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Lifting weights to lower weight

By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Gym, Health | on September 15, 2017

“I don’t want to get too big”, if you’ve lifted weights, you’ve almost certainly said or thought this during a session. It’s a concern that spans gender and age. If those concerns were voiced in a session at Dynamic Fitness Training, you may have been reliably informed to not worry, as your trainer has been trying to ‘get big’ for years so if it was that easy, he’d be ‘hench’.

Resistance training, in fact, is less about getting big or developing significant musculature. Rather, like cardiovascular training, it has many benefits in improving key health markers and quality of life. Studies have shown that resistance training has led to a long-term reduction in blood pressure. A 3.9mmHg systolic and 3.6mmHg diastolic drop was found. A drop of this magnitude would lead to a 4% decrease in mortality and an 8-14% reduction in having a stroke.

What’s more, resistance training has been shown to improve strength, balance and movement capabilities as well as proving important in fights against osteoporosis.

Weight loss

We know, however, that most people are concerned with reducing their weight. So I’ve got some good news and some bad news. There will be fitness models out there who denounce the use of ‘cardio’ in their workouts. They’ll be in great shape and it makes everyone else believe that lifting weights and only lifting weights will get you into that shape. That is, of course, until these self-same models have an impending show, and to drop excess weight, guess what they do? Yes, cardio! My point being, that lifting weights and resistance training will not solely get you into the shape of your life. But it will heavily contribute.

The first benefit resistance training will have is that you’ll be burning more calories post-workout. An added average of 150-300Kcals per day has been found previously. On its own, this is useful rather than spectacular, however as a major supermarket chain reiterates – Every little helps! An additional point to note, is that it has been found that following a cardio workout, people will invariably eat more and move less for the rest of the day whilst those who have performed resistance training don’t gain such an appetite and will also feel less drained and as such continue to move throughout the day. The greater take-home point for those doing cardio is to not rest on your laurels once it’s done – keep moving.

Body composition

So, if performing resistance training leads to greater calorie burn post-workout, why did I say it was good and bad for weight reduction? Primarily, it’s because muscle weighs more than fat. Once you perform resistance training, you will develop stronger and slightly bigger muscles. This won’t make you look big, and in fact, it will provide greater shape, confidence and significant health benefits. Nonetheless, it may result in a small equilibrium on the scales ie, your weight doesn’t drop at the speed you’d like.

This will only be a bad thing if you are about to perform a sporting event in which you need to make a certain weight. Given I don’t have any boxers or jockeys on this subscriber list, I don’t think we need to worry about this one. Instead, rejoice in the fact that a greater amount of fat-free mass ie, lean tissue, will result in higher metabolism and increase calorie burn. There have also been studies which have discovered that upon calorie-restricted diets, those who undertook resistance training versus cardio training maintained a higher metabolism thus resulting in a more effective long-term strategy to weight loss.

Keeping it simple

However, as you can imagine, I advocate a quite rounded approach to fitness. Buying Herbalife or running every day until your knees give way is not going to cut it. Instead, keep things simple:

  1. Calorie controlled consumption levels
  2. Cardiovascular training (2-3 per week high intensity training and/or longer steady state cardio)
  3. Resistance training (2 times per week – targeting the whole body)

Take one of these three away and your results suffer. Take two of these away and long-term there will be no results. Resistance training is important, so put up the resistance to it no more.


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