How Many Calories Does Weightlifting Burn?

By: Brian Wargula

Strength Training & Weight Loss

Want to lose weight but can’t bring yourself to do endless cardio? The sweating, the burn, the knee pain––let’s face it, cardio can be really intimidating especially when you are first embarking on new weight loss goals. Good news: strength training may be more crucial than you think. Weight lifting plays an integral role when it comes to shedding unwanted pounds. Research shows while cardio might help you burn calories while you workout, strength training provides long-lasting calorie burning action throughout your day. This is because having more lean mass vs. fat mass will increase your metabolic rate, ultimately leading to burning more calories. 

Strength training focuses on building lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass increases metabolism and caloric burn at rest. Higher metabolism means higher fat burning overall.

Cardio alone can actually inhibit weight loss because it may lead to muscle loss as well. It can be especially dangerous if you go too long and too hard with cardio on a caloric deficit. This is because as cardio depletes your energy your body will start to break down your muscles into usable energy. It’s important to keep this question in mind: how many calories should I burn a day? And consider your caloric input and output carefully. 

Best Types of Weight Training For Weight Loss

More good news: these are types of weight training that anyone at any level can do to start losing weight today. No matter what your goals are, it's important to start strength training with safety in mind. It can be very easy to get injured if you add too much weight too fast or don’t stretch properly before beginning a workout. Here are the best types of strength training to get your weight loss journey started: 

  • Powerlifting
    • Focused on lifting the MAX weights for only a few reps to increase overall brute strength
  • Circuit
    • Focused on lighter amounts of weight with quick, hi-rep bursts of a variety of moves
  • Isometric weight
    • Focused on increasing stamina by holding weights steadily instead of focusing on movement (i.e. kettlebell walks)
  • High-volume
    • Focused on performing one exercise at a time with mid reps and high sets to increase muscular endurance
  • Bodybuilding
    • Focused on one muscle group per workout with mid-range reps (~8 - 12) and heavy weights

Weightlifting Moves To Try For Fast Results 

Ready to really start crushing it in the weight room or in your home gym? All you need for these exercises are a couple of barbells and your mat. These are a few of the best weightlifting moves for weight loss. Add more weight and variety like kettlebells to really maximize your weight loss with weightlifting: 

  • Five best weightlifting moves for weight loss
    • Squats w/barbell or dumbbells
      • Works multiple lower body muscles and some back muscles
  • Deadlifts
    • A dynamic movement that’s simple but effective
      • Also boost heart rate, which can boost the fat burning process
  • Kettlebell swings
    • Engages core, glutes, and legs
      • The continuous motion helps keep your heart rate up
  • Incline bench press
    • Works the upper body, but also requires the legs for balance and extra resistance
      • Pro tip: use individual dumbbells instead of a barbell to help isolate and balance the muscles on your strong & weak side
  • Barbell lunge
    • After a few reps, your legs will be screaming - which means you’re hitting that fat burning zone by pushing yourself to the limits (safely

So How Many Calories Does Weightlifting Burn?

In general, the amount of calories that you can expect to burn for every 30 minutes of weightlifting is between 90 and 126 calories on average. This depends on a few factors like your starting body weight, current fitness level, and what intensity you are working at. But losing weight isn’t just about exercise - you need to make sure you’ve got well-rounded nutrition, too. Consuming protein within 30 minutes after workout to help speed up the muscle repair process, and helps you ultimately build more lean muscle tissue. 

As always, high quality and good ingredients are key when adding a protein supplement to your routine. Transformation Protein powder is a fast and easy way to add high-quality protein to your diet. From protein smoothie bowls to shakes, you can enjoy Transformation Protein in many delicious ways—making it easier for you to configure the right amount for building muscle, losing or maintaining weight.