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Weight Training and Losing Weight

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 12/31/2009

Should you lift weights if you're trying to lose weight? After all, won't building muscle make you gain weight? Muscle weighs more than fat, right? What a myth! This article will set you straight on the benefits of weight training and losing weight.

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    Should You Lift Weights When You're Trying to Lose Weight?

    If you're trying to lose weight, you may have thought about how exercise figures into the whole process. You've probably heard that exercise helps you lose weight, but is weight training a good idea if your goal is weight loss? You may have even started a weight training program only to find that you actually gained a couple of pounds soon after starting out. Does this mean you should give it up? No way! The more muscle you build, the more calories your body burns, even at rest. Muscle does weigh more than fat, but that shouldn't stop you from lifting. Soon after beginning a weight training program you may find that you actually weigh more. This is just because you haven't yet burned extra fat in your body, but still have gained muscle. You'll also experience slight inflammation in those newly worked muscles, and extra fluids tend to accumulate, causing a slight weight increase. If you keep up the strength training efforts though, you'll soon start to see the benefits. You may see the pounds you have held onto start to fall off as you build more metabolism-boosting muscle.

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    Getting Started

    Weight training and losing weight may not seem like they go hand in hand, but now that you know that they do, why not try a workout you can do right at home with light hand weights. Start with 3 pound weights if you've never worked with weights before, and add more weight as soon as your workout begins to get easy. Once you're up to 10 pounds, you might want to go ahead and start with weight machines at your local gym. You don't have to start with light weights, but it will ease you into weight training. You'll have the chance to develop proper technique and avoid injuries.

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    How Often?

    When you lift weights, it's different from cardiovascular exercise. Cardio should be done almost every day, while you need a day or two of rest between weight training workouts. Muscles experience tiny tears during training, and then heal, building more muscle. If you don't give your muscles time to heal in between workouts, you won't get optimal results. Instead, opt for 2 to 3 weight training workouts each week.

    If you're trying to increase your metabolism, and only want to do one kind of exercise, go for weight training. You'll increase your metabolism and burn more calories at rest. Weight training and losing weight do go hand in hand, so why not give it a try?