Cut down on cardio and spend more time on weights to burn fat faster, trainers say
- Despite the myth that weight lifting makes you bulky, it's a great way to burn fat.
- Compound exercises like deadlifts and squats engage the whole body and rev up your metabolism.
- Personal trainers recommend adding it to your routine instead of hours of cardio.
If you're looking to burn fat, stop spinning that stationary bike and pick up some weights.
Certain weight lifting exercises require your whole body to engage, torching calories and building muscle at the same time. If you want to change your body composition and become leaner or stronger, lifting is a great place to start.
For best results, focus on compound movements, aim for slow and steady progress, and adjust your eating habits to support your new routine.
Lifting weights can work multiple muscle groups at once for maximum calorie burn
The advantage of weight lifting, especially with free weights like dumbbells, barbells, and kettle bells, is that it's a full body workout.
Picking up and stabilizing weights, especially heavy ones, engages your legs, back, core, and arms. Having all those muscle groups firing at once leads to major calorie burn, Noam Tamir, founder and CEO of TS Fitness, previously told Insider.
Classic compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, presses, or Olympic lifts (the clean, jerk, and snatch) are especially efficient because they use large muscles like your glutes and hamstrings.
Having more strength and muscle can boost metabolism
It's true that cardio exercise can burn more calories while you're working out, but the benefits of weight lifting continue even after your gym session is over.
"As soon as you stop doing cardio, you stop burning calories," personal trainer and competitive weightlifter Sarah Carr previously told Insider. "When you lift weights, once you stop, your body starts to recover, and continues to burn calories for a long period of time."
Then, as your body adapts to the challenge of lifting weights by building new muscle tissue, your metabolism may ramp up even more.
Experts recommend being patient with weight loss, since a slower approach helps maintain or even grow muscle, keeping your metabolism strong. Slow weight loss also ensures the results will be sustainable long-term.
Good nutrition is key for fat loss
No matter what you do in the gym, burning fat means maintaining a calorie deficit, or using more energy than you eat in the form of food. For most people, that's difficult to do without making some changes to your eating habits.
You also need to fuel your recovery, too.
To shed body fat while supporting your muscles, dietitians recommend creating a small calorie deficit by eating more nutrient-dense, lower-calorie foods like fruits and veggies and getting plenty of protein. You don't have to cut out foods you enjoy (and doing so could actually backfire), but it helps to enjoy sugary treats and alcohol in moderation.
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