Weight loss is often the primary goal for most people when they begins to workout. I’ve already touched on why I think cardio alone sucks when you are trying to lose weight. Sure you may lose weight, but it probably won’t be the type of weight you want to lose. When moving into a phase losing weight is the goal, strength training should be a priority.
Some people get this principle but may not be applying it correctly. For some reason people think to lose weight, that you must up your volume in the weight room. They begin to lighten the load and up the reps. This is akin to spinning your wheels in mud.
When your goal is to lose weight, lifting heavier may actually be more effective.
“But I thought lifting heavy makes you bulky??” You hear it all the time. The fear of “bulking” up while lifting heavy. There is much more to that goes into gaining or losing weight, with most of it beginning in the kitchen.
Check out how lifting heavy may actually help you reach the physique you are trying to obtain.
Maintain muscle mass
We’ve all heard the saying “you use it you lose it”. Well it holds true with muscle as well.
The number one priority when trying to lose weight should be to preserve muscle. In fact losing muscle mass can hurt your fat loss cause, but more on that later.
A caloric deficit is necessary for weight/fat los but it can also cause your body to go into “survival mode”. To survive your body will begin to find things to get rid of to “survive”.
Getting stronger or just maintaining strength is the best way to prevent your body from losing muscle. By training heavy you create a need to keep the muscle mass for survival. Your body is trying to “survive” any future similar stresses.
By doing lower weight for higher reps, you reduce the need for the muscle mass to survive.
More muscle mass=greater fat loss
Again, the number one priority while trying to lose weight should be to preserve the muscle you already have. If you are losing muscle you are making it harder to reach your fat loss goals.
The greater amount of muscle mass you have the more calories you will burn. Muscle tissue is most calorically needy tissue of the body.
So moral of the story….more muscle mass means more fat loss.
Increased testosterone levels
Testosterone is a scary word for some people, with the majority of them being women. When people think testosterone they think of steroided-out bodybuilders with muscles bulging out of their eyeballs.
This couldn’t be further from the truth when it is your natural testosterone that is released. Testosterone helps in the recovery between workouts, helping build muscle mass. But testosterone also helps facility fat loss, helping you become leaner.
Heavy lifting and especially compound movements have been shown to boost natural testosterone secretion.
Decreased ability to recover
Like said before, when you are trying to lose weight a caloric deficit is necessary. While in a caloric deficit, your recovery can be slowed.
Yes, increased reps with lighter weight may create a greater caloric burn but it can also creates a greater recovery demand. If you are not giving your body the necessary nutrition needed to recover you will begin to see a decrease in performance….and maybe even a decrease in muscle mass.