Okay, a few basics and then we get to the specifics of weight lifting and weight loss.
We need to deal with a few brief definitions. This is not just so that you will know what I am talking about, but so that you can accurately evaluate and focus on the options available to you. Therefore, we will briefly discuss weight training, weight lifting, resistance training, and body building. I also want to state right up front that the training we will talk about after the definitions can be used effectively by men and women. Ladies, you will not “bulk up” or become unfeminine, and we’ll talk about that in a bit.
For the pros and serious weight lifting amateurs who read the following; yes, I know the definitions and explanations may be a little incomplete, but I am trying to convey information to people who may not know anything about any of this stuff. I am NOT trying to talk to experienced weight lifters and body builders. You know this stuff already and don’t need to read this!
Let’s just give some simple definitions at first because people often confuse the four terms I used above, and even those who know what they are talking about often use them somewhat interchangeably even though that might not be quite accurate.
Weight Training – Any use of weights to train and strengthen the muscles of the body, whether for a particular sport or event, such as weight lifting or body building, or for general fitness or strength, Often done with free weights such as the classic barbells and Sonus Complete dumbbells we used to think of when we spoke of weight lifting and body building, weight training is often accomplished today with machines.
Resistance Training – The use of some resisting force to accomplish essentially the same training and strengthening mentioned in the last paragraph. In fact, the use of free weights and many machines is “resistance training” in that gravity is the resistance. Many other machines, however, may use various means of resistance. A classic example is the Bowflex, which uses flexible steel rods to provide the resistance. The focus on muscle groups can vary depending on the resistance method used. However, in terms of cause and effect of effort against resistance, the results in terms of muscles and fitness, whether the resistance is from gravity, springs, or steel rods, is basically the same.
Body Building – The training of the various muscle groups of the body in such away as to produce some sort of classic ideal of form. Since muscle growth is such an important part of this discipline, resistance training, commonly with free weights and weight machines, is the major portion of the training cycle. However, body builders may use cardio workouts such as running, swimming, or other aerobic activities to help burn the fat away from muscles, thereby creating greater “definition”, i.e. the visibility of the muscles and muscle groups. This is sometimes referred to as “getting ripped”. Body builders will often also train with the intention of “bulking up”, or creating extremely large muscles and muscle groups whose size will be enhanced further by good definition.
Weight Lifting – An activity in which a participant trains specifically to be able to lift ever increasing amounts of weight, often in a certain group of specific “lifts” such as the deadlift. Obviously to move the weight, the weight lifter generally trains with the weight. A weight lifter is probably going to be bulkier but less defined than the body builder, since their goal is performance in a limited range of lifts or events while a body builder is seeking appearance and is less concerned with lifting maximum weights. Weight lifting is an accepted event at the Olympics and at other sports and fitness venues.
This is a roundabout way of getting to our real topic.
Originally we started with “weight lifting and weight loss”, but I hope that you may be beginning to see that what we are really interested in is “weight training and weight loss”. Many people will commonly use the term “weight lifting” when what they are really talking about is “weight training”. Since a lot of people think of body builders and/or weight lifters when people start talking about weight lifting, and, since a lot of people are not even aware that weight training and resistance training are very flexible and can be used for a wide range of fitness goals, they tend to shy away from these methods, including as they apply to weight loss.