Weight Training & Weight Loss

weight training for weight lossWeight training is an important adjunct to diet and cardio to facilitate weight loss. For every additional pound of muscle you gain, your body burns around 50 extra calories every day of the week. Of course this works the other way. When you lose muscle, you also burn less calories. Research has shown that regular resistance training can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate by up to 15%. So for someone burning 2000 calories per day, that’s a possible 300 extra calories burned every day. That’s 2100 extra calories very week burnt without you doing anything! Remember that to lose a pound of fat you need to burn 3500 calories per week. This means that 2100 extra calories burned is significant.

Below is an extract from a recent study on diet and exercise:

“Diet intervention studies suggest spontaneous losses in body weight following low-fat diets, and current data on a reduction of the carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of the diet show promising outcomes. Exercise training is associated with an increase in energy expenditure, thus promoting changes in body composition and body weight while keeping dietary intake constant. The advantages of strength training may have greater implications than initially proposed with respect to decreasing percentage body fat and sustaining FFM (fat-free mass, also known as lean tissue). Research to date suggests that the addition of exercise programs to dietary restriction can promote more favorable changes in body composition than diet or physical activity on its own”

Sports Medicine. 36(3):239-262, 2006.Stiegler, Petra; Cunliffe, Adam – The Role of Diet and Exercise for the Maintenance of Fat-Free Mass and Resting Metabolic Rate During Weight Loss.


1. If you stop weight training your muscles turn into fat. 

This is like saying that wine can turn into water. Muscle and body fat are two entirely different types of tissue. Where this misunderstanding may stem from is that often when people stop eating well, exercising and weight training, they start to lose muscle due to inactivity (use it or lose it. Their bad eating habits coupled with the fact that their metabolism has slowed down due to inactivity, means that they have gained fat. The fact that they have gained fat and lost muscle mass, gives the impression that their muscle is being turned into fat. In truth, what has happened is that muscle had been lost and fat gained.

2. Weight training turns fat into muscle. 

This is kind of the opposite of above. This time we are turning water into wine and while this is appealing this also is not true. Although the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest, you need to lose fat by cardiovascular exercise and nutrition.



  • Gives you body shape. You cannot lose fat in specific areas of your body, but you can add muscle in specific places, creating a shape where you want/ need to.
  • Aids weight loss in conjunction with cardio.
  • Can give you fantastic posture, making you look elegant and graceful.
  • Tones and smooths you body – your cloths hang better.
  • You look better on the beach!
  • Increases strength – reducing risk of injury.
  • Improves bone density.
  • Better health: Improves insulin resistance, blood pressure, gastrointestinal transit time, decreases risk of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer and helps speed up metabolism.
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