Weight lifting as a primarily calorie burning excercise

I’ve asked questions on these boards in the past about weight training for the purpose of increasing muscle mass. But now I want to start getting fit again.

I let myself go a while ago and now I want to restore my shape and lose some weight, and feel better about my image.

But knowing how difficult and slow it is to build muscle I no longer care about that. I just want to burn more calories than I consume. And what with the sh…crappy weather I want to be able to do this indoors. So I’ve been thinking about lifting weights.

I have a general idea of how to do this in a calorie burning way - many reps, lower weight (light enough that many reps are possible, but not so light that there isn’t much actual burning happening) and many sets.

Any advice for someone wanting to use weight-lifting for the primary purpose of burning calories

The problem is that the body is brutally efficient when it comes to burning calories for energy, so while weight training burns calories, it is just a ‘tweak’ in the overall strategy.

Where weight training gives you bang for your buck (time) is that, when resting, increased muscle mass equals increased metabolism: you burn more calories at rest.

The overall battle begins with consumption of calories. That is 75% of the battle. For example, say you pig out on some cheesecake (700 cals), and you want to weight train to offset the mistake. I think you are looking at 1.5-2 hours in the gym, JUST TO BREAK EVEN.

Aerobics mixed with some resistance training is probably the ultimate, but I doubt you’ll see much of a dent in body fat (forget body weight) via weight training alone. Sure, it will help, but it’s really a ‘tweak’ in your body fat % in the end.

If all you care about is losing body fat, then just do maintenance weight lifting for a while and hit the treadmill hard.

just chiming in an agreeance with the other answers. Weight training is good, but you really need some cardio to get your heart rate up and actually burn a good amount of calories during a workout. I like to hit the weights for awhile (maybe a half hour? Depends how my shoulder feels) than hit the treadmill and do some jogging for awhile, mixing in some sprints.

I’m going to respectfully disagree with most of the posters here so far. To kick your metabolism into overdrive, high intensity is the way to go. This can be either anaerobic (i.e.e heavy weight training) or aerobic (i.e. high intensity interval training) . See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excess_post-exercise_oxygen_consumption for a brief introduction to this idea.

Be Careful! I tried this a few years ago. Your muscles get in shape much faster than your tendons or joints. You can easily give yourself tendonitis with high reps. Then you’ll have to lay off for months before you can start again. Bottom line; it’s going to take way more time than you might imagine to get in shape. Like, half a year or so.

You won’t burn much more if any more calories by lifting weight. Even heavy cardio done five days a week for 60 minutes, you’d be lucky to lose ten pounds.

You have to keep your heart rate steady and beating fast to lose any weight. You just don’t do this lifting weights.

It amazes me 'cause at 45 I have a great body and everyone asks “how do you get it,” but no one wants to do the work.

Like six pack abs. You get them from running and cardio not sit ups.

My husband is always pointing out that it’s so much easier to not overeat in the first place than it is to burn off calories by exercising. So much easier, yeah–easier said than done.

He adds: he conducted an experiment a while ago at his gym wherein he was able to take in 1200 calories in a minute (by drinking 1.5 litres of chocolate milk). In comparison, even if a person could expend 1200 calories in an hour, that’s still a 60:1 ratio (taking 60 times as long to burn it off as it took to ingest it).

He still says that weight training is the best way to become fitter and stronger, especially doing it in a slow and controlled way. The benefits to working out with weights are still there in terms of strength gain and increased muscular mass and bone density, even if there’s no magical fat loss overnight.

Eat less. Exercise properly.

Consider doing double or triple sets (three unrelated muscles in a row, like bicep curl, burpie, tricep pushup) with no rest in between. This gets your heart rate up while building muscle.

You’d be surprised at how much cardio you can do inside, in a small space. I am the burpie and pop squat queen!

I should also add that when doing DS or TS, or any weights for that matter, you really need to pay attention to your form and don’t use the momentum. Controlled movements, aligned spine and slightly bent knees.

And the problem is that it is unrealistic for someone to dive into a program like that (heavy weight training). The aerobic course is much much more common and bound for success.

Weightlifting helps you lose weight because of:

[ol]
[li]Calories burned during exercise[/li][li]Calories burned rebuilding muscle[/li][li]Calories burned during the day by more muscle mass[/li][/ol]

By doing light reps, you only get the first benefit. Your body doesn’t build any additional muscle mass and you don’t have the additional muscle mass to burn more calories at rest.

However, you can lose weight by just doing light reps. The 300 calories you burn doing that is just like the 300 calories you would burn on the treadmill. The difficulty I feel will be in how you keep yourself motivated. You’ll have to do a lot of reps to burn enough calories to make a difference. Have you ever run 3 miles? That uses 300-400 calories. That’s about the amount of effort you’d have to duplicate. Plus, your smaller muscles just won’t burn a whole lot of calories no matter what you do. For example, your bicep is only so big and can only burn so many calories per minute. It can’t compare with running which involves so many more muscle groups.

If you want to do some light weight training to lose weight, I would instead suggest you do look into core exercises. These exercises strengthen your chest, back, abs, pelvis and legs and will improve your overall strength and balance. They need a minimum of equipment and can provide a good level of exertion. A 30-minute core workout can be very tiring. You can see an example here: Slide show: Exercises to improve your core strength - Mayo Clinic. I would suggest you get some sort of workout video when starting out. Your library may even have a few.

This is what i came here to post. I was told one pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day at rest, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle (500 calories a day, 3500 a week) then you’ll be burning a pound a week without doing absolutely anything.

NNNNnnnnnooooooo!!! I donwanna!!! Waaaaahhhh!!!

:: huff, huff ::

Now be a sweetie and pass me the cookies.

Ask your husband if it’s possible to travel back in time to before you over-ate. Or better yet, ask him if he’ll travel back in time to give me that advice.

I over-ate to recover from over-drinking. Ask your husband about the ease with which it is possible to simply avoid over-drinking.

I am willing to accept that it will take months to lose this weight. I will try to include cardio (for me - a 5/5 hour walk around hilly terrain) when the weather’s good. But I want to make use of the time when that isn’t practical (bad weather, no light, wrong time of day)

Your diet is what will make the biggest difference. It’s generally 80% diet, 10% fitness, 10% life/stress.

Pasta, bread, soda and alcohol are fat loss’ worst enemy.

Do you have a gym anywhere near you that you could get a membership? It would be a shame to have the motivation but not act on it because of something like the weather.

If the OP is serious about this for the long term, isn’t it feasible for him to ease into a program?

My husband is into weights and I’m into cardio. He told me that muscle mass burns calories just by being muscles. I think a combination of weight training and cardio is what you’re looking for.

The OP sought advice. I think there is latitude here to offer opinions. I don’t think the weight lifting option is bad – I think it is good – it is just that after years and years of experience, I wouldn’t be honest if I thought that was THE way to go.

Sure, it burns calories and certain intense programs will really net results, but in reality, most people aren’t up for all that and the better results come from moderation and lifestyle changes.

If one is serious about losing weight, one will opt for a mix of aerobics/cardio and resistance training.

Getting into great shape ain’t no joke. Heavy weight training is hard on the body and while, on paper, shows serious bang for the buck, in the real world you have to consider it’s practical application for the average Joe.