Can You Lose Weight Just By Lifting Weights?

I know a lot of people out there absolutely despise doing cardio. But did you know it’s not necessary to lose body fat?

I’ve trained many people over my 5 years of being a strength coach, and in that time, the ones that did two simple things lost the most weight without doing any cardio.

The two things you need to lose weight are a calorie deficit and weight training. As long as you’re tracking your calories and burning more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Cardio helps in this goal but it’s not necessary. So yes, you can lose weight just by lifting weights.

This might lead you to some other questions I’ll go over now.

How Should I Be Lifting To Burn The Most Fat?

In general, when the goal is burning the most fat possible, using a program that uses supersets with high reps is the best way to do it.

Using a 3-day full-body training program will help you maintain the most muscle mass, burn the most fat, and have fun doing it!

Here’s a sample program I’ve used with clients in the past that helped them burn over 20 lbs in 10 weeks.

Day 1Day 2Day 3
Superset
Squat
3 Warmup Sets
3 Sets of 8-12 Reps
Superset
Bench
3 Warmup Sets
3 Sets of 8-20 Reps
Superset
Deadlift
3 Warmup Sets
3 Sets of 8-12 Reps
Dumbbell
Incline Bench
3 Sets of 8-20 Reps
Dumbbell Squat
3 Sets of 8-12 Reps
Dips
3 Sets of 8-20 Reps
Dumbbell Rows
3 Sets of 8-20 Reps
Dumbbell
Romanian Deadlifts
3 Sets of 8-12 Reps
Pullups
3 Sets of 8-20 Reps

The way this works is by performing a set of the main barbell movement, completing a set of the assistance exercise right after, and then resting. Then you do the barbell movement again, then switch to the second assistance exercise, and repeating.

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Squat 45×10

Dumbbell Incline Bench 25×20

Squat 95×5

Dumbbell Rows 50×18

Squat 135×5

Dumbbell Incline Bench 25×19

Squat 165×12

And so on…

This style of training will get you in shape quick. The main thing we want to be doing is pushing the sets 1 rep away from failure and increasing our sets every week. You might get to 10 sets of each exercise per workout before it’s too much.

The point is to increase how many calories you burn from weight training. When you start running into recovery issues, back the sets off and build back up. You can use different exercises such as lunges, pushups, pulldowns, dumbbell press, barbell rows, etc.

Just make sure they’re big compound movements that work the most muscle mass possible. You can also use variations for the main lifts; close-grip bench instead of a regular bench, trap bar deadlift instead of regular deadlifts, or even front squats instead of back squats.

As long as you’re progressing in weight, reps, and sets you’re on the right path.

3, 10-Minute Walks Per Day

I’ve gone over this concept many times in other articles but taking 3, 10-minute walks per day is a great way to burn extra calories. This shouldn’t feel like cardio, you’re just going for a brisk stroll to make sure you aren’t sitting around all day.

If you work a strenuous job and you’re on your feet all day you don’t need to do this. If you’re an office worker or work at home as I do, do the walks after every meal and your “cardio” is covered.

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You can also do the standard 10,000 steps a day thing but it’s really up to you and how much time you can commit per day.

Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky Instead Of Leaner?

This does NOT happen I promise!

A lot of times I hear people asking if lifting weights will make them bulky instead of leaner. Think about it like this, a lot of people out there have been working out for years without ever getting too bulky.

This comes down to your diet and training habits over months and years. You won’t get bulky overnight, it takes a ton of hard work and a calorie surplus for this to happen.

As long as you stay in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight without getting bulky. Don’t overeat and it’s literally impossible. When the time comes to build muscle in the future, you can eat in a slight surplus and build more muscle tissue.

Just going standard weight training won’t automatically make you bulky however so don’t worry about that whatsoever!

Easy Diet To Lose Weight

When it comes to losing body fat, you HAVE to be in a calorie deficit to lose body fat. If you’re not losing body fat then you’re not in a deficit.

There are a couple of ways you can do this.

  • The Hard Way Set up a calorie deficit, 200-500 calories and stick to it. Regardless of what you’re eating, do that and you’ll lose weight. Find a diet you can stick to, whether it’s Keto, Intermittent Fasting, or If It Fits Your Macros, you need something to guide your eating habits. Decrease calories again, only when your body weight has plateaued for more than 2 weeks.
  • The Easy Way (My Favorite) On off days, each meal needs to be composed of a lean protein source, a serving of fruit, and a serving of vegetables. On workout days, we do the exact same thing but we add a serving of carbs before, during, and after your workout. This helps with maintaining muscle mass and recovery. The other thing I recommend doing is drinking a protein shake in water before every meal. This will fill up your stomach and make it harder to overeat. By doing this, we ensure we’re getting enough protein and makes it really easy to lose weight.
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My client Alex has had a ton of success with this style of dieting. He incorporates Intermittent Fasting along with the basic diet setup. He drinks protein shakes before each meal, including before eating out at a restaurant and has routinely lost 10-20 lbs using this without counting a single calorie.

Benefits of Strength Training Over Cardio

By focusing on strength training, you can build muscle mass over the long term to increase your metabolism. The people that only do cardio end up skinny-fat unfortunately. They lose muscle and fat because their bodies have no reason to hold onto muscle tissue.

Using strength training to burn calories, maintain muscle mass, and lose weight is the best way you can do it. If you don’t do any strength training, you’re going to lose muscle and your body isn’t going to look the way you want it to.

Make sure to always prioritize weight training over cardio if you have the choice. It has much greater benefits, and when done with supersets, improves your cardiovascular health. All cardio can accomplish is burning calories and keep you healthy.

Weight training also improves bone density, connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments, and makes you harder to kill. (I made that last one up but it can probably be proven by science.) The number of times I’ve heard of people accumulating injuries from excessive cardio is insane.

Conclusion

As you can see from the article, it is absolutely possible to lose bodyweight without ever having to step on a treadmill.

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Sure it helps assist in burning calories and keeping your heart healthy, but weight training can do that and has many other benefits as well.

When setting up a plan to lose weight, if you have the choice between doing strength training and doing cardio, do the strength training. It will build muscle, bone density, and help burn calories as well.

Doing a ton of cardio is rarely the answer and I hope anybody reading this understands that as well.

For those that haven’t done it before, set up a program using my guidelines above. I’d love to hear the results you get from doing a weight loss program without cardio.

If you have any questions on this topic absolutely let me know!

Until next time,

-Dante Redgrave

danteredgrave

danteredgrave

I'm a Strength Coach and Content Creator with freedom on my mind! Without strength training, I hate to think of where I would be without it. What kind of person I would be, what kind of shape I would be in. It scares me, and that's why every day is a new chance to better myself. Anybody that's interested I am taking online clients now! Just shoot me an email and know you won't find a better deal online or offline. Guaranteed:)

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