As I was writing up the workout of the day, I was asked, “How is this workout going to help us lose weight?” Great question, but there’s more.. my friend continued by stating, “I’ve read that your body doesn’t actually start burning fat until after 30 – 35 minutes of exercise”..
With the internet being a “positive and a negative” in terms of “INFORMATION”, you can’t always believe everything you read…
It’s true however that your body relies more on carbohydrate and less on fat during the early stages of exercise (which is why you should always incorporate a good warm-up). It’s also true that your body uses more fat and less carbohydrate the longer you spend exercising.
But this ignores what happens to your metabolism in the hours after a workout, when the number of fat calories burned rises significantly.
To lose fat, you need to create a calorie deficit — to consistently burn more calories than you consume. And it doesn’t make a great deal of difference whether those calories are burned in one long workout or several shorter ones.
Research has shown that high-intensity interval training can elevate metabolism for up to 38+ hours post-workout.
In a study by the European Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers determined that a 31-minute circuit training protocol of three compound, multi-joint movements significantly elevated metabolism for 38 hours post-workout– at which point they decided to stop tracking.
First and foremost, I love having member’s that ask me for advice as well as ask questions.. As for this question, I’d have to say it’s something everyone should know the answer too.
Years ago, I too asked a similar question to my college wrestling coach in my own way. During my freshman year, I came to practice, stepped on the scale and knew I was overweight (I was always overweight 🙁
Which I was right… about 11 lbs over with two days to go before my match.
I proceeded to get ready for practice by putting on a few layers of clothes. I’m referring to: t shirt, shorts, sweat pants and a hoodie.
As I entered the practice room and started warming up thinking to myself all the clothes I was wearing were going to promote weight loss, I was approached by Coach Hellickson (the head coach).. He asked me how I was doing and I explained to him my “situation.” Following that, he politely educated me on priorities and losing weight. He said to me, “You don’t come to wrestling practice to lose weight son, you come here to improve your skill(s), you lose weight outside of practice!”
He continued by telling me a little more regarding nutrition and water intake 48 hours prior to a match.
After that 10 minute conversation, I gained some valuable information.. Information I never knew carried over when it pertained to strength training.
With that said, the answer to the question, hence the headline, TRAIN TO LOSE or TRAIN TO GAIN… is pretty simple, you should train to GAIN STRENGTH by lifting moderate to heavy weights in the process you will burn CALORIES. If you’re eating right, you will also lose body fat. If you’re not eating right, there is a chance you could lose muscle. … AND WHO WANTS THAT ?
I use and teach a variety of different formats when it comes to training. A few examples would be: Intervals, Complexes (circuits using the same piece of equipment with no rest between exercises) and Density Training (performing max rounds for time for a certain exercise or sequence of exercises).
Research has proven that using high-intensity interval training alone in an alternating set or circuit format can burn over 500 calories in 20 minutes.
In a recent study by the University of Southern Maine, researchers discovered a more accurate method of estimating calorie burn from weight training than had been used previously. They discovered that a weight training circuit burned 71% more calories than previously thought. In fact, an eight minute circuit burned somewhere between 159 and 233 calories which breaks down to about 20-28 calories per minute!
So in short, working out promotes CALORIE BURNING. Losing weight is done after your workout with a variety of good nutritional habits and consistency outside of the gym by eating clean foods, getting enough rest, etc. All of this takes place during the other 23 hours of the day / night…. I can only imagine Coach Hellickson saying, “losing weight is not something you should focus on in the gym. You should train to get better at the exercises you’re practicing and nothing more!”
Instead that was my answer..
GOLDEN RULE TO LIVE BY….. Whether or not you’re training to lose weight or improve your strength…
YOU TRAIN TO GET STRONGER and EAT TO GET BIGGER (or SMALLER by reducing body fat 🙂
I hope this helps you focus more on the TASK at hand…. KEEP TRAINING HARD AND……. DON’T BE AFRAID TO LIFT HEAVIER WEIGHTS ! WHEN DONE PROPERLY, ALL IT’S GOING TO DO IS MAKE YOU STRONGER AND HELP BURN MORE CALORIES !!
1. Jakicic, J.M., Wing, R.R., Butler, B.A., & Robertson, R.J. (1995). Prescribing exercise in multiple short bouts versus one continuous bout: effects on adherence, cardiorespiratory fitness, and weight loss in overweight women. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 19, 893-901
2. Kanaley, J.A., Weltman, J.Y., Veldhuis, J.D., Rogol, A.D., Hartman, M.L., & Weltman, A. (1997). Human growth hormone response to repeated bouts of aerobic exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 83, 1756-1761
3. Schmidt, W.D., Biwer, C.J., & Kalscheuer, L.K. (2001). Effects of long versus short bout exercise on fitness and weight loss in overweight females. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 20, 494-501
4. BJ Gaddour Creator of WorkoutMuse