Weight training is important to lose 20 pounds.
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Building lean muscle tissue requires you to take in excess calories, according to Jeffrey Novick, MS, RD writing for the National Health Association. But to lose weight you need to reduce caloric intake. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds then weight training will help you by burning calories and preserving lean muscle. But don't just do weights -- incorporate cardio and a healthy diet.
Calories Burned in Weight Training
Every time you move, even getting out of bed, you are burning calories. To create weight loss you need to burn more calories through daily activity, metabolism and purposeful exercise than you consume on a regular basis. During an hour of resistance training a 160-lb. person can burn about 365 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. Plus there is also the after-burn of a weight training session. After lifting, your metabolism stays elevated for a few hours, increasing your calorie burning and aiding weight loss.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends resistance training be performed two or three times each week with at least 48 hours between sessions so that your muscles can recover. Choose eight to 10 exercises that focus on the major muscle groups in your body: back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, hips/glutes, thighs and calves. Do two to four sets of eight to 12 reps with a challenging resistance, but not so heavy that you use improper technique.
Increasing Calorie Burn
You can do traditional weight training to help you lose 20 pounds. Or you can employ other methods to increase how many calories you burn during a workout -- and still preserve muscle. Try circuit training at a moderate to vigorous intensity and burn up to 200 more calories in one hour, according to ACE. Lift heavier weights and increase calories burned during and after the session. The after-burn of a high intensity resistance training session is greater than traditional weight training. A circuit training session would still be a total of eight to 10 exercises, but instead of performing each exercise for two to four sets with a rest between sets you move quickly from one exercise to the next with no rest. Then repeat the circuit two to four times. Keep your resistance challenging so that you can lift the weight for eight to 12 reps.
Tips and Considerations
Change the exercises you perform every four to six weeks to avoid boredom and weight loss plateau. Increase the resistance that you use as soon as you can perform 12 or more repetitions. You need to challenge your body in order to lose weight. Also, don't neglect cardio. An intense cardiovascular workout can burn a lot of calories during a session, contributing to your 20-lb. weight loss goal. And avoid overeating so you don't derail your weight loss.