3. Heavy Compound Weightlifting
If research clearly shows that weightlifting is an effective way to accelerate fat loss, why is it generally associated with “bulking up” and not “slimming down”?
Well, weightlifting isn’t a popular way to lose weight, and for good reason:
It’s a bad way to lose weight…but a fantastic way to speed up fat loss and preserve muscle.
A study conducted by scientists at Duke University illustrates my point perfectly.
Researchers recruited 196 men and women ranging from 18 to 70 years old and split them into three groups:
1. Resistance training
These volunteers exercised three days per week and did 24 sets per workout using resistance machines. Each workout lasted about an hour.
2. Aerobic training
These volunteers jogged 3 days per week at a moderate intensity for about 45 minutes per session.
3. Resistance and aerobic training
These volunteers did both of the routines above, putting their total weekly exercise time just over 5 hours.
After eight months, guess which group lost the most weight?
Number two–the aerobic training group…the only group that lost muscle as well.
And guess who lost the most fat and gained muscle?
That’s right–group number three.
If you want to lose fat faster and preserve or even build muscle, you want to do both weightlifting and cardio.
What kind of weightlifting should you be doing, you wonder?
Well, the best type of weightlifting for weight loss would do two things:
- Effectively preserve or build muscle.
- Burn a lot of energy.
And the type of weightlifting program that best meets both targets is one that emphasizes heavy, compound weightlifting.
By “heavy,” I mean handling weights that are 70%+ of your one-rep max (and ideally closer to 80 to 85%).
This isn’t only best for building muscle–it’s great for burning fat, too.
A study published by Greek sports scientists found that men that trained with heavy weights (80 to 85% of their one-rep max) increased their metabolic rates over the following three days, burning hundreds more calories than the men that trained with lighter weights (45 to 65% of their 1RM).
Similar effects have been seen in other studies as well.
And by “compound weightlifting,” I mean focusing on the big movements like the squat, deadlift, and bench and overhead press.
We don’t really need science to tell us that squatting burns more energy than biceps curling, but research has confirmed that exercises that involve large muscle groups burn more energy–both during and after training–than exercises that involve smaller ones.
So hit the weights and hit them hard if you want to “supercharge your metabolism” and maybe even build muscle and lose fat at the same time.