When you're on a mission to lose weight and get healthy, it can sometimes feel like every calorie counts. Although it's not a good idea to get caught up in counting each and every calorie you consume or burn, it's nice to have a general sense of what your input and output is. We know that strength training is essential for weight loss; it helps you build lean muscle mass, which in turn allows you to shed more fat in the long run. But do you ever wonder how many calories you're burning when you hit the weights?
There definitely isn't a one-size-fits-all type of answer for this, but we can give you an pretty good idea of what you're burning. According to Harvard Medical School, if you weigh 125 pounds, a 30-minute weightlifting session will burn about 90 calories. In that same amount of time, a 155-pound person burns 112 calories, and a 185-pound person burns 133 calories.
However, quality over quantity matters when it comes to strength training. A 2014 study from Arizona State University found that some exercises burn more calories than others. For example, lunges, crunches, and pull-ups burn a hell of a lot more than something like bicep curls or donkey kicks.
The study found that lunges burned 9.33 calories per minute, pull-ups burned 9.95 calories per minute, push-ups burned 8.56 calories per minute, and crunches burned 4.09 calories per minute. Keep in mind, though, that this study only surveyed "twelve healthy men with a minimum of one year of resistance training experience," so we don't know how this would translate to a woman's body.
OK, you're probably getting a bit freaked out and wondering why you're not burning nearly as many calories when you're lifting weights as when you're running. But remember that the calorie burn from weightlifting doesn't only happen during the workout.
"Weight loss is a simple principle based on a healthy caloric deficit. Weightlifting raises your resting metabolic rate, which simply means the amount of calories your body burns in and out of the gym increases," Ridge Davis, personal trainer in West Hollywood, CA, explained to POPSUGAR. He says just one hour of strength training "will increase the amount of calories you burn the entire day, making it easier to stay in a caloric deficit."
So it's worth it to switch it up and lift weights a couple times a week, especially if you're a cardio junkie. Sure, you may not burn as many calories while you're doing your squats and lunges as you would from a run, but those exercises are still doing a lot for you and your weight-loss goals. You'll burn more calories for the rest of the day, shed more fat, and develop that gorgeous muscle tone you've been working toward.