Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic in recent years, causing millions to suffer consequences like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. The most recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1) reports that an estimated 39.8% of the American adult population is obese, affecting around 93.3 million adults in the country. 

Both diet and exercise are often advised to help you lose weight in cases where you might be affected by overweight or obesity. The right diet, however, will only give you the expected results when you implement an appropriate exercise program – remember that you need to burn through excess calories if you wish to lose weight effectively. You want to achieve a calorie deficit for this goal (2). 

There are different exercises that you can take advantage of if you wish to lose weight. While weight lifting is often associated with men who are looking to build large muscles, anyone can really benefit from these activities. We take a look at how weight lifting offers an excellent strategy for weight loss and what types of activities you should consider adding to your training routine for best results. 

Cardio Or Weight Lifting: Weight Loss Benefits Explained

When you are looking to add more physical activity to your daily routine, you will mostly find two main categories of exercises. These tend to include cardio exercises and weight lifting activities. Both of these offer their own unique set of pros and cons to help you achieve specific goals. 

One major issue that a lot of people tend to overlook when it comes to deciding which of the two is most beneficial for weight loss is the fact that they think cardio is the option for losing excess fat is weight lifting is for building big muscles. 

While the idea behind this thought does hold some truth, weight lifting has more to do with reducing obesity than you might think. 

Which Activities Burns The Most Calories During A Single Session?

Before we take a closer look at strength training for weight loss, let’s first consider which of the two activities (cardio or weight lifting) gives you the most calories burnt during a single session. 

The quick answer to this question would be cardio exercises. When you participate in a session of cardiovascular exercise, your heart rate will increase rapidly, and you'll immediately start burning calories. There are studies that have shown the benefits of aerobic exercises for weight loss. With the right diet in place and a few sessions of cardio every week, you can definitely expect a reduction in your body weight (3). 

When you participate in strength training, such as weight lifting, activities, you will find that the immediate effect on calories burnt is not as significant as what you get with a session of cardio exercises. 

Why Weight Lifting Is Still Good For Weight Loss

The fact that cardio exercise yields better results in terms of calories built when compared to weight lifting weight loss does not mean strength training should not play an important role in your workout routine too.

The fact that needs to be taken into close account here is that weight lifting actually comes with two particular benefits, both of which are useful when it comes to a person who is trying to reduce the excess weight that has accumulated in their bodies.

The two benefits that we want to put some emphasis on here include:

  • Weight lifting, along with other types of strength training protocols, is highly effective when it comes to increasing the amount of lean muscle mass that is present in your body (4). Lean muscle mass does not necessarily mean having huge biceps and a six-pack – both men and women need at least a healthy amount of lean muscle in their bodies, as this type of tissue help with several functions in your body. 
  • Strength training, which leads to enhanced muscle mass and strength, has also been associated with an increased resting metabolic rate (5). This is essentially the fact that it can make weight lifting weight loss superior to that offered by cardio activities. 

As you can notice in the two benefits that we mentioned, weight lifting will not only lead to some level of weight loss and burnt calories during the session itself but will actually help to increase your resting metabolic rate. This is where things get interesting when looking at weight lifting for weight loss. 

Resting metabolic rate refers to the speed at which your metabolism will work while you are not physically active. Participating in cardio exercises might help you burn more calories than weight lifting during a single session, but this type of activity will not help you experience a boost in your resting metabolic rate. 

Another thing that should be taken into account is the fact that there are several factors that can adversely affect your resting metabolic rate (6). 

Calorie restriction is an important element that has an adverse reaction to the resting metabolic rate of the body. When you reduce your intake of calories, your body reacts to this change in your diet by decreasing the resting metabolic rate (7). 

Since calorie restriction is common when implementing a weight loss program, as you need to achieve a calorie deficit to ensure you can reduce the excess weight you are carrying around in your body, adding only cardio workouts to the plan will cause your resting metabolic rate to work against your goals. 

This is where weight lifting becomes so important for weight loss. When you use weight lifting in addition to a calorie restriction in your diet, then you get to reduce the negative effects that the reduction in calories you consume might have on your resting metabolic rate. 

Developing An Effective Weight Lifting Program

If you are looking to implement weight lifting as part of your weight loss program, then you should know how to develop a strategy that will yield effective results. 

The first step that you need to take is to know what you are currently capable of and then develop a program that takes these factors into consideration. The reason why some planning is needed is that there are certain health conditions that may become an issue if you simply start to do heavy weight lifting. 

Specific diseases and health-related conditions that might cause interference with your ability to implement an exercise program include:

  • Arthritis conditions, including osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lung-related conditions, such as asthma.
  • Heart diseases and conditions that affect the blood circulatory system.
  • Diabetes, which can cause problems with blood circulation and nerves.
  • Kidney diseases.

If you are currently affected by any of these conditions, it might make your time in the gym harder. There is also a chance that certain strength training activities could actually have a negative impact on an existing disease, which can become a dangerous issue in some situations. 

The planning process should be an especially important part of implementing weight lifting into your life if you have been gaining weight and living a sedentary lifestyle for a significant period of time. 

During the planning process, you should aim to see a doctor. Ask the doctor to provide you with a full health examination and give you a view of your current well-being. This will ultimately help you better understand if there are any particular risks that you need to consider while starting with a strength training regime. 

Your doctor will also be able to provide you with more details on how certain physical activities, including weight lifting, could impact your health – and give you an overview of any particular exercises that you should try to avoid at the moment. 

The Potential Health Benefits Of Weight Lifting

We have taken a look at why weight lifting weight loss is such a good combination. We examined how weight lifting could surpass the benefits of cardio due to the increase in muscle mass, resulting in a faster resting metabolic rate. 

While these are some of the most important benefits that we considered here, it is important that you consider the fact that there are more health-related advantages that come with implementing weight lifting into your lifestyle. 

Thus, to give you additional motivation for implementing weight lifting and other types of strength training activities into your workout routine, let’s consider additional benefits that you can expect from these exercises. 

  • Healthier Bones

Bone health starts to decline in both men and women at a certain age. Among women, the low estrogen levels that come with menopause is the culprit behind the reduced bone density. A lot of men go through a similar process, called andropause that causes testosterone levels to become reduced, which may also have an adverse effect on bone health. 

This is another area, apart from muscle mass, weight loss, and resting metabolic rate, where strength training activities can also become useful. 

Weight lifting, along with other types of resistant training protocols, has been found to play a crucial role in allowing you to maintain healthy bones. 

Resistance training is actually beneficial for more than just maintaining bone-related health. Studies have found that the implementation of weight lifting programs and other strength training activities can actually be beneficial for countering the effects of certain diseases, including osteoporosis (8). 

The idea behind this fact is to produce an increase in mechanical loading to the bones compared to the load that is experienced during day-to-day activities. The short-term increase in the mechanical load yields beneficial effects that help to keep the bones not only healthy but also strong. These activities may also provide an increase in bone density (9). This reduces the risk of bone fractures, as well as joint and bone diseases. 

  • Helps To Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation has been found as an underlying disease for many conditions that affect the human body. The inflammation theory (10) is that almost all of the chronic diseases that the general population suffers from today are directly linked to the chronic development of inflammation. 

This is yet another area where resistance training, such as implementing weight lifting into the workout program, is helpful. Studies have found that resistance training has a positive effect on existing inflammatory responses in the human body (11). 

What this essentially means is that you may be able to experience a reduction in the inflammation that is present in your body. 

When you experience less inflammation, your risk of certain chronic diseases tends to become reduced. 

One of the most important associations that we should take into account here is the fact that chronic inflammation is thought to be the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease (12). With this in mind, when you participate in resistance training, you may find that your risk of developing heart-related diseases declines too, as the inflammation that is behind the condition is reduced. 

Diabetes is yet another condition that holds a strong connection to chronic inflammation. When there is too much chronic inflammation in your body, then experts in the medical industry believe you automatically experience a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (13). 

Apart from these conditions, another interesting relationship that inflammation has to the human body’s general health we want to note comes into play when talking about Alzheimer’s disease. This is yet another disease where experts have found the central mechanism, or underlying factors, to link directly to inflammation (14). 


Weight loss is an essential step for an obese person to take if they wish to become healthier and live a longer life. If you are affected by obesity or you are overweight, then exercise should certainly play a role in your weight loss strategy. While both aerobic activities and weight lifting can help, it is important to find the right balance for maximum effects. 

Weight lifting weight loss is usually more significant compared to aerobic exercises, as an increase in lean muscle mass helps to speed up your resting metabolism, resulting in better weight loss in the longer term. 

Weight loss is an essential step for an obese person to take if they wish to become healthier and live a longer life. If you are affected by obesity or you are overweight, then exercise should certainly play a role in your weight loss strategy. 


(1) https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025815

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3630467/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836564/

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11283427

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4535334/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18198305

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492709/

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933442/

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5488800/

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23494755

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214864/

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