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How Long Do I Have to Lift Weights to Lose Weight?

A Trainer Says This Is How Long You Have to Lift Weights to Lose Weight

Photographer: Benjamin StoneRestrictions: Editorial and internal use only. No advertising, no print.
Whether you're lifting weights, doing HIIT workouts, or another style of training, you're going to need to be consistent with your program and eating clean in order to lose weight. If you've been lifting weights for more than a month and feel like you aren't seeing results, don't fret. Weight loss doesn't happen overnight, and the amount of weight each individual loses will vary based on genetics, their initial weight, the style of training they're doing, and their diet. Stephen Cheuk, New York City based personal trainer and founder of S10 Training, spoke with POPSUGAR about the best weightlifting practices one should follow to lose weight.

"Under the assumption nutrition is 100 percent during this process [weightlifting], it really depends on the weight and body fat of each woman," Stephen told POPSUGAR. If a woman is already lean (18 to 28 percent body fat) and at a healthy weight range, she can lose anywhere between 0.5 and 0.8 percent of body fat in a week and lose 0.5 to one pound of weight in a week. After doing the math, this means if you're trying to lose 10 pounds, it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 weeks.

If you're new to strength training and have a body fat percentage higher than 28 percent, you'll "typically drop body fat and weight quicker in the beginning," Stephen said. Being that each person will adapt differently, there's no exact amount of weight you'll lose a week, but Stephen said it can be a minimum of one percent of body fat or one pound per week.


In order to lose fat and build muscle, Stephen said absolute beginners should start with two sessions a week, doing three to five sets of 10-15 reps per exercise. If you have experience strength training, Stephen advised training three times a week, doing five sets of 10 reps per exercise, and focusing on your tempo — taking 45 to 60 seconds to complete a set. A program for someone more advanced would require "more variation and periodization (strategic training phases) . . . training five times a week, working with strict tempo, rest time, and variations in sets and rep schemes," Stephen explained.

When it comes to exact exercises, Stephen said that beginners should do compound exercises (multiple muscle groups being utilized at the same time) "that hit all the major movement patterns" like squats, push-ups, and rows. For those that are more advanced, Stephen suggested doing exercises you typically don't do (this will help prevent a plateau), along with variations of exercises you have been doing. For example, if you always do squats try advancing to single-leg squats, and once your body adapts, switch it up again.

Start strength training today with any of the following programs:

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