Heavy Weightlifting for Weight Loss?

Published on 23 October 2023 at 15:38

I lift heavy, and I want to convince you to lift heavy, too. 

When I say I lift heavy, I don't mean I lift more than what is manageable or that I stay in the gym for hours on end. I keep my workouts short, squeezing a 15-minute lift into my lunch break. And, I don't have a trainer. I take advantage of the many free workouts offered by fitness influencers on YouTube. 

Lifting heavy means lifting at the edge of your ability. You should be able to comfortably lift the weight for 8 reps and feel muscle fatigue at 15; at the end of a set, you should need a break. However, the goal for each set should be somewhere in the middle, say 10-12 reps. And, don't rush. High Intensity Sports Training (HIT,) not to be confused with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), teaches that as weight increases, speed should decrease, and safety measures, such as spotting, should be used throughout. A slow lift actually makes the most of your muscles, bringing them to fatigue in a supported position, with less weight achieving burn out more quickly. Bottom line: You can lift slow and heavy at the same time.

Women have been taught that heavy lifting packs on bulky muscle in addition to, and not replacing, stubborn areas of fat. There are many reasons women shouldn't worry about this, namely, that they have a lower testosterone level than men. Additionally, creating a highly muscled physique requires a highly controlled diet and extreme lifting regimen. A general rule of thumb is that muscle build doesn't outpace fat burn. You'll put on muscle, but it won't be as noticeable as feared unless other controls are put in place.

So, what are the benefits of lifting heavy as opposed to lighter weights with more repetition? Lifting heavy could be considered both anabolic and catabolic, an activity that adds muscle, but stresses the cardiovascular system at the same time. Mixing cardio and resistance training results in complete workouts (why "HIIT" workouts are so challenging and effective). Also, by adding muscle to your body, you burn calories at a higher rate, just resting. Lifting weights is also empowering psychologically. You'll feel your body getting stronger, and that's inspiring. 

I've gone up from 10 to 15 to 20-pound dumbbells in my workout, and I'm surprising myself. My mind can't believe it, but my body is daring me to 25 pounds. Why stop now?


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