Strength Training Is King For Fat Loss

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Cardio, cardio, cardio….that’s all you ever hear to about exercise to lose weight. But what if I told you that even though cardio does make a calorie deficit, it’s a much less efficient way to utilize exercise for fat loss. What if strength training is actually the best way to burn fat?


There are different aspects we take into account when worrying about fat loss. There is the immediate fat loss, there is the fat loss over a year, and there is maintained fat loss over a lifetime. Muscle helps maintain fat loss over a lifetime. For every pound of muscle you build, you get an extra 10 calories of fat burning. This doesn’t sound like much, but if you gain 5 lbs of muscle, you’ll have an extra 50 calories per day that you will burn every day forever. Take that multiplied by 365 days a year over 30 years, you burn an extra 547,500 calories you’ll burn by just putting a little muscle on.

Another great thing is that if you take a week or two off from doing cardio, you have no extra calorie deficit. But if you put on an extra 3 lbs of muscle, during that two weeks off, you will burn an extra 420 calories even if you don’t exercise.


Progressively overloading caused your muscles to be neurologically stimulated consistently. This activation of the muscles forces the metabolism to go into overdrive as it’s trying to figure out how to overcome the stress load put on the body. More muscle activation causes more calorie burn. This is true during the workouts, but also for 6-8 hours after the workout. This is referred to as “after-burn!”


Every time we work out, specifically strength training, we break down muscle tissue. This tissue damage is how our body builds a stronger layer of tissue to make the body more resilient. There is an energy cost to repair this tissue so the metabolism has to work overtime. When doing cardio, we have a little muscle breakdown, but not on the massive scale lifting weights causes.


We hear this concern a lot from our female clients. Many females worry about getting bulky while weight training, so they skip the heavy weights, or weights altogether. It’s actually very hard for females to gain muscle quickly. The most ammount of muscle mass a female can gain in a year is about 12 lbs, and this is for an elite bodybuilder. Someone that is doing more of a 3-day-a-week strength program for about 45 min to 1 hr will be lucky to gain 3-5 lbs of a muscle in a year. There is also a testosterone equation that makes it hard for females to gain muscle. If you feel like you are getting bulky from weight training, it’s normally because you have some extra inflammation in the tissue. This will go away as you lose the excess body fat.

Main Takeaway

  • The main point we are looking at with strength training is that we build a more metabolically driven body that has to burn more calories day in and day out. This might not makes as big a difference as the calorie deficit you get from cardio in the first 60-90 days of a weight loss journey, but when you stack this over 6-9 months, and especially a lifetime, it makes fat loss easier.
  • Prioritize strength training at least 3 days a week.
  • Make sure you are increasing your weight training load over time to continue to get more dense tissue.
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