Does Resistance Training Help You Burn Fat?

Dave_BettyeJo_logoAmong all the benefits of exercise, burning fat is one of the most sought-after exercise goals. Burning fat is commonly associated with cardio workouts, but do not be misled, resistance training can be equally effective.


Resistance training helps you burn fat directly and indirectly.

Directly, resistance training, also called strength training, can burn approximately 250 calories during a vigorous 30 minute workout.  Of the approximate 250 calories burned, about half of them (125) will be from fat.

Indirectly, resistance training helps the body burn fat by eliciting the release of natural hormones such as human growth hormone and testosterone.  These hormones play a large role in muscle hypertrophy (growth) and strength gained as a result of resistance exercise.

When muscle hypertrophy and strength increases, the body’s ability to burn calories increases due to the metabolically active nature of muscle.  This means that the more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to maintain its muscle since muscle tissue requires a lot of energy (calories) to perform work.   Thus, the added calorie demand comes from burning more fat.


Think of muscles like engines.  A V8 engine in a powerful sports car can burn fuel much faster than a 4 cylinder engine in the same car.   If both cars travel the same distance, the V8 engine will burn more fuel.

The same is true with muscle.  If two people walk the same distance, the person with more muscle (higher metabolic activity) will burn more total calories and fat calories.

In summary, resistance training will help you burn fat in two predominant ways;

1. Directly through calorie burning that occurs during the vigorous workout. About half the calories burned during resistance training come from fat.

2. Indirectly through hormone release and concurrent muscle and strength building, which promote an elevation in the body’s metabolic activity during everyday living. Plus, this indirect benefit of increasing muscle has been shown to give strength training a longer lasting effect to keep the body leaner than typical cardio workouts such as running.  (According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research).


About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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