Resistance Training for Optimal Fat Loss

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Resistance training gets a bad rap in most media circles.

There is a perception that anyone that lifts a weight is instantly going to turn into that monster in the corner of the gym that spends 4 hours doing his lift.

This fear of getting huge, or injured, or bulky, or whatever is really setting us back in the fitness industry.

Weights are nothing to be afraid of.

I am sure that you are lifting things that are heavier than the pink and purple dumbbells in the “ladies” section of the gym during daily activities. Hell, a gallon of milk has to be approaching 10 pounds itself.

I use that term jokingly because I know plenty of woman that are stronger than guys and they do not look like body builders.

To the general public, though it seems that cardio is the way to go for the fat loss efforts.

When I used to lift at a commercial gym, I would start and finish my lift and the same people would be on the treadmills the entire time.

Were these people lean with the bodies that most desire?

Absolutely not, put them on the street and I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that they even train.

This can happen for a number of reasons.

The first one lies in the fact that as we get older we start to gain weight. Nutrition and exercise are great combatants to this idea but the training has to be smart.

Two reasons we gain weight due to age is lack or activity and loss of muscle mass.

For those that continue to move and exercise it is the lack of muscle mass that becomes the culprit. Those with more muscle burn more calories with or without training.

Prolonged slow distance cardio also saps muscle. When we do an hour of running we have not stressed the tissues in a way that promotes muscle gain.

Typically long, slow cardio causes a catabolic, or breakdown, effect in the body tissues. The more cardio we do, the less muscle mass we can maintain.

The same idea is true when we talk about a lack of calories. Eating too little starts to break down muscle and save/store fat.

This is half the reason why nutrition is so important when it comes to making body transformations.

The second reason why cardio is not the best strategy for weight loss is due to efficiency. The more miles we run, the better the body gets at providing fuel for the run.

This is disastrous for fat loss efforts. The body needs to be inefficient to burn the most amount of calories possible.

Without increasing weekly mileage significantly, the body will stop yielding fat loss benefits eventually.

Enter resistance training

Resistance training is an insanely valuable tool. You can train for any number of goals through use of weights.


You can accomplish this by manipulating sets, reps, intensity, and rest.

Training is usually individual but in a perfect world the session would go as follows:

Warm Up

Starter- this is a 5 minute time period just to get the heart rate high which will allow more calories to be burned throughout

Strength- use this time to perform the big lifts used to get stronger

Metabolic Work- this is circuit time.

Metabolic circuits can be done with any number of exercises and types of equipment.

The magic here is using resistance training in the form of a circuit will still train the proper energy systems, burn a ton of calories during and after exercise, and preserve muscle mass.

Preserving muscle mass is the key to staying lean. You will burn more calories with more muscle; it is a very simple premise.

An example of a fat loss finisher involves a kettlebell.

Single Arm(SA) Press x8 each arm (e)

SA Overhead Carry x30 yards each

SA Row x8e

SA Overhead Carry x30 yards each

SA Squat x8e

SA Overhead Carry x30 yards each

SA Swing x8e

SA Overhead Carry x30 yards each

With this we are training the full body and getting the heart rate up for prolonged exercise. This is the type of training that is going to accelerate fat loss efforts.

To address the fact that people have seen great results from cardio. Cardio works, no doubt about it.

For those that have not worked out in a long time it can be a good strategy.

A more long term plan involves the one I outlined above because it has more longevity tied into it.

The sooner you can start building muscle makes is beneficial. Building muscle is hard but maintaining it is much more reasonable.

Delaying the process will make it much more difficult to gain strength over time.

Start substituting resistance training for cardio, eat enough, and then reap the benefits of the body that you have been working for.