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What Kind of Weight Lifting Burns the Most Fat?

Occasionally, there comes a time for your trusted Get-Fit Guy to change opinions and teachings based on  the cutting-edge research that I'm constantly delving into. Today, I’m going to reveal something I was wrong about when it comes to fat loss.

By
Ben Greenfield,
May 19, 2014
Episode #186

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Occasionally, there comes a time for your trusted Get-Fit Guy to change his opinions and teachings based on the cutting-edge research that I'm constantly delving into. Today, I’m going to reveal something I was wrong about when it comes to fat loss.

You see, in the episode What Is the Best Workout for Fat Loss?, I give you the 5 characteristics of a successful fat loss program:

  1. Convenience. This means that you can do it anywhere, without being forced to spend two hours at a gym, access special equipment, or purchase expensive gadgets.

  2. Full body. Every muscle in your body needs to be targeted for a maximum metabolic boost, so combine upper and lower body exercises.

  3. Heart rate stimulation. For maximum cardiovascular stimulation, the workout should require that you move from exercise to exercise with minimal rest.

  4. No heavy weights. To maximize fat loss, you need to be able to do more than 8 repetitions of an exercise.

  5. Consistency. You should be able to do the workout 2-4 times each week, without having to rest for several days due to excessive soreness.

It turns out that based on the latest research, I was wrong about one of those points. Can you guess which one?

Number 4 – No heavy weights. 

As a matter of fact, I recently found a study that showed that heavy weight lifting burns mostly fat!

What Kind of Weight Lifting Burns the Most Fat?

The study - entitled “Oxygen Consumption and Substrate Use After Resistance Exercise” – compared the effects of different types of workout intensity and weights on the amount of fat that the study participants burned after the exercise was over.

The researchers had 16 male students, all of whom had been training for at least 6 months, do weight training at different intensities. At one point, they trained at high intensity in which they completed 3 sets of 10 reps at 75% of their one repetition maximum (1RM). Then they trained at low intensity, completing 3 sets of 15 reps at 50% of their 1RM. The amount of energy each student used during the low intensity and high intensity training sessions was practically the same.

But then, the researchers monitored the study participants’ energy expenditure for two hours after the training session. To do this they had the participants sit on a bench immediately after completing the weight lifting session, and then they proceeded to rest for 2 hours, after which their oxygen consumption, heart rate, and other important markers were analyzed.

It turns out that after the training session with heavy weights the participants' post exercise oxygen consumption (aka, the metabolic rate) was higher than after the training with the light weights. Even more interestingly, the increased energy expenditure after the training session was mainly derived from fat stores!

The researchers summed it up this way:

“The study demonstrated that EPOC and fat oxidation after HI were higher than after LO, and energy expenditure in the recovery period after HI was also greater than after LO. Thus, we conclude that high-intensity resistance exercise is a better choice in weight control programs for energy expenditure.” 

A Perfect Fat Loss Weight Lifting Workout

So now that you know the best kind of weight lifting to burn the most fat, what would an actual fat loss workout look like?

Here’s a perfect routine to incorporate the concepts you’ve just learned, along with the additional fat-burning cardio burst strategy that I outline in the episode Which Workout Burns the Most Fat?:

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