by Big Al Fortney, NPC Nationals Superheavyweight Competitor
Lifting weights won't help you lose weight. Lifting weights is an essential part of a weight-loss program. Developing muscle is the only way to boost your metabolism, which will help you lose fat and keep it off. When you lose weight by dieting alone or by combining a diet plan with cardiovascular exercise, you tend to lose some muscle along with the fat. With less muscle, your metabolism slows down, making it easy for you to gain back the weight. However, when you add weight training to the mix, you preserve muscle mass as you shed fat.
If you weight train two to three times a week, you're likely to gain about 1 pound of muscle per month for about six months, after which the rate of increase slows down. Adding muscle is well worth the effort... For every 3 pounds of muscle you build, research shows, you increase your resting metabolic rate by roughly 7 percent. So if your body burns 1,200 calories per day (not counting exercise or any other movement) you'd burn an extra 84 calories a day.
So if your goal is to lose weight and keep it off you have to include a weightlifting plan. There are many more reasons to add weight training to your weight loss plan. One major reason all females should weight train is because we know that weight bearing exercise slows or prevents osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) this is a very serious issue for the aging female. So girls there is a reason to weight train and guys you should have your girlfriend, wife or mother in the gym with you.
You also lose a fifth of a pound of muscle a year, from ages 25 to 50 and they say it's worse after fifty so you need to weight train to add muscle or at least try to prevent this from occurring. This is the major reason it's harder to lose weight as you age--you have less muscle.
Always remember, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. So a person with 200lbs of muscle burns much more calories just sitting still than a person with 150lbs of muscle.
For those people that think they just have to stop eating and do cardio and they will lose weight, they're wrong. They are going to lose muscle and in turn slow their metabolism and it will be harder and harder to lose the fat. The proper way to lose weight and to stay fit is to eat clean, healthy foods, do cardio several times a week and to add at least 2 to 5 weight training sessions per week. If you do all three together you will lose fat, build muscle and look and feel much better.