Lifting Weights Helps You Burn More Calories Around the Clock

Lifting Weights Helps You Burn More Calories Around the Clock

All physical activity can help you burn calories.

However, resistance training — such as weight lifting — has benefits that go beyond that.

Resistance training helps increase the strength, tone and amount of muscle you have.

This is important for long-term health, since inactive adults lose between 3–8% of their muscle mass per decade (24Trusted Source).

Higher amounts of muscle also increase your metabolism, helping you burn more calories around the clock — even at rest (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).

This also helps prevent the drop in metabolism that can occur alongside weight loss.

One study of 48 overweight women on a very-low-calorie diet found that those who followed a weight lifting program maintained their muscle mass, metabolic rate and strength, even though they lost weight (28Trusted Source).

Women who didn’t lift weights lost weight too, but they also lost more muscle mass and experienced a drop in metabolism (28Trusted Source).

Because of this, doing some form of resistance training is really a crucial addition to an effective long-term weight loss plan. It makes it easier to keep the weight off, which is actually much harder than losing it in the first place.

Lifting weights helps maintain and build muscle, and it helps prevent your metabolism from slowing down when you lose fat.

People Who Exercise Sometimes Eat More
One of the main problems with exercise and weight loss is that exercise doesn’t just affect the “calories out” side of the energy balance equation.

It can also affect appetite and hunger levels, which may cause you to eat more calories.

Exercise May Increase Hunger Levels
One of the main complaints about exercise is that it can make you hungry and cause you to eat more.

It’s also been suggested that exercise may make you overestimate the number of calories you’ve burned and “reward” yourself with food. This can prevent weight loss and even lead to weight gain (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).

Although it doesn’t apply to everyone, studies show that some people do eat more after working out, which can prevent them from losing weight (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).

Exercise May Affect Appetite-Regulating Hormones
Physical activity may influence the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is also known as “the hunger hormone” because of the way it drives your appetite.

Interestingly, studies show that appetite is suppressed after intense exercise. This is known as “exercise anorexia” and seems tied to a decrease in ghrelin.

However, ghrelin levels go back to normal after around half an hour.

So although there is a link between appetite and ghrelin, it doesn’t seem to influence how much you actually eat (34Trusted Source).

Effects on Appetite May Vary by Individual
Studies on calorie intake after exercise are mixed. It’s now recognized that both appetite and food intake after exercise can vary between people (30Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).

For example, women have been shown to be hungrier after working out than men, and leaner people may become less hungry than obese people (31Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).

How exercise affects appetite and food intake varies between individuals. Some people may become more hungry and eat more, which can prevent weight loss.

Does Exercise Help You Lose Weight?
The effects of exercise on weight loss or gain varies from person to person (43Trusted Source).

Although most people who exercise will lose weight over the long term, some people find that their weight remains stable and a few people will even gain weight (44Trusted Source).

However, some of those who gain weight are actually gaining muscle, not fat.

All that being said, when comparing diet and exercise, changing your diet tends to be more effective for weight loss than exercise (45Trusted Source, 46Trusted Source).

However, the most effective strategy involves both diet and exercise (47Trusted Source

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