High Intensity Weight Training Helps You Lose Weight And Keep It Off!
Most equate aerobics with weight loss not high intensity weight training. Weight training is generally perceived as an activity for those interested in building big and bulky muscles and not for people trying to lose weight, however as many who have been frustrated by their lack of progress on the treadmill can attest- weight training or more specifically high intensity weight training is the best way to tone up and slim down. The fear of building oversized muscles is understandable- as television, books and magazines regularly bombard us with images of steroid using male and female bodybuilders- a look that most find unappealing. The reality is that without resorting to unmentionable combinations of drugs, while following a regime calling for enormous quantities of food far above what the average human being could regularly consume, even the hardest and most conscientious weight trainers will never get that big naturally. It simply doesn’t happen by accident.
What does happen however to the men and women that dare to weight train hard and heavy is that they get smaller as they see their body fat levels reduced from the high intensity weight training. Your muscle size will increase if you weight train correctly, but not in titanic proportions, just enough to give your body a toned and sculpted look as your body fat is reduced from the increase in metabolism that results from high intensity weight training.
Low Intensity vs High Intensity Weight Training
If you are serious about losing weight and toning up science says you should focus your energy on high intensity weight training using challenging not overly light weights to burn more calories! A study conducted at Georgia Southern University had participants performing resistance exercises at low intensities using a little less than half of their maximum weight for 15 repetitions during one session and the same resistance exercise at a higher intensity and heavier weight for 8 repetitions at 85 % of their one repetition maximum. After measuring the subjects for up to 2 hours after the workouts, researchers discovered that the heavier weights and higher intensity exercise produced a far greater excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) than the higher repetition low intensity exercise.  Excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is associated with an elevated consumption of fuel in the body causing fat stores to be broken down and free fatty acids (FFA) released into the blood.
High Intensity Weight Training And Weight Loss In Women
Several long term studies also support the idea that high intensity weight training is an efficient method of losing body fat thanks to the metabolic boost that occurs after the workout. One six year study of 122 post menopausal women published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise concluded that ‘resistance training is a viable long-term method to prevent weight gain and deleterious changes in body composition in postmenopausal women.’ Researchers used previously sedentary women in their fifties and had them perform eight basic weight training exercises for two sets at 70% to 80% of their one repetition maximum three times a week plus progressive weight bearing stretching and balance movements. Body weight and fat percentages were measured annually using anthropometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. After adjusting for age, years on hormone therapy, change in lean soft tissue, baseline body composition, and baseline habitual exercise they saw a significant reduction in body weight, fat and trunk fat over the six year period due to the weight training exercises. Interestingly enough those that did more military presses and squats had the highest reduction in weight and body fat.
Another study published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition of 164 postmenopausal women doing high intensity weight training twice a week for two years suggested that
strength training is an efficacious intervention for preventing percentage body fat increases and attenuating intraabdominal fat [visceral abdominal fat] increases in overweight and obese premenopausal women. This is relevant to public health efforts for obesity prevention because most weight gain can be assumed to be fat, including abdominal fat. 
The study went on to say that American women ages 23-44 on average tend to gain 0.5 to 1 kg per year, most of which is fat and recognized that although few midlife women participate in any form of strength training, it should be considered as an intervention for preventing age-associated fat increases in the this population.
High Intensity Weight Training Works for Everybody!
What does this mean? Simple, the stereotype that weight training is for men or that weight training gives you oversized muscles needs to be put aside as it is simply untrue. Most gym goers and exercise enthusiasts that focus on aerobics as their primary activity see little in terms of long term body composition change while negative and erroneous attitudes towards weight training prevent most (especially women) from utilizing a form of exercise that is scientifically proven to be effective for weight loss, overall body fat and visceral abdominal fat reduction. So pick up some weights and learn to challenge yourself in the weight room- you will be all the better for doing it!
1. Thornton MK, Potteiger JA. “Effects of resistance exercise bouts of different intensities but equal work on EPOC.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
2. Bahr R (1992). “Excess postexercise oxygen consumption–magnitude, mechanisms and practical implications”. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica. Supplementum
3. Bea JW, Cussler EC, Going SB, Blew RM, Metcalfe LL, Lohman TG. “Resistance training predicts 6-yr body composition change in postmenopausal women.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
4. Schmitz KH, Hannan PJ, Stovitz SD, Bryan CJ, Warren M, Jensen MD. “Strength training and adiposity in premenopausal women: strong, healthy, and empowered study.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training 10 Minute Workouts™ and one of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City. Get a copy of his free weight loss ebook here.