How does workout promote weight loss?

How does workout promote weight loss?

What promotes weight loss?

There are many factors that affect your weight. The needle on your scale depends on the diet you are receiving, the genetic predispositions you have inherited or your age. However, if your goal is to lose fat, you should focus on three key aspects that you should introduce into your life as soon as possible.

Calorie deficit

Calories are units of energy that you get from food and drinks. The primary factor in losing weight is to adjust your calorie intake. If you want to lose extra kilograms, your calorie intake should not exceed your recommended daily calorie intake, but on the contrary, it should be lower. You can also reduce your intake by effective exercise during which you burn a few calories.

In practice, it looks like this: The average woman should take approximately 2000 kcal a day to maintain her current weight. If she wanted to lose at least 0.45 kg per week, her daily intake should be approximately 1500 kcal. This can be achieved either by switching to a lower-calorie diet or adding calorie expenditure to her average 2000 calories per day in the form of exercise. If she performed daily activities such as running, cycling or exercising, during which she would burn 500 kcal, her daily intake would decrease. This means that: 2000 kcal-500 kcal = 1500 kcal per day = 3500 kcal per week = – 0.45 kg per week. [1]

The calories you burn every day include the following three components:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) –  refers to the calories that your body burns at rest for vital functions such as breathing or blood circulation.
  • Thermic effect of foodthese are calories that your body burns by digesting, absorbing and metabolizing food.
  • Thermogenic physical activitiescalories that you burn during sports, working out or other non-exercise activities, including doing housework. [1]
What promotes weight loss?

Physical activity

The most important factor for achieving weight loss is the already mentioned calorie deficit. However, if you are unable to keep up with lower calorie intake, you should focus on higher expenditure and literally burn calories from your body. Many studies even suggest that lower calorie intake is not sustainable in the long run, meaning that it does not lead to long-term weight loss. It is the combination of optimal daily calorie intake and subsequent calorie burning by physical activity that stands behind the success of long-term sustainable weight loss. [3]

In addition, regular physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, which are common in overweight and inactive people. However, if you only lost weight by reducing your calories without exercising, you would probably lose too much muscle mass. This is because when you reduce your calorie intake, your body will look for a different source of energy, which is not just fats but also muscle proteins. The resulting effect will be weight loss, but your body will not be strengthened and strong enough. [3]

Weight loss - physical activity

Quality sleep

Lack of sleep or its low quality has several negative effects on your weight. It may cause:

  • weight gain and obesitypoor-quality sleep has been repeatedly associated with higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain. Therefore, sleep is a major risk factor for weight gain and obesity.
  • increased appetite  – many studies have found that people suffering from sleep deprivation have an increased appetite. This is probably due to the impact of sleep on two important hormones – ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin signals hunger in the brain, with levels high before eating when the stomach is empty and low immediately after eating. Leptin, in turn, suppresses hunger and signals satiety in the brain. If you do not get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin, so your appetite increases.
  • Increased calorie intake – people with poor-quality sleep tend to consume more calories the next day. One study found that participants who slept only 4 hours a day ate more calories the next day than participants with a full eight-hour sleep cycle. This increase in calories can be caused by increased appetite but also by unhealthy food choices. [14] 
  • reduction of Basal Metabolic RateBMR is the number of calories your body burns when you are completely at rest. Research suggests that lack of sleep can reduce your BMR. [2] [13]  
Weight loss - quality sleep

How does workout promote weight loss?

Most people reach for various diets or fully indulge in exercise when trying to lose weight. However, one of the aspects that is overlooked during exercise is strength training. People trying to lose weight tend to prefer cardio sports such as running or cycling, which ensure rapid weight loss. Many times, however, they do not realize that if they desire a slimmer waist, a nicer buttocks or thinner thighs, cardio training is not enough. So what is the difference between cardio and strength training with respect to weight loss?

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Cardio exercise is usually a full body workout that is characterized by a faster heart rate. Among other things, it is also responsible for the increased sweating and thus the burning of calories. The more intense the cardio training, the faster the fat burning. However, keep in mind that along with fat, you can also lose muscle mass during this type of exercise. Specifically, the body does not usually strengthen muscle mass during cardio training, therefore it’s being lost. For this reason, cardio exercises are combined with strength ones so that one manages to lose weight while supporting the strengthening of muscle mass. [4]

Many studies even suggest that cardiovascular exercise is not recommended for people who are overweight or obese. Their hearts are burdened with a lot of fat in the body, so high-intensity training could disrupt their already quite compromised health. It is therefore better for obese people to start with strength training or combine it with a lighter form of cardio, such as walking or hiking. [4] [5] 

How does workout promote weight loss?

See our chart for a better overview of how many calories an average 70-kilogram man can lose during an hour of various intense cardio exercises: [6]

Type of intense cardio workout
The average number of calories burned per hour
Running – 8 km/h590 kcal
Cycling – 16 km/h590 kcal
Swimming – mix of styles, average speed510 kcal
Aerobics480 kcal
Walk – 7.2 km/h460 kcal
Kickbox450 kcal

Strength Training

Although, in general, cardio workouts can burn more calories than strength training, you should definitely not skip it. It has some really great benefits, which you will definitely appreciate when losing weight. Did you know that 0.45 kg of muscle burns about 10 to 20 calories a day, while 0.45 kg of fat burns only 5 calories? However, it is not an immediate burning, because in strength training, burning occurs subsequently after training, i.e. during the period of muscle building. So why shouldn’t you neglect strength training during weight loss? [4]

Strength training increases long-term calorie burning while resting (BMR)

While you burn calories during cardio training at the moment of exercise, this is not the case with strength training. Muscle regeneration and their growth in the rest period after strength training is a very effective fat burner. For this reason, it is commonly said that building muscle is the key to increasing your resting metabolism, which indicates how many calories you burn at rest.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is actually the amount of calories you would burn if you lay in bed all day and did nothing but breathe. Men generally have much more muscle mass than women. For this reason, it is more difficult for men to gain weight at rest and women tend to have more fat stores. [7] [8]

One study measured BMR levels in participants who had been doing strength training for 24 weeks. In men, there was an increase in muscle mass and at the same time an increase in BMR. Women, on the other hand, experienced a lower increase in BMR. Research has also shown that a few hours after strength training, the body’s ability to burn calories increases. Further research has shown that there is no further fat burning several hours after cardio training, i.e. in the resting phase. Cardio workout only offers instant burning.

In fact, it is shown that resting metabolism remains elevated up to 38 hours after strength training, while no such increase has been recorded in connection to cardio workout. In short, this means that burning calories is not limited to exercise. You can burn them several hours or days after training.  [7] [8] [9]

Strength training increases long-term calorie burning while resting (BMR)

It tones the figure

Another benefit of strength training over cardio is that it helps you not only lose weight but also strengthen your body. Cardio does not only remove fat from your body, but also your muscles. By strength training, on the contrary, you strengthen them and your body takes on the right contours. In addition, with strength training, you can focus on specific areas you want to exercise and strengthen. This is not allowed by most cardio exercises. During strength training, you may also encounter the fact that the needle on your scale will rise. However, you should not worry about anything. Muscles weigh more than fat, but that doesn’t mean you’re not getting the results you want. The best critic will be your own eyes and a mirror where you can watch your progress and your figure with astonishment. [10]

Strength Training - tones the figure

It is best to combine strength and cardio training

In general, if you long for weight loss and fitness figure, it is best to combine cardio training with strength training. You will achieve immediate and post-workout calorie burning at the same time, and you will also strengthen your muscle mass. [4]

One study divided overweight adults into two groups. One group did only cardio, the other combined cardio and strength training. Almost the same weight loss was seen in both groups after eight months. However, the group that combined cardio and strength training gained a higher percentage of muscle mass.  [4] [11]

Overall, the cardio + strength training group had the best changes in body composition. They lost weight, fat and at the same time gained muscle mass. This shows that a cardio and strength training plan can be the best means of losing weight and strengthening your body. [11]

It is best to combine strength and cardio training

A few tips on how to maximize weight loss training

There is more tips you can include in your workout to maximize your performance and promote weight loss as much as possible. [12] Try:

  • to move faster between exercises
  • to increase the number of reps
  • heavier weights – of course, as much as your body allows, the goal is not to injure yourself
  • to add a five-minute cardiovascular exercise between strength exercises

These methods work precisely because they increase heart rate, which means greater energy consumption. As a result, calories are burned faster.

Whether you decide to add any physical activity to your plan on your weight-loss journey, you will definitely make it easier. Calorie deficit due to physical activity is what will keep your body healthy and full of strength. However, if you want not only to lose fat, but also to strengthen your muscles, do not forget about strength training. As we stated in the article, working out really supports weight loss and helps maintain a fit figure. If you liked the article, we would be thankful if you could share it.


[1] Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD – What Is a Calorie Deficit, and How Much of One Is Healthy? –

[2] McCall Minnor – 7 Things That Affect Your Weight (Besides Diet and Exercise) –

[3] Helen West, RD (UK) – Does Exercise Help You Lose Weight? The Surprising Truth –

[4] Grant Tinsley, PhD – Cardio vs. Weight Lifting: Which Is Better for Weight Loss? –

[5] Dennis T. Villareal, M.D., Lina Aguirre, M.D., A. Burke Gurney, Ph.D., P.T., Debra L. Waters, Ph.D., David R. Sinacore, Ph.D., P.T., Elizabeth Colombo, M.D., Ph.D., Reina Armamento-Villareal, M.D., and Clifford Qualls, Ph.D. – Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults –

[6] Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight –

[7] Rebekah Baumgardner – Metabolism: Popular Myths And 9 Easy Ways To Rev It Up! –

[8] Pratley R, Nicklas B, Rubin M, Miller J, Smith A, Smith M, Hurley B, Goldberg A. – Strength training increases resting metabolic rate and norepinephrine levels in healthy 50- to 65-yr-old men. –

[9] E. L. Melanson – The effect of exercise on non-exercise physical activity and sedentary behavior in adults –

[10] Chris Goulet – The Myth Of TONING! –

[11] Willis LH, Slentz CA, Bateman LA, Shields AT, Piner LW, Bales CW, Houmard JA, Kraus WE – Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. –

[12] Rachael Link, MS, RD – The 14 Best Ways to Burn Fat Fast –

[13] Caroline Pullen, MS, RD – 7 Ways Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight –

[14] Brondel L, Romer MA, Nougues PM, Touyarou P, Davenne D. – Acute partial sleep deprivation increases food intake in healthy men. –

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