Friday Fact or Fiction: Lifting Weights Doesn’t Burn Calories


VERDICT: FALSE - Although weight lifting may not burn as many calories as cardio during any given amount of time, the benefits of lifting weights include an increased metabolism and continued calorie burn post workout.

This misconception is one of the main reasons many women stay away from weights. Paired with the fear of looking like a bulky body builder, another misconception, women have been avoiding or under-utilizing an important facet of exercising to lose weight. It is true that cardio burns calories but contrary to misguided beliefs, weight lifting or strength training is also another amazingly efficient way to lose those extraneous calories.

does lifting weights burn calories
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It is important to distinguish the type of calorie burn from the treadmill vs. the kind from lifting weights and why both are necessary to maximize your weight loss results. It is extremely gratifying after exercising to see a nice big number clearly shown on the display after an hour of walking at a steady pace. However, that number is merely an estimate since the treadmill does not take your current weight or metabolism rate into consideration.

In addition, once you're done with the cardio activity, the calories will stop burning so in effect, it does very little for your metabolism. For those who are heavy cardio fans, you could put your body in such a deficit that it may actually slow down your metabolism, which is not something anyone who is trying to lose weight wants. This is why it is integral to incorporate weight lifting into your exercise routine.

The reason for this is simple. Lifting weights does burn significantly less calories than cardio during activity - about half as much - to be exact. For example, weight lifting burns about 300 calories per hour of vigorous training. However, in this case, it is important to keep in mind that it isn't about immediate gratification but the long term investment that pays dividends.

It is essential to add weight lifting to your exercise regime because after lifting weights, the body continues to burn calories for hours. Due to Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), more commonly known as "after burn," the body can continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours after an intense workout.

According to, the muscles that you are strengthening also increase your resting calorie burn from 35 to 38 calories per day. Which translates to the more muscle you have, the quicker your body is burning through calories doing simply nothing, while your body is at rest. Weight lifting is worth the short half hour you might spend if you really push yourself. Don't worry about the comparison of calories burned during, you'll be burning many more afterwards!

It is therefore important to incorporate both cardio and weight lifting in your weight loss goals. Cardio may give you the instant gratification of seeing big numbers while the lifting weights primes your body to continue burning calories post work-out while increasing your metabolism rate. It's time to embrace something new and start seeing big weight loss results by adding weight lifting to your routine!