When most people think about how to burn fat using exercise, cardio is usually the first type of exercise that comes to mind. While cardiovascular exercise can be an effective method for burning fat, it is not the only way our bodies can burn fat. In this article, I’ve compiled 10 tips for you to help you incorporate weight lifting to lose fat.

1. Watch your rest periods.

Rest time is important during any fitness routine. For fat burning effects, however, rest time should be kept to a minimum. Only use as much rest time as you need to recover in time to complete your next full set. For example, to build muscle using maximal loads, usually I recommend 3-5 minutes of rest between each set.

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For a client looking for fat loss, I try to decrease the rest time to 20-30 seconds between sets or exercises. This decrease in rest time does not allow your body to fully recover, thus keeping your heart rate elevated and increasing the number of calories you are burning during your session. Increased caloric burn = increased fat loss (in less time)!

weight lifting to lose fat

2. Intensity is really important.

The intensity of your exercise is how hard the exercise feels. In order to burn fat, you will need to increase the intensity. Yes, that means lifting heavy weights. Ladies, have no fear–females do not have the genetic and hormonal capacity to build large, bulky muscles even when lifting heavy weights. What lifting heavy will do is force your body to make changes by building muscle and burning fat. As you build muscle, your body will burn more calories throughout the day, thus increasing your metabolism and ability to burn fat.

3. Use proper form.

I cannot state this tip enough! Proper form is incredibly important to your fat loss regimen. Using proper form helps you to use more muscles, because the appropriate muscles are engaging in each repetition. When you perform an exercise improperly, it can lead to compensation patterns and overuse of certain muscles. This can eventually lead to injury…when you’re injured, you’re not exercising, which means you aren’t going to be burning fat!

4. Work large muscles before small.

When completing an exercise routine, it is best to select an order of exercise that will assist you with your goals. Working large muscles before small muscles will help keep your heart rate elevated for longer, thus helping you increase your caloric burn. For example, completing a squat exercise before a leg curl will enable you to use better form during your squats and leg curls, and lift heavier weights on your squat. In order to get the most bang for your buck, work those large muscles first. This also helps to increase your body’s endocrine response (testosterone and growth hormone) circulating in your bloodstream, leading to more positive body changes.

5. Work large muscle groups during your workout.

In order to burn calories most effectively, you should attempt to work as many muscle groups into your workout as possible. The more muscles you use, the more calories you burn. In the case of fat burning, a split routine just isn’t the way to go for most people. Split routines break up your body parts into different days.

For example, you may have a “chest day” or a “back day” when you only complete chest or back exercises, respectively. While this routine is effective for mass and strength gains, for fat loss, you are going to get more bang for your buck by working the entire body in one workout session.

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