Why Weight Training For Weight Loss Is Best

There are countless of methods for losing weight. As I talk about in my other post on how to lose fat fast, you should never confuse all the different methods with what the real cause is.

The real cause is always a calorie deficit.

In this post, I will elaborate on why weight training for weight loss is your best option out of all the different ways to lose weight, or why weight training at least should play a major role in your fat loss efforts.

The Most Important Take-Away

If there is only one thing you take away from reading this, then it should be this:

Unless you want your muscle mass to be part of your weight loss you have to be smart about both your diet and training/exercising.

Keeping your muscle mass should have very high priority since with the loss of muscle mass your metabolic rate also drops. Just maintaining the muscle requires energy for your body, if the muscle mass is reduced it is less energy that is required.

So not only do you end up weaker, but you also burn fewer calories.

Being Smart About Your Diet And Calorie Deficit

Do you know how you can retain muscle mass?

A successful diet for weight loss is one that you can stick with and does not make you lose

muscle or limits muscle loss as much as possible.

Other than just making your life a complete hell, going too extreme with your calorie deficit will result in several negative things including loss of muscle mass.

It doesn’t matter whether that calorie deficit is created from either eating too few calories or doing too much exercise or a combination.

If you are looking to lose a significant amount of weight, you can’t just go crazy for a few weeks and then expect great results. The weight you will lose from doing that will include a lot of muscle mass.

A severe calorie deficit is just too much for your body to handle without also burning off some of your muscle.

The best solution is what you can call a “moderate” calorie deficit. This is somewhere between 20 – 25 % of your maintenance calories. In other words, you will be eating 75 – 80 % of your maintenance calories.

For determining your macros, you can check out my post on how to determine your macros the easy way. However, it is recommendable that you increase the amount of protein, e.g. 25 – 30 % of your calories. There is some good evidence that having a higher protein intake helps retain muscle mass in a calorie deficit.

Simple Calculation For Determining Calories

This simple equation should help you out calculating how many calories you should eat (assumes 60 minutes activity).

For pounds: Your bodyweight x 11.25 (25 % deficit) or 12 (20 % deficit) = amount of calories

For kg: Your bodyweight x 24.75 (25 % deficit) or 26.4 (20 % deficit) = amount of calories

To achieve that calorie deficit, I recommend a combination of eating less and exercising. You could say that my recommendation is “moderately” decreasing your calorie intake and “moderately” increase your exercise.

As you probably have understood by now the key word is “moderate”. This is also what the majority of people find most enjoyable, which helps make it easier to stick with.

If you are already lifting weights continuing doing so should be a no-brainer. But you most likely have to adjust how you train. Click here to read my other post on that topic.

Being Smart About Your Training/Exercising

Even when you are implementing the optimal calorie deficit, you still have to provide the correct stimulus for your muscles in order to convince your body that it shouldn’t burn that muscle for energy.

When you are in a calorie deficit your body has to draw on its energy reserves and it will prioritize what it believes is important. Both stored fat and your muscle mass can be part of those energy reserves.

The human body is a very complex organism but extremely efficient. When the body has limited resources to sustain itself it prioritizes the things that are essential for survival based on our “evolutionary heritage”. Regretfully, this “heritage” is often not practical or desirable to us.

No one wants their hard-earned muscle burned off just because their body think it is not necessary.

As stated above you have to provide the correct stimulus for your muscles to essentially convince your body that it is necessary and shouldn’t be burned off for energy.

Weight Training For Weight Loss: The Best Option

Doing a solid weight training program, which for example will have you train 3 days a week is within the realm of what you can call moderate exercise. You could even add some less intense cardio workouts or just take some long walks or bike rides.

weight training for weight loss is your best option

I would also dare to say that lifting weights is the most efficient way of providing the stimulus that will help retain your muscle mass in the calorie deficit.

Not just lifting any weights, but lifting heavy weights is going to be the best stimulus for retaining both strength and muscle. I would recommend lifting heavy in the 5 – 10 rep range. For more practical things check out my other post on how to use weight training to lose weight.

If you already have been lifting heavy and gained a lot of strength and muscle, then it would be a grave mistake to decrease the weight on the bar. This would simply be an “invitation” for your body burn off what is no longer necessary.

Energy Levels And Managing Hunger

There are two other important aspects to why weight training is superior to for example intense cardio exercise.

Being in a calorie deficit for some time will affect your energy levels, and you will feel less energetic. If you have a busy life with a lot on your mind and in your schedule, then this fact should not be underestimated.

Doing several intense and exhausting cardio sessions every week could make things worse.

Weight training, on the other hand, happens to be less exhausting and friendlier for lower energy levels.

Another thing is that being in a calorie deficit is going to make you feel hungry, and to some degree, you have to resist that hunger.

Having strategies to curb or suppress hunger is very important for being successful in your fat loss efforts.

managing hunger

Managing hunger is important if you want to avoid becoming insane

Many people report that doing intense cardio exercises increases their hunger. Not everyone has this opinion or feeling.

For me personally, doing too much intense cardio gives me a ravenous appetite. But, lifting heavy weights usually suppresses my hunger for some time.

Your Weight Loss Diet Experiences

Do you have any negative or positive experience with a weight loss diet?

I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. Especially if you have a comment on whether intense cardio makes you feel hungry or if you have experienced feeling exhausted from doing it while in a calorie deficit.

Great All-Inclusive Programs For Men And Women

If you are looking for a great all-inclusive nutrition and workout program to burn fat and build muscle, then I can highly recommend the Visual Impact courses by Rusty Moore.

When it comes to being fit and strong and looking exceptionally good while also being able to wear stylish clothing, then Rusty is your guy!

Visual Impact For Women

Visual Impact For Women is the course for you if you want sexy feminine hourglass curves.

The approach taught in the program is used by fashion models.

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Visual Impact Muscle Building

Visual Impact Muscle Building is the right choice for you want the Hollywood physique!

An incredible lean and muscular look without being too bulky like a bodybuilder.




My name is Marcus, I am a lawyer (LL.M.) and the founder of this website. Besides sometimes doing lawyer stuff, I like to write about fitness and health and share what I have found “works” for people like YOU. If you want to know more about me and my vision for this website then you can click here.

6 comments… add one
  • W Tucker Jun 27, 2017 @ 12:37

    great advice. I like the formulas as to how many calories I should be intaking, and I like that you advise folks to weight train as a way to maintain muscle while being on a moderately lower calorie diet.
    succumbing to an impromptu “treats” is what I have to control. It’s just mental, I know.
    Thanks for all the advice. I’m inspired now.

    • Marcus Jun 27, 2017 @ 16:22

      I am happy I could inspire you! I really think this way is so much better than doing a ton of dreaded cardio exercises. 

  • Mallory Jun 27, 2017 @ 12:43

    Hi Marcus, great post! I used to be so worried that if I weight trained I would ‘get big’ and that was the furthest thing from true! I have been consistently weight training and lifting heavier for the last 2 years. It is crazy how much time is takes to build some serious strength. I have seen much better results in my physique from weight training than I ever did with just cardio. Sometimes if I overdo it on junk food on the weekend I put myself on a stricter diet during the week and mainly focus on adding a lot more veggies in. This way I don’t feel like I am eating less because I still have the same amount of food the same number of times a day but the calories I am in-taking are way lower than a normal week.

    • Marcus Jun 27, 2017 @ 16:18

      Hey Mallory, Excited that you also like lifting weights! Lifting weights and focusing on gaining strength is the best haha. As you point out yourself, this is really what will improve your physique not doing intense cardio workouts.
      It is also good to hear that you have found a way to balance your diet, both in terms of junk and calories. I think this should be the goal of anyone who wants to master being healthy and fit. I mean, there should be room in any diet for treats enjoyed in moderation. This is actually what I am all about and what I am trying to teach in my free download .

  • Bernice Aug 26, 2019 @ 2:20

    Yes you are right I lift weights and my appetite all ready shot up where I don’t be hungry I was fighting inflammation joints disease and the doctors told me that I cannot run any more so I said I need to find a way to lose weight and lifting weights I love doing I eat a lot of protein and I have seen the differences with my body

    • Marcus Aug 31, 2019 @ 18:59

      Happy to hear that Bernice! Lifting weights is a great way to build a stronger body. Best of luck!

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