Lifting Weights to Lose Weight

By Martin Brown

Lifting Weights to Lose WeightAs a personal trainer and a guy who has written about health and fitness for over twenty years, I would say that the question I have been asked more than any other is: “How can I lose my extra weight?

Now “extra weight,” can mean anything from 5 pounds to over 100, and certainly the woman who wants to lose five, ten, or fifteen pounds has an easier task than the woman looking to lose thirty or more pounds.

But regardless of the amount of weight you want to lose, the issues are the same: diet, stress, age, activity level and more, all play a part in determining your total weight.

There is one simple equation that stays unchanged, from one individual to another.  You probably know what that equation is:

When you consume more calories than you burn during any given day the result is net gain in weight.

Now, reverse that rule, and the result is a weight loss.

The equation is simple. The how to get to the loss, that’s the hard part.

It’s always disheartening to know that 95 percent of pounds lost on one of a thousand different diet plans is gained back within twenty-four months. That’s why I have always believed that resolutions (think New Year’s Day of any given year) don’t make you reach your weight goal.

Only the establishment of new habits can cause you to lose excess weight and to keep it off.   One habit to develop, if your serious about losing weight and keeping it off, is to start lifting weights at least three to four times a week.

You can do it in a gym, or at home. You can do it many different ways, but if you want to lose weight, lifting weights can help you greatly to reach that goal.   As we age, starting around age twenty-five, we lose about 4 percent of our total muscle mass every decade up to the age of fifty.

After fifty, and or after menopause, that rate increases dramatically to an average of ten percent every decade for the balance of our lives.   This is critically important because your body burns approximately 50 calories more per day for every additional pound of muscle mass.

So if you are, for example, age 35, weigh 130 pounds, are 5’7” and you do light activity during the day, your caloric burn rate is about 1,750 calories per day. Now, if you begin lifting weights and replace and/or add five pounds of lean muscle mass, you would lose 250 calories per day even while maintaining the same diet of 1,750 calories.

In a 30-day month you would achieve a caloric deficit of 7,500 calories. That means if you kept the exact diet you have today, you would drop a little more than 2 pounds per month, shedding over 25 pounds in the period of one year.

If you want to do your own burn rate calculation go to this calorie count meter at

Remember, of course, that all numbers are estimates, but one fact is inescapable, increased muscle mass is a direct route to weight loss. There are about 500 books on working out with weights. Go online, or to a bookstore, or library and browse through several of them and see which ones you like.

Lifting weights does not mean you’re preparing to compete in the Miss Universe bodybuilding competition. It means that you want to reverse many of the signs of aging and you want to be able to have a slice of pizza and a hamburger now and then without feeling that it’s going straight to your hips.

Lift to live. It’s one very healthy way to get weight off and keep it off.


Martin Brown is the Health Channel Editor for

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