Losing Weight with Strength Training: Here's Everything You Need to Know...

Before you skip the weight room again read Everything You Need to Know About Losing Weight with Strength Training

Beth's 1 Week Meal Plan

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

meal plan thumbnail

Losing weight is not easy is it?

Diets. Workouts. Arggghh nothing lost this week *sad face.

But, if you’re skipping the weight room in favour of more cardio sessions, you could be short changing yourself and making your weight loss journey harder than it needs to be.

I know it sounds a bit wrong, lift weights to lose weight, we’ve been conditioned to think long cardio workouts are the way to go, but please, before you write off strength training, have a read of this…

Here is everything you need to know about losing weight with strength training

Losing Weight with Strength Training: You Will Not Get Bulky

But before we get onto the juicy bit, how to lose weight with strength training, I want to dispel, or at least try and dispel a myth that just doesn’t want to go away.

Resistance training will not make you look bulky.

Weight training will not make you look like a man.

Weight lifting, even with heavy weights, will not make you look like a body builder.

Strength training will help you to lose weight. It will help your body look defined or ‘toned’. It will help you look athletic.

Still don’t believe me?

Listen, no-one ever became a body builder by accident. It takes months, if not years of dedicated work.

You have to make the decision to become a body builder and every aspect of your life has to be aligned towards those goals.

Your workouts, daily workouts, have to be structured and periodised towards building muscle and then fat loss.

Your diet has to be well planned and your calorie intake has to be monitored and tracked very closely. You’d need to be in a calorie surplus while you’re in the muscle building phase, and a calorie deficit while you’re in the fat loss phase.

Any alcohol, chocolate or other deviation from these will mess with your ultimate goal.

It really is tough. You won’t look like a body builder unless you want to look like a bodybuilder.

And if you’re still not convinced, men have about 20% more testosterone than we do, and testosterone is vital for building muscle.

Please stop worrying about looking manly.

It’s not going to happen with a couple strength workouts a few.

Losing Weight with Strength Training: How Does It Happen?

How can strength training help you lose weight? There are a few ways...

Ok, so how exactly does strength training help with weight loss?

Well, there are a few ways…

1. It helps build lean muscle mass.

The whole idea of strength training is that you build muscle. No, you’re not going to build the amount of muscle men can, or will, but you will still build muscle.

But muscle is nothing to be afraid of.

In fact it’s more muscle you want because muscle is firm. Fat isn’t. Fat is wobbly and dimply. It’s the stuff you want rid of.

But more than it’s appearance, muscle burns more calories than fat does. In fact fat tissue burns two thirds fewer calories than muscle tissue does.

One pound of muscle burns about 6 calories when it’s resting compared to a pound of fat which burns 2 calories. And that’s at rest. I mean when you’re doing nothing. Sitting in front of the telly watching the latest NetFlix binge.

You’ll be burning two thirds more calories.

The fancy way of saying that is ‘your basal metabolic rate with increase’. Just in case you come across that phrase elsewhere and have no idea what it means.

So, yes more muscle is what we want.

Not just for the appearance of it, but for it’s calorie burning properties.

2. Strength Training is Anaerobic

We’ve been trained to believe that aerobic activity is where it’s at when it comes to burning body fat.

And to some extent, that is true.

Fat burns best in the presence of oxygen. Aerobic exercise.

The problem is, aerobic exercise takes so long. And most of us, especially us busy mamas, don’t have that kind of time.

But, the evidence these days is not so much about oxygen versus without oxygen, it’s about the long term effects of the different types of exercise.

And study, after study, after study shows that anaerobic exercise is the most effective way, in the longer term, of losing fat.

That’s because it takes longer for your body to return to ‘normal’.

And whilst it’s trying to return to normal, it’s still burning calories.

In fact studies have shown that, after an anaerobic workout session, your body can carry on burning calories for about 24 hours after your workout has finished. It’s known as the afterburn effect.

Don’t get me wrong, aerobic workouts, and by that I mean your typical cardio session, are still important, and if they’re what you enjoy doing they should definitely be your priority, but for burning that body fat, anaerobic is the way to go.

3. Big Lifts Use Lots of Muscle Groups.

Most of the exercises you do with typical strength training routines are, what they call, compound exercises.

This means they use more than one group of muscles.

And the more muscles you use, the more muscles will be growing and the more calories you’ll be burning. Meaning more weight lost.

But compound lifts aren’t just a great way to lose more weight. They’re the best exercises generally because they mirror real life so much.

A deadlift, think picking up heavy bags of shopping off the floor.

A squat, squatting down to talk your kids or picking up something from the floor.

A lunge, walking up the stairs.

They all use multiple groups of muscles, just like you would in real life.

4. Strength Training Makes You Stronger

The whole purpose of strength training is to increase muscular strength. Make you stronger and being stronger is awesome.

There’s a whole satisfaction in being strong and capable.

I’m the one my husband turns to when his 279 kilo motorbike falls over and he needs help lifting it up. Not his male friends. Me.

And that’s the point, the stronger you are, the more you can do. Not just heavy stuff, but everyday stuff. Running around after your kids won’t tire you out as much.

You’ll be able to join them for their games.

And the more you do, the higher the calorie burn.

Strength training is awesome.

Losing Weight with Strength Training: Healthy Diet.

Strength training on it's own won't help you lose weight. It has to be paired with a healthy diet.

I know this is the bit you weren’t looking forward to, but I’m going to have to say it….strength training on it’s own won’t make you lose weight.

There is no exercise on the planet that will create weight loss on it’s own.

They all have to be paired with a healthy diet.

Before you freak out, notice I said healthy diet? Healthy diets don’t have to be restrictive or boring. You have to make sure you’re eating a range of healthy fats and carbohydrates and enough protein. But you don’t have to succumb to chicken and broccoli for the rest of your life.

It really doesn’t.

Make sure you’re eating a range of fruit and vegetables. Prioritise wholewheat and wholegrain carbs over sugar and pastries. Eat plenty of lean protein.

But, and this is the important thing, don’t completely stop eating anything.

Whether that’s carbs, it’s just not good for you, or your favourite chocolate treat. Have everything in moderation.

Yes, even a glass of wine or a slice of chocolate cake.

Everything in moderation.

As well as being a personal trainer, I am also a certified nutrition coach, so if you would like help creating the perfect diet for you, or you just want a bit of advice then do get in touch. I always love it when people say hello.

Losing Weight with Strength Training: Weight Loss Goals

Make a weight loss plan that includes strength training

Ok, so you’re onboard with strength training, how do you put it into a plan that will help you achieve your weight loss goals?

Well, like everything in life, it’s all about balance.

Strength training workouts should be a part of your workout routine, but not the only thing in it. Especially if you enjoy doing something specific, like running, or dancing, or boxing. To name a few examples.

If strength training is what you love, like me, then by all means make it the focus. But don’t forget you will need a bit of cardio thrown in.

High-intensity interval training works really well with strength workouts. They’re both amazing for fat loss.

Depending on how long you have to workout each week, and how your time can be structure will determine how and when you do your workouts. Obviously.

If you can manage three, hour long training sessions a week, then do the strength session first with a HIIT workout to finish.

If you can’t manage an hour, but you can workout every day, then strength on one day, HIIT the next then rest.

Scheduling your rest days are just as important as scheduling your workouts.

Have a least one complete day of rest every week. And as much active recovery as you can throw in.

Active recovery can be a gentle walk, some stretching and mobility work, or a bit of yoga.

Remember, it’s all about balance.

Losing Weight with Strength Training: Go For It

I hope I’ve put your mind at rest when it comes to strength training. It’s not going to make you look manly. And I hope you see how powerful it can be in getting you to your weight loss goals.

Lean body mass will not only increase the number of calories you burn, it will make you look fitter, more toned.

But above all of that it’s bloody good fun. And an amazing feeling knowing you’re probably stronger than any of the guys who are in the same room as you.

If you want help putting together a strength training program then please do get in touch, I’d be happy to help. I can make sure your

But if you just want some free workouts delivered straight into your inbox, then sign up for my newsletter.

Get Your Ultimate Free Eight Week HIIT Workout Plan

Get fitter, stronger and leaner in just eight weeks with my printable HIIT workout Plan. Just 30 minutes a day is all you need. 

Want to know more before you sign up?

Check out Printable HIIT Workout Plan to learn all about the plan, what's involved and why you should get it. 

You might like these