While you may associate weight training with people purely looking to build muscle or get stronger, this certainly isn’t the case. According to MayoClinic.com, strength training not only helps you increase lean muscle mass, but also burns fat, boosts metabolism and helps to prevent injuries. Your routine should be based around multi-joint free-weight and body weight exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, pushups and rows, as these work a large number of muscle groups and burn a high amount of calories.
Rep Range and Exercise Selection
Strength training for weight loss is often associated with lifting light weights for a high number of reps, to “tone” or define the muscle. However, according to strength coach Christian Thibaudeau, this type of training burns no more calories than heavy training, and may lead to you losing muscle. Keep the majority of your exercises in the six to 10 rep range, and use a weight which forces you to struggle to complete the last couple of reps of each set. Along with the exercises mentioned above, you may wish to include some female-specific exercises. Women are more prone to knee injuries than men, so it’s a good idea to try to prevent them. Single-leg exercises, such as split squats, lunges and single leg deadlifts are ideal for strengthening the structures around your knee, so include one single-leg exercise in every session.
High Intensity Cardio
High intensity cardio involves working really hard for a short length of time. You can do this using any cardio machine in the gym, or by sprinting, using kettlebells, or doing body weight exercises. If you decide to use a gym machine, then go as fast as you can for 15 seconds, then reduce your speed to a steady pace for 45 seconds. Repeat this protocol eight times. If you want to use body weight or kettlebell exercises, perform 20 repetitions, rest 20 seconds, and do this six times. Do two high intensity interval sessions each week, either after your weights workout, or on a separate day, and make sure you warm up thoroughly before each session.
Low Intensity Cardio
Low intensity, or steady state cardio, is also beneficial for weight loss. While it may not burn quite as many calories as high intensity cardio, it is far less demanding, which means that you can do a little bit every day, to burn a few extra calories, without fatiguing too much. You can do your low intensity cardio on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, rower or any other gym machine. Aim to do half an hour each day — preferably in the morning before breakfast. According to bodybuilding diet coach Tom Venuto, doing your low intensity cardio in a fasted state helps boost your metabolism and burns more calories.