Are you struggling to get the flab off your belly? Here's the best exercise for losing weight that'll help you lose fat and maintain a fit body...
CLINK… CLINK… CLANK
... Hear that?
You look up from behind the comfort of your treadmill and see a big, hairy, and sweaty dude—possibly a bear—throw down two dumbbells, scratch & smell his armpits, and shout inappropriate slurs for all the gym-goers to hear.
Ah yes… THAT side of the gym.
The side of the gym where the lights are a bit dimmer, and the air's a bit fowler.
Okay, I'm being a bit dramatic...
But we all know the place that I’m talking about...
The Weight Room.
Most people who start losing weight tend to avoid this side of the gym entirely, and who could blame them?
If you’ve never lifted before, barbells and dumbbells can be incredibly intimidating. Pair that with not knowing HOW to lift weights, and it seems like an obvious thing to avoid.
But the reality is this: resistance training—specifically lifting weights—is the BEST type of exercise for losing weight and getting rid of body fat while dieting.
It beats cardio, Zumba, step class, all of it…
In this article, I’m going to outline the reason diet and cardio aren’t always enough, and why lifting weights is so important for folks looking to get rid of body fat!
At the end, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for my free 14-day fat loss course, Fat Loss Forever. This course includes the diet and exercise strategies (yup, lifting weights) I used to lose over 140 pounds and keep it off.
Why Diet Alone Isn’t Always Enough
Most people know that nutrition is important for losing weight.
As the saying goes, "you can't outwork a bad diet."
But the issue with losing weight through diet alone is that it's only solving half of the problem...
When most people talk about wanting to lose weight, what they really mean is they want to lose fat.
Making changes to your diet can help you lose weight, but diet alone will lead to weight loss from fat AND muscle...
Trust me when I say you do NOT want to lose muscle while dieting.
There are a number of reasons for not wanting this to happen, but the biggest is that muscle is incredibly important for your health and metabolism.
When I receive an email for help overcoming a weight loss plateau, I often find that the person got there through crash dieting and losing a ton of much muscle.
The bottom line: diet alone can help you lose weight, but a good portion of that weight loss may end up coming from muscle. Over time, this loss in muscle will lead to a slower metabolism and increase your chances of hitting a plateau—leaving you with stubborn fat that's nearly impossible to get rid of.
That's why your goal with losing weight shouldn't be to lose as much scale weight as possible, but rather lose as much fat as possible while maintaining/building lean muscle in the process.
Why Cardio Isn't Helping...
I sort of have a love-hate relationship with cardio...
The good thing about cardio is that it can burn additional calories. Additionally, it can be motivating for some dieters to sweat it out on a Stairmaster as if they're "sweating out the fat."
So if you enjoy cardio and it helps you stay active, then more power to you! Just realize that cardio isn't as effective for losing weight as it's made out to be.
For instance, people don't tend to burn as many calories as they think through regular cardio activity...
Those estimated calories burned displayed on cardio equipment and activity trackers such as a Fitbit? They're rarely accurate.
Additionally, if you're pairing a lot of cardio with a low-calorie diet, then your body may end up decreasing the calories you burn from involuntary activity (walking, fidgeting, mindless moving) and increase your hunger signals.
What's more is cardio doesn't do much in the way of building muscle mass, which as I've alluded to is incredibly important for burning fat and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
You'll be much better off focusing on diet and resistance training as your primary mode of losing fat. Cardio is best left for breaking through a plateau or for its cardiovascular health benefits.
Here are 5 Ways to Melt Fat WITHOUT More Boring Cardio.
6 Reasons Why Lifting Weights is the Best Exercise for Losing Weight
1. Lifting Weights Helps You Build & Retain Muscle
As mentioned before, your goal when losing weight is to lose fat and NOT muscle.
And check this out...
If you've never lifted before, then you'll likely end up building muscle while simultaneously dropping fat!
Burning fat and building muscle at the same time is the ultimate weight loss scenario. It's essentially like using the Star boost in Mario Kart...
Of course, your scale weight may not drop as fast (since you're adding muscle mass), but don't let that worry you...
When you're dropping fat and building muscle, the more relevant changes are going to be seen in your bi-weekly waist/body measurements, clothes fit, and overall physical appearance.
In fact, the body scale should ONLY be used to show weight trends and averages that occur over the course of weeks and months.
Your daily weight changes (rather, fluctuations!) aren't going to show actual fat loss progress.
Want to Learn The Best Methods for Tracking Progress?
2. Lifting Weights Doesn't Require a Huge Time Commitment
This is perhaps one of the best reasons to incorporate lifting into your weight loss regimen...
If you want to get the muscle-building & metabolism-boosting benefits of Strength Training (a fancy name for lifting weights), then all you really need is 3-4 hours a week.
You read that right...
If you can get to the gym 2-4 times a week and complete a proper 45-60 minute weight lifting workout, then you'll be doing plenty of work to stimulate muscle growth.
The small time commitment required for lifting weights makes it easily fit into any schedule. EVERYONE has 3-4 hours a week they can dedicate to their health.
3. You'll Look Good Naked and Have More Confidence
Yeah, I know...
"Looks aren't everything, Carter."
But I'm not going to believe for a second that—along with losing weight for health reasons—people don't want to look better and feel sexier too.
Plus, when you feel sexy and proud of your physique, your confidence goes through the roof!
And when you're more confident in yourself, you feel like you can accomplish more, so you do.
What I love about fitness is how all of your goals work together. As you lose weight, get strong, and become healthier, you're naturally going to look and feel more vibrant.
It's a win-win!
4. Your Food Choices Become More Meaningful
If we're strictly talking weight loss, a calorie deficit is the ONLY thing that matters.
You could eat a diet made up of 100% sugar and lose weight as long as you stay in a calorie deficit
Of course, that type of diet wouldn't be exactly "ideal"...
A 100% sugar diet would be severely lacking in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein—all of which play a fundamental role in your energy levels, hunger signals, and overall health.
Here's the cool thing about strength training...
When you start working out hard in the gym using weights, you're going to be motivated to eat more protein to support muscle growth and get plenty of vitamin & mineral-rich foods to maximize your recovery.
So even if you don't particularly like eating healthier foods now, you'll learn to enjoy them once you're doing something, like lifting weights, which demands proper nutrition.
That's right... you'll start to ENJOY your vegetables!
Center your nutrition around real foods (fruits, veggies, potatoes, rice, etc.) and protein (chicken, steak, eggs, etc.), and I guarantee you'll have more energy, better workouts, less hunger, and an all-around more enjoyable diet experience.
5. Life is Easier When You're Strong
There was a time in history when exercise wasn't something that we had to purposefully plan into our schedule... we just did it.
People didn't have to deal with weak muscles and imbalances as much because most of them were farmer or labor worker who stayed physically fit.
Nowadays, we can pretty much go throughout the entire day and not have to exert a single ounce of physical effort.
So yes, lifting will help you build muscle and lose fat, but those aren't the ONLY benefits that you'll gain...
You'll also build strength and endurance, which will translate to all other areas of your life!
As a direct result of lifting, you'll have an easier time moving around and performing various activities that require small bouts of physical exertion.
Here's just a small list of things I could think of that'll become easier when you're stronger and leaner:
- You'll have a much easier time lifting, playing, and running around with your kids.
- You can take the stairs without breaking a sweat.
- You can lift that heavy box onto the counter without hurting your back (lift with your legs!)
- You can bicep curl your friend to safety if they're hanging from a ledge...
The possibilities are endless.
The main point is that there are ZERO downsides to building strength and muscle in the gym. The list of benefits you acquire are more than worth the short 3-4 hours you're committing to the gym each week.
It's a pretty sweet trade off if you ask me!
6. Strength Training Improves Your Life Forever!
Want to know one of the leading causes of death and injury in older adults? Falls - as a result of having weak muscles, low bone density, and poor balance. (souce)
Well, guess what? Lifting weights and resistance training IMPROVES all three of these things!
In fact, resistance training has been shown to be one of the best ways to improve bone density and strength as we age. (source)
Here are some of the other health benefits that come from lifting weights (source):
- faster metabolism/easier weight control
- improved cognition and memory
- better posture and decreased back pain
- reduction in blood lipids, lower cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity
- Increased energy and mood.
Needless to say, lifting weights provides a plethora of physical, mental, short, and long-term benefits for your health & fitness.
Ready to Start Lifting Weights and Burning Fat? Let Me Help You...
I mentioned at the beginning of the article that you'd have the opportunity to sign up for my free email course, Fat Loss Forever...
Well, now's your chance!
Fat Loss Forever is my 14-day course that outlines EVERYTHING you need to know about losing fat and building lean muscle.
For two weeks, I'll send you quick and concise emails that cover the most effective diet and exercise strategies for getting rid of excess body fat and getting lean once and for all.
If you're ready to take action, get rid of your unwanted belly fat, and start building the lean and healthy body of your dreams, then click the button below to enroll in the course instantly!
You'll receive email #1 within minutes of signing up!