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Health / Fitness

Heavy or light weights for fat loss?

The best type of weight training for fat loss, is any form of weight training

You don’t need to be lifting lighter weights for higher reps to elicit fat loss.

For as long as fitness and workout regimes have existed, there has always been a misconception when it comes to fat loss and weight training. The common assumption is: weight training makes you pack on the pounds.

This is just not true.

The next assumption is: heavy weights makes you bulkier, meaning you’ll put on weight and muscle, while lighter weights and higher reps makes you more defined, and will generate greater levels of fat loss.

This is nothing but a myth. You don’t need to be lifting lighter weights for higher reps to elicit fat loss. That’s just incorrect. And here’s why.

It doesn’t actually matter whether you’re lifting light or heavy. As long as you are working the muscles hard enough, working at your optimum capacity, and eating the right amount of calories for your goals, you will strip fat.

The main point is, you need a targeted weight training programme and nutrition plan in place: everything else starts from there.

The reason for weight training is simple. We either want to grow or muscle or we want to burn some serious calories.

You don’t need to be lifting lighter weights for higher reps to elicit fat loss.

Sweat it out

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For our bodies to consume and burn the calories we’ve given them, we have to make our muscles hungry for those calories. And this is why we pump iron and get our heart rates going.

When we do this we are already kick-starting the body into burning fat (assuming that you haven’t spent the whole day eating pizza) Remember, the basic principle is this: we need the body to burn more calories than we are consuming. That is an important part of the fat loss puzzle.

Firstly, we need to have a daily calorie intake goal. The average male burns around 2,500 kcal a day. Which means that the intake should be around 2,200 kcal if he wants to lose weight. Add training to this and you have a winning recipe.

(To compare, for the average female this figure is around 2,000 kcal burned per day. Which means she will be consuming around 1,700 kcal a day in order to lose some weight.)

Hendrik Hoogenboezem, Bare — train black coach.


It’s not rocket science: to lose weight, you either have to burn more calories and be more active or you have to consume less calories than you are currently.

Exercise will be extra calories that you burn and that will also activate your muscles and metabolism.

Now this is where the difference comes into play: how much do you eat? All food we consume has a calorie count to it. We can find all this information and stats on the internet. Saying this, if I know I burn an average of 2,000 calories per day. I need to consume a calorie deficit of within 500 calories under my 2,000 calories I burn per day. I would say 1,700 kcal would be a good number then.

On the flip side, if you want to gain muscle, you have to consume a surplus of calories. That would mean around 2,300 kcal per day, bearing in mind that we need the protein to stay high and smaller portions of carbs and fats.

So, when it’s all said and done, there is no “right” way of weight training for fat loss. It all starts and ends with your diet. Get that, add in some dedicated weight training with a specific goal, and you’re onto a lean and muscular winner

Hendrik Hoogenboezem, the writer, is the head coach of Black Train at Bare Fitness in Dubai.

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