lifting for weight loss is no joke! You can weightlift a few times per week and yield massive results in regards to your weight loss journey, all while getting stronger, more toned, and feeling great!

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look into weight lifting and things that you probably never knew about it, as well as how you can get started with it.

What Is Weight Lifting?

Let’s first examine what weight lifting entails.

There’s one internationally known form of weight lifting, which relates to Olympic Weight Lifting—the super strong men and women you see competing in the international Olympic Games. There is actually some debate in the Powerlifting world as to whether or not the sport should be considered for the Olympic Games as its neighbor sport, Weight Lifting, already does.

I’m a Powerlifter, meaning I compete (occasionally) in the sport of Powerlifting, which entails another form of lifting weight (“weight lifting”) in the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift movements, respectively.

A Powerlifter can compete at his/her weight class and age division, and qualify (depending on the competition) to compete in large federations. I would argue that these large federations are akin to the Olympic Games in many ways, from regulatory requirements, drug testing, and more. Here are the top forms of weight lifting that we will touch on in this article:

  1. Olympic Weight Lifting (Snatch, Power Clean, Jerk, Front Squat)
  2. Powerlifting (Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift)
  3. Powerbuilding (Over Head Press, Bent Over Row)
  4. CrossFit (Snatch, Power Clean, Front Squat, Over Head Press, Jerk)

You may notice bodybuilding is not mentioned here, however I did include a term known as “Powerbuilding”; it’s quite simple really.

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Powerbuilding is basic, heavy compound movements for building physical and central nervous system (CNS) strength, whereas bodybuilding focuses on smaller/individual muscular growth/hypertrophy.

CrossFit has been included as it adopts movements from other weight lifting sports.

Lifting for Weight Loss

While performing the aforementioned weight lifting movements, you can work large groups of muscles and get your heart rate up with minimal time[1]!

Beyond that simple fact, you will also get an amazing cardio vascular workout while performing the higher repetition Olympic Weight Lifting and CrossFit movements, and while performing the lower repetition Powerlifting and Powerbuilding movements.

Weight lifting comes down to simple math. It’s based on the amount of weight you’re lifting, multiplied by the number of reps, multiplied by the number of sets. This simple formula gives you a daily volume, and when compounded over a week, a weekly volume.

Here’s an example:

Squats: 5 sets of 5 (25 total reps) x 150 lbs = 3,750 lbs in total volume.

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Your total volume is reflective of your workload for the day or week, and to some degree it dictates how much muscular growth you’ll have and how much weight loss you’ll achieve.

In order to lose weight performing weight lifting movements, you will need to achieve a minimum daily or weekly volume total. You can set a weekly volume target of 10,000 lbs for example, and all the weight lifting you perform during the week should total 10,000 lbs lifted.

Now, when you lift 10,000 lbs for the week, you’re almost guaranteed to build muscle or lose weight, unless you’re eating an excessive amount of food (which would be quite counter-productive).

Why Does Lifting Weights Lead to Weight Loss?

When you work your body consistently, such as reaching 10,000 lbs weekly weight lifting volume, your body’s metabolism will begin to speed-up to keep up with its need to burn fat as energy. Your body will also become very efficient at utilizing its resources for recovery, meaning you’ll lose fat even more.

Since you’re now calculating daily and weekly volume, you can also consider your daily and weekly caloric intake. I suggest downloading an app such as MyFitnessPal and entering your weight loss goals to determine your daily caloric goals.

How Weight Lifting Works

Weight lifting, in general, will yield 3 benefits:

  1. Cardiovascular development
  2. Optimizing metabolic function
  3. Improving Human Growth Hormone (HGH) development

All of these will result in weight loss from weight lifting. However, I would like to specifically focus on the HGH side.

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How Weight Lifting Improves HGH Development

Men and women experience this development and growth of HGH. In the case of women, consider the Biologically Active Growth Hormone. Let’s examine two studies of men and women with regards to weight lifting.

A 2006 study[2] looked at different forms of the growth hormone during varying weight training regimens. The research found that the role of growth hormone in women’s muscle development may be more complicated than previously thought.

They found that the growth hormone was responsive to moderate and heavy exercise regimens with 3-12 repetitions with varying weight loading. Women need to have a heavy loading cycle or work out in their resistance training routines, as it helps to build muscle and bone.

In a separate study, Brazilian scientists studied if and how much eccentric weight lifting affected growth hormone (GH) levels. The researchers took measurements of lactic acid and GH in all 16 of the lifters before the workout, and then continued to monitor the levels of those chemicals for 30 minutes post-workout.

Both lactate and GH levels were higher in the men who took three seconds to lower the weight, but 15 minutes after the workout, the GH of the eccentric lifters was an incredible, hand-clapping, 17 times higher than that of the quick lifters[3].

How to Start Weight Lifting

To start tracking weight lifting, you can download an app such as Strong Lifts to help track your weight lifting workouts.

Alternatively, you can download preset program templates, such as The Texas Method[4] by Mark Rippetoe, or 5-3-1[5] by Jim Wendler.

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Stay consistent and keep yourself honest. This means that you should try not to miss workouts. If you’re just getting started, begin lifting weights two times a week. You can then move to three or four days a week once you feel ready.

You shouldn’t lift everyday as it will put unnecessary strain on your muscles. Change up the workout for a cardio workout or HIIT every other day when possible as this burns more calories instead of sticking to one regimen. This will help you see even more benefits from weight lifting for fat loss.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re considering high repetition weight lifting such as CrossFit, or you’re leaning more towards lower repetition training styles, such as Olympic Weight Lifting or Powerlifting, as long as you stay consistent and honest, you’ll see results!

Stay on top of the numbers (daily, weekly volume, and calories), track your progress, and watch the extra fat fall off your body while you get super strong!

More on Weight Lifting for Weight Loss

Featured photo credit: Victor Freitas via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Adam Evans

BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in many fields including health and fitness, science, philosophy, metaphysics, religion.

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Last Updated on October 4, 2021

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

No equipment? No problem.

So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

  • Quadruped Rocks
  • Frog Stretch
  • Hip Prying
  • Scapula Push-ups
  • Hindu push-ups

Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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2. Yoga

Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

3. Calisthenics

Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

4. Aerobic Exercise

Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

Chipper 60

Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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“Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

Stress

We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

Stimulants

Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
[2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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