The purpose of this article is to explain whether gym is good for weight loss for ladies. This article will serve as a guide for women who want to lose weight through exercising and by following a proper diet. Weight loss is the goal for most women and people in general. We try to eat healthy and we go to the gym, but what are the myths about weight loss?
Does Weightlifting Help Women Lose Weight?
- Does it make you bulky?
- Does it help you lose weight?
- Other benefits
- How to start
- Bottom line
If you’re looking to lose weight, you may wonder which type of workout will best help you shed those pounds, and you may have looked into weightlifting for women.
This article explains whether weightlifting helps women lose weight, along with other helpful tips.
Does lifting weights make you bulky?
Weightlifting — also known as resistance training — was once reserved for bodybuilders due to the myth that lifting weights makes you look bulky.
However, while you can build muscle with weightlifting, becoming bulky is difficult. In order to build substantial muscle mass, you need to lift heavy weights and eat more calories than you burn — and even then, it can take months to years .
Further, women typically have lower levels of anabolic — muscle-building — hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, which means it’s harder for them to gain muscle mass .
Factors such as genetics, diet, and body type, as well as exercise load, volume, and intensity, also affect the rate and extent to which you can build muscle .
If you’re worried that you’ll suddenly bulk up from lifting weights, rest assured you won’t.
It’s difficult for most women to build substantial muscle mass due to their low levels of anabolic hormones like testosterone, which are needed for muscle synthesis. Thus, you don’t need to worry about looking bulky from lifting weights.
Does it help you lose weight?
In order to lose weight and burn fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit, which can be achieved in three main ways:
- eating fewer calories per day than you need
- burning more calories through exercise than you consume
- a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity
Though lifting weights can burn calories, it’s not the most efficient way to do so. Cardiorespiratory training, also known as cardio — which includes running, cycling, and swimming — burns more calories per workout session than weight training.
However, weightlifting can support weight loss by building muscle mass. Simply put, muscles are metabolically efficient and support weight loss by burning more calories at rest. Thus, it’s typically best to add both weight training and cardio to your workout regimen
Research also suggests that your metabolic rate is increased after weight training, meaning you’re still burning additional calories hours after your workout has ended. In fact, studies have shown that your metabolic rate can stay elevated for up to 72 hours after a workout
When you lose weight, you’re not losing pure fat — rather, you’re losing fat mass, glycogen stores, and muscle. Weight training helps preserve muscle mass during weight loss, thus increasing fat loss and keeping your metabolism from changing too much .
Although weight training will contribute to fat loss, you may not see a large change in the number on the scale, depending on your starting weight and goals. That’s because muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body pound for pound.
Therefore, as you lose fat and gain muscle, you may lose inches from your waistline but see no change on the scale.
All in all, adding weight training to your workout routine along with cardio exercise and a healthy diet is a great way to support weight loss.
Weight training can support weight loss by burning calories during and after workouts and by preserving muscle mass to prevent your metabolism from slowing down.
Weight training provides numerous other benefits in addition to weight loss.
You’ll appear leaner
Muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body. Therefore, as you build muscle and lose fat, you will naturally appear leaner and smaller.
What’s more, having stronger and larger muscles will give your body more definition. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t tone your muscles, but building muscles and losing fat showcases muscle definition, creating a stronger, leaner look.
You’ll be stronger
A major benefit of weight training is that you’ll get stronger.
Gaining strength makes daily activities like carrying groceries and playing with your kids easier. Plus, it lowers your risk of falls and injuries since you’re better able to support your body .
Weight training is also crucial for bone development because it puts temporary stress on your bones, which signals to your body to rebuild them stronger. This can reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially as you age .
Lower risk of chronic disease
Weight training can reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and age-related conditions like sarcopenia, which is the gradual loss of muscle mass and strength related to aging .
Adding both resistance training and cardio to your workout routine may boost your health even more. Both forms of exercise provide many benefits, including improved heart health and increases in lung capacity, metabolism, blood flow, and muscle mass
Benefits of weight training include stronger muscles and bones, reduced risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and a leaner appearance.
4 Types of Workouts That Help Women Burn More Fat at the Gym
HIIT, strength training and full-body circuits are all great ways to burn fat and boost your metabolism.
Your time is valuable — especially at the gym. So if your goal is to burn body fat, you’ll need to be strategic about the kinds of workouts you do. The goods news, though, is that you don’t need a ton of time for these workouts. Even 30 minutes will boost your fat-loss efforts.
But keep in mind that when it comes to losing body fat, you diet matters just as much (if not more) than your workouts. That likely means reducing the number of calories you’re currently eating, so that you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.
While maintaining a proper diet can help you shave off excess calories, your body composition (ratio of fat to muscle) will change faster with the right fat-burning exercises for women. Hit the gym several times a week with a fitness regimen that combines cardio and strength training.
Start your workouts with strength training and finish with cardio or HIIT. Another option is to lift weights at least three times per week and do cardio or full-body circuits on separate days.
1. Cardio Machines
One of the best ways to blast away calories is through cardiovascular exercise. Cardio causes your heart rate to increase, which gets your heart pumping harder, your body sweating and calories burning. In fact, depending on your weight, workout intensity and the machine you choose, you can expect to burn between 250 and 750 calories in 30 minutes.
The treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike and stair stepper are among the best cardio machines at the gym. They allow you to alter the speed, as well as the resistance, during your workout, keeping your body challenged. Perform cardio exercise three to four times a week for 30 to 45 minutes to burn calories and shed excess body fat.
While cardio exercise torches more calories during the workout than lifting weights does, building lean muscle mass helps you burn more calories in the long run. Lean muscle requires more energy (read: calories) to maintain, even when you’re not working out.
Plus, you’ll experience what’s called “the after-burn effect” (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC). High-intensity strength training increases resting energy expenditure for up to 24 hours after exercise, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Human Sport and Exercise.
Lift weights at least three times a week using a combination of upper- and lower-body exercises to build lean muscle. In general, most women tend to store fat on their arms, legs and backside, so focus on these areas.
To work on your arms, perform exercises like the shoulder press, push-ups and triceps extension.
Move 1: Shoulder Press
- Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing out.
- Press the weights straight overhead without raising your shoulders or locking out your elbows.
- Lower back down to your shoulders.
Move 2: Push-Ups
- Start on all fours, hands under shoulders. Straighten your legs straight out behind you so that you’re in a high plank — your body forming a diagonal line from feet to head.
- Bend your elbows out at a 45-degree angle to your body and lower your chest to the ground (or as far as your strength and mobility allow).
- Press back up to the start.
Move 3: Triceps Extension
- Hold either a dumbbell in each hand or one large dumbbell with both hands above your head.
- Lower the weights slowly behind your head.
- Press back up to the start without shrugging your shoulders or locking out your elbows.
When it comes to toning your lower body, look no further than the sumo squat, walking lunge and Bulgarian split squat.
Move 1: Sumo Squat
- Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, feet pointed out slightly.
- Bend your knees and hinge your hips to lower your butt toward the ground, keeping your back straight and your knees tracking over your toes.
- Lower down as far as your strength and mobility will allow.
- Press back up to standing.
Move 2: Walking Lunge
- Stand tall, then take a step a few feet forward, bending both knees to 90 degrees.
- Press off your back foot and bring it to meet your front foot as you return to standing.
- Step forward again, but this time with the opposite leg.
Move 3: Bulgarian Split Squat
- Start in a split stance with one foot in front of the other. Place your back foot up on a weight bench or chair.
- Bend both knees to lower straight down. Your front knee should be bent to 90 degrees and your knee in line with your ankle.
- Drive through your feet to return to standing.
Thus, a fat-burning strength training workout for women might look like this:
- Warm up for 3 to 5 minutes with light cardio and dynamic stretches. Then do:
- 20 sumo squats
- 10 push-ups
- 20 Bulgarian split squats (10 each leg)
- 10 shoulder presses
- Repeat for 4 rounds.
- Finish with 10 minutes on the step mill.
- Cool down with 3 to 5 minutes of static stretching.
3. HIIT Workouts
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, involves short but intense bursts of activity followed by less-intense active recovery or rest. This type of workout helps promote weight loss and reduce belly fat in a shorter amount of time than steady-state cardio, according to a 2017 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
HIIT comes in many forms, but it’s easy to get started on cardio machines, such as the treadmill. For example, try this HIIT treadmill workout:
- Warm up for 3 to 5 minutes at an easy pace.
- Run at a challenging pace for one minute.
- Jog or walk for two minutes.
- Repeat this 3-minute block five times for a total of 15 minutes.
- Cool down for 3 to 5 minutes at an easy pace.
HIIT workouts are supposed to be intense, so it’s best to work your way up with the number of intervals you are doing. Start with five, and as your fitness improves, increase workout duration and intensity.
4. Circuit Training
Circuit training is a combination of strength-training and cardio exercise, offering the best of both worlds. This makes it one of the best fat-burning workouts for women. According to a 2017 research paper featured in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, high-intensity circuit training improves body composition aka muscle-to-fat ratio while increasing overall strength.
A typical training session involves different strength-training exercises for each muscle group; you move quickly from one exercise to another, which keeps your heart rate elevated and the calories burning.
Instead of resting after a strength-training circuit, you can also perform cardio exercises in between, such as jumping jacks and jump rope to ramp up your overall calorie burn.
Fat-Loss Workout Gym Plan
Now that you have the workouts that will help you burn fat at the gym, remember that consistency is the key. Create a workout plan, clean up your diet and set clear goals. Exercise three to five times per week to fully reap the benefits.
Beware that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for weight loss. Experiment with different fat-burning exercises for women and keep your workouts diverse.
Best Weight Loss Workouts for Women
Home and Gym Routines to Burn Fat
If you’re looking for a weight loss workout for women, you may already know that losing weight isn’t the same for everyone. Depending on your fitness level, age, lifestyle, and medical history, it may take longer to reach your goals than it does for others. For instance, there’s a general stereotype that women tend to lose weight more slowly than men.
This slower rate of weight loss can be attributed to several factors, including differences in muscle mass and hormonal variations between the sexes. However, it’s possible to overcome barriers that are slowing you down. With a positive mindset and the right training plan, you can start seeing the results you want.
Physical activity and nutrition both play a role in weight loss. Most experts agree that what you eat is more likely to significantly impact your weight loss rate than exercise alone. Nonetheless, exercise provides several weight-loss benefits that go beyond burning calories, such as lower blood pressure, higher insulin sensitivity, and lower cholesterol.
Exercise produces feel-good endorphins that keep weight loss fun and prevent burnout. Building muscle, flexibility, and endurance through exercise can boost your body image and improve your chances of sustaining weight loss over the long term.
It may surprise you, but putting weight loss aside and focusing on other goals can help you lose more weight. If you find yourself obsessed with weight loss, speak to a health care provider.
|Type of Cardio||What it Is||Benefit||Example|
|Interval Training||Alternating between moderate intensity and lower intensity||Increases energy output in same timeframe||Jogging for 5 minutes, followed by 2 minutes of walking. Repeat for 30 minutes.|
|HIIT||Alternating between high intensity and moderate or low intensity||Saves time with higher energy output in a short time||Sprint for 30 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of jogging. Repeat for 15 minutes.|
|Tabata||20 seconds of high intensity with 10 seconds of rest (or another rigid timeframe)||Boosts anaerobic capacity and saves time||Do 20 seconds of burpees, rest for 10 seconds and repeat for 4 minutes.|
Cardio, or aerobic exercise, is often the first thing that comes to mind when trying to lose weight. Although cardio isn’t necessarily the most optimal choice and should be combined with resistance training, it provides several health benefits and can support weight loss efforts. Here are some types of cardio to consider.
Walking should not be underrated during weight loss efforts. Walking not only helps with energy balance, but it’s also sustainable, low-impact, requires no recovery time, and helps relieve stress. Balancing stress during weight loss is crucial. Your body doesn’t differentiate between physical and other forms of stress.
Eating in a calorie deficit necessary for weight loss while exercising more frequently can put substantial stress on your body. This can lead to increased injuries, illnesses, and burnout, making your weight loss efforts more challenging to stick to.
Instead of focusing on more intense forms of exercise, keep walking as the pillar of your exercise routine. Aim to increase your steps each week, or work in more daily movement by taking activity breaks from work. Increasing daily movement is vital for healthy weight balance.
High-intensity training does have its place, but it’s essential to balance it with proper nutrition, rest, and other forms of activity. Because these workouts are shorter, you can squeeze them in even if you don’t have much time. Interval training is one of the best ways to increase your fitness level during any workout. Work hard for some time (say 30 to 60 seconds), rest for a set period, and repeat. Just keep in mind that HIIT cannot be done every day and is very taxing on your body.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) takes regular intervals to the next level, focusing on very high-intensity exercises. HIIT offers proven benefits for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This training can also help improve your body composition effectively and efficiently. An example is sprint interval training.
Tabata training is another form of high-intensity interval training that involves pushing hard for very short periods, helping you burn calories and rev up your metabolism. Try the Tabata Low Impact Challenge or a high-impact Tabata Cardio Workout.
Cardio Mistakes to Avoid
- Doing too much cardio: Repetitive motions in cardio exercises (like running) increase the risk of injury and overtraining. Switch up your routine and take days off to recover between workouts as needed.
- Neglecting other types of exercise: If you skip out on weight training to focus only on cardio, you’re missing out on opportunities to change your body composition for the better.
- Sticking to low-intensity cardio: Doing cardio in your ‘fat-burning zone’ may not be enough to help you lose weight. Mixing in higher-intensity workouts will give you an extra edge for weight loss.
Weight Training for Women
Both men and women can see improvements in body composition with weight training, especially when combined with proper nutrition. Beyond building stronger muscles, weight lifting helps with energy balance (calorie burn) in a couple of ways.
First, muscle mass is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even at rest, unlike fat tissue which does not burn calories. Secondly, resistance training burns calories during your training session and afterward as your body works to repair tissues.
Research shows that weight loss Interventions incorporating resistance training and a calorie deficit are the most effective for reducing body fat percentage. If you dislike typical forms of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training alone, combined with a supporting diet, can lead to weight loss. Note that during resistance training efforts, your heart and lungs will get a workout, too. You don’t need to run, cycle, or swim to get a boost to your cardiovascular fitness.
Stronger muscles also help build stronger bones and boost metabolism. Following a regular weight training routine will help you maintain an active lifestyle for years to come, warding off some weight gain and chronic diseases usually associated with aging.
If you get bored easily from weight training, circuit training is a fun way to sneak in a resistance workout. Circuit training involves going from one exercise to the next with no rest, usually combining cardio and strength moves. While circuit training won’t likely help you add muscle mass or build strength, it can preserve muscle during weight loss and boost your cardiovascular fitness. Preserving muscle mass is crucial during weight loss to prevent regain and keep your metabolism functioning optimally.
If this appeals to you, aim to incorporate circuit training one to two times per week, or you can supplement your regular strength training routine with circuit training once per week. Just ensure you rest your muscle groups between sessions.
Try These Circuit Training Workouts
- 10-Minute Body Weight Circuit
- 10-Minute Home Circuit Workout
- 10-Minute MetCon Workout
- 10-Minute Strength and Power Circuit
- Advanced Cardio & Strength Circuit
- Fat Burning Circuit Workout
- Whole Body Circuit
Strength workouts build muscle through straightforward, targeted movements. Try a total body workout twice a week or split routines for your upper and lower body.
Kettlebell exercises can increase your strength just as well as regular dumbbells. You can also use resistance bands. Just make sure you’re lifting enough weight. Proper form is essential for effective and safe strength training. If you’re not sure how to get started, enlist the help of a qualified personal trainer.
Developing a Weekly Workout Plan
To track your results and ensure you are targeting all muscle groups, stick to the same workout plan for 3 to 4 weeks. Plan your workout schedule ahead of time. Here’s a sample of what that might look like:
- Monday: 15 minutes of HIIT, alternating 30 seconds of sprints with 1 minute of walking for 15 minutes. Follow up with the Total Body Dumbbell Workout.
- Tuesday: 30 to 60 minutes of moderate cardio, such as the Cardio Endurance Workout.
- Wednesday: Mobility training, active rest, walking
- Thursday: Repeat the total body dumbbell workout.
- Friday: HIIT training or steady-state cardio; core work
- Saturday: Total body dumbbell workout, walking
- Sunday: Active rest, mobility training, walking
Rest and recovery are essential components of any workout program. If you get too sore or run down, give yourself an extra day off and pick it up again tomorrow.
A Word From Verywell
When weight loss feels like it’s taking forever, try not to get discouraged. Understanding the root cause of your weight challenges can help you develop a personalized plan that’s more effective than what you’ve tried in the past.
Keep the motto “progress, not perfection” in mind. Remember, living a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing journey, not a race to the finish line. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on the positive changes you’ve achieved.