Weight loss: Weight training can help ‘shift stubborn fat’ – expert advice

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Weight loss is often associated with cardio exercises like running, cycling and swimming. While they are a huge part of the process, one expert has shared how benefits from weight training can help to target stubborn fat. 

Steven Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, explained: “Put simply, anyone can benefit from weight training because not only does it help to build strength, but it also curbs the impact that ageing can have on our bodies

“As we age, we begin to suffer from a loss of bone density and muscle mass. Due to the compression, tensive and torque forces your body is exposed to when performing compound training, weight training improves both your muscle mass and bone density, making it a fantastic form of exercise to resist ageing.”

As well as this, weight training can help a slimmer to lose weight.

The expert added: “Typically, workouts such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cardio are those that people take up to burn fat, with weight training often being overlooked or even associated with bulking up.

“However, weight lifting is actually a great form of exercise to help you shift stubborn fat, as with any form of intensive activity, it draws upon the fat cells stored in your body to produce energy.

“There are three specific ways that weight training helps with fat loss.

“You burn calories during your weight session…you burn calories to aid the process of muscle building and repair…and new muscle gained costs lots of energy to maintain, meaning you are burning more calories throughout the day.

“However it’s important to note that burning fat is fundamentally dependent on a calorie deficit – when you consume less than you expend.

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“Establishing a healthy calorie deficit is best left to the experts, so work with a personal trainer who can work out your energy requirements and ensure you are eating the right amount of nutrients for your needs.”

Steven also shared some top tips on how you can safely lift weights at home.

With gyms closed up and down the country, many have turned to exercising at home after purchasing equipment.

The expert explained: “If you haven’t lifted weights before, then it can be difficult to know where to start meaning the potential risk of injury can be quite intimidating.

A well-designed weight training programme should incorporate a variety of movement patterns to create structural balance and help keep you injury free.”

Steven’s beginner’s checklist for weight training:

1. Start by mastering the basics in the main compound movements, squats, deadlifts, bench press and rows

2. Do two to three weight sessions per week, focussing on three sets of 12-15 reps

3. Start light, choose a weight you can stick to for the whole three sets and look to increase the weight weekly as you start to feel more comfortable, stronger and competent

4. Perform your movements slowly to get used to the movement pattern. Spending ample time performing your repetitions this way improves your mobility and technique in the long run, thus enabling you to do more complex exercises later

5. Monitor your recovery, sleep and nutrition. Take rest days when needed and eat the right amount to support your weight training programme

According to the expert, a common myth associated with weight training is that it cannot help you to lose weight and that it is associated with bulking.

Steven said: “A particularly common misconception of weight training is that it will cause you to bulk up which is, understandably, not desirable for all.

“While lifting weights is certainly an effective way to train your muscles and make them stronger and more defined, the reality is that you need to produce or consume high levels of testosterone and be in a calorie surplus to bulk up significantly. 

“If you are looking to build and follow a weight training plan, then you are likely to end up with a toned and strong body. Boulder shoulders? Not so much.”

Resistance training is also another great form of exercise and it can help reduce the accumulation of belly fat. 

A study published in 2013 by the International Journal of Cardiology showed that high-intensity resistance training includes faster belly fat loss than cardio activity alone.

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