Can weight training help with weight loss?

Caroline M. Apovian, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Not only can weight training help with weight loss, weight training is the most effective type of exercise to increase your metabolism.  Weight training burns more fat and calories than any other type of exercise.  Why is that?  Muscle burns approximately seven times more calories than fat.  Therefore, as muscle mass builds, your metabolism speeds up, causing you to slim down much more efficiently. 

While cardiovascular workouts offer a variety of health benefits, including increasing your lung capacity, reducing stress, and burning fat, they do little to increase muscle mass.  Therefore, those who rely on cardio alone will become thinner, but will also become soft and pudgy as muscle is lost as well, particularly as they approach middle age.  Strength training is absolutely the best way to build muscle, rev up your metabolism, and boost daily calorie expenditure.  In other words, using weights in your workouts is the most efficient way to lose weight and look fit and toned, in combination with a healthy diet.
The Age-Defying Diet: Outsmart Your Metabolism to Lose Weight--Up to 20 Pounds in 21 Days!--And Turn Back the Clock

More About this Book

The Age-Defying Diet: Outsmart Your Metabolism to Lose Weight--Up to 20 Pounds in 21 Days!--And Turn Back the Clock

Age slowing down your metabolism? Not anymore!Internationally renowned weight-loss expert and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Caroline Apovian has developed an innovative program that outsmarts the body's aging processes and reverses the metabolic clock. By combining the metabolism-boosting effects of her unique take on intermittent fasting-an innovative approach that will leave readers feeling full, not hungry-with targeted strength training, readers can lose up to 20 pounds in 21 days while they reshape their bodies and take back their youth.Reboot - one week to jumpstart weight-loss with Super Smoothies, Super Soups, and delicious whole food meals that rekindle the metabolic fire.Recharge - two weeks to keep metabolism running in high gear, burning more fat and building more muscle. Revitalize - a powerful blueprint that keeps the metabolism young and keeps age-defiers slim for life!
Dr. Anita Gupta
Weight training burns calories and increases metabolism. However weight training alone may not be sufficient for weight loss. A combination of exercise and healthy diet is the key to weight loss.
Robert DeVito

Weight training is a great way to help with weight loss.
In the very least, it will aid in preventing weight gain.

Weight training is considered a higher intensity exercise and burns many calories during the activity. An added benefit is that your body will continue to burn calories after the workout due to the recovery needs (called EPOC--Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption--or "afterburn").

Weight training will also aid you in maintaining a higher metabolism long-term, which will allow you to burn more calories. It can aid you in creating an energy deficit which is essential for weight loss.

Consistent weight training offsets Adult Sarcopenia, which is adult muscle loss.  As you age, your body will lose 1/2 - 1 pound of muscle tissue annually, decreasing metabolism and making weight gain that much easier. Therefore, maintaining muscle tissue through weight training is essential for the short-term benefit of calorie burning and the long-term benefit of maintaining metabolic rate.

Weight training is also responsible for creating a fit looking body. Training with weight increases "tone", allowing the body to take on a much more athletic appearance. Weight training is what allows you to change your shape.

Weight Training for Weight Loss 

  • Weight Train 2-3 sessions per week
  • Full body exercises with a focus on core muscles
  • Basic exercises such as a squat, pushup off of knees, plank and row
  • 4-5 exercises of 2-3 sets per workout


  • Weight Train 2-4 sessions per week
  • Full body exercises
  • A mix of basic and more complex exercise selections
  • Plank, Squat with weights, lunges, bodyweight pullup, pushups
  • 4-5 exercises of 3-4 sets per workout
  • Increased weight for greater challenge and benefit


  • 3-5 sessions per week
  • Full body exercises
  • Challenging exercises
  • 5-7 exercises of 4 sets per workout
  • Increased weight for added challenge
  • More "bang for your buck" exercises such as a squat + overhead press or a lunge + core rotation.

Weight training is an essential part of the foundation of a long-term weight loss lifestyle. Whether you are looking to lose weight, get "tone" or simply maximize energy burning, then weight training should be utilized consistently.

Jame K. Heskett, MD
Family Medicine

Weight training is one of the best ways to aid weight loss. Weight training causes muscle turnover which is what creates a high caloric demand and thus an increase in your metabolism. When your metabolism is increased, then you can have a higher caloric deficit (burn more calories), and the more of a deficit you have, the more fat you will lose and you become more lean. Sometimes this doesn’t translate into a large number on the scale unless you have a lot of fat to lose, but it will translate into a lower body fat percentage which is the most important number to follow. I recently lost 8% body fat by gaining 4 pounds of muscle.


Weight or resistance training is a key component to weight loss, particularly body fat loss. Weight training helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass, which increases the metabolism and helps the body decrease fat stores.

Muscle, which is aided by weight training, burns more calories at rest and at work than fat burns. So, the more lean muscle you have on your body, the more calories you will burn overall. Cardio work is important for heart health and overall calorie burning as well. Strike a balance between weight training and cardio for optimum health and wellness.

Weight training can help with weight loss because while you are lifting weights you are burning calories.

Not only that, but by building more lean muscle you will also be burning more calories all day long (and during sleep, too) cause the new muscles feed off of fat stored in your body.

So more muscle equals more calories burned for fuel.

You can't go wrong by lifting weights, and incorporating weight training into your weight loss program.

And remember..... Have fun and feel great now!

The benefits of exercise are well worth the effort you put into it.


Ruth Frechman
Nutrition & Dietetics
Weight training not only burns calories, it firms you up. Fat is fluffy. Having more muscle will help you lose inches. As a bonus, the more muscle mass you have, the speedier your metabolism.
Ozgen Dogan
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A Boston study showed that women who did weight training along with dieting lost 44% more weight than those who only dieted. Why? Because muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue. So the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn.

Continue Learning about Exercise For Weight Loss

Ways to Lose Weight While Strength Straining
Ways to Lose Weight While Strength Straining
In May 2018, 27-year-old Icelander, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, renowned for his role as “The Mountain,” Gregor Clegane, in Game of Thrones, won the Wor...
Read More
How can I stay fit after getting married?
Troy Taylor, NASM Elite TrainerTroy Taylor, NASM Elite Trainer
I have been married for a long time and I have to say that making fitness a part of your marriage is...
More Answers
5 Exercise Hacks to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss
5 Exercise Hacks to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss5 Exercise Hacks to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss5 Exercise Hacks to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss5 Exercise Hacks to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss
Trainer Donovan Green shares his secrets for calorie-burning success.
Start Slideshow
What Time of Day Will I Get the Most Effective Workout for Weight Loss?
What Time of Day Will I Get the Most Effective Workout for Weight Loss?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.