Whether your goal is to gain weight, maintain weight, or lose weight, prioritizing strength training is the way to go. The stronger you are overall at any given body weight, the more muscle and less fat you’ll carry.
If weight loss is your goal, I urge you to think of it as “fat loss” rather than “general weight loss.” The goal is not to just be a proportionately smaller version of your current self and potentially end up being “skinny-fat,” it is to lose as much fat as possible and retain as much muscle as possible.
In some circumstances it is possible to build muscle while losing significant amounts of weight, but this usually only applies to beginners, those using performance enhancing drugs, or those returning to training after a long lay-off.
For fat loss, adjust your caloric intake and macros according to your goals, which usually involves maintaining protein intake and reducing carbohydrate and fat intake. A caloric deficit can be created from diet alone, however, additional exercise can be valuable as well. There is a fine line between optimal amounts of exercise and excessive amounts, so be aware that too much conditioning work can sabotage your progress.
For fat loss, you rely on diet and possibly cardio/conditioning to create a caloric deficit, and you rely on heavy strength training to stave off losses in muscle mass and metabolic rate. Resistance training obviously burns calories, but it is important to think of it as strength training so you avoid treating it like circuit training.
If you prefer, conditioning work can involve traditional resistance training equipment and exercises via barbell complexes, ultra-high reps, non-stop circuits with no rest periods, combination movements, and other finishers, but these are not mandatory. They can be tacked onto the end of your strength training sessions, but make sure you choose joint-friendly options that do not compromise your recovery and hamper your strength training.
Basic heavy strength training prioritizing compound movements with some high rep targeted movements sprinkled in is the best approach to hypertrophy training. What builds muscle best during periods of caloric surpluses also maintains muscle best during periods of caloric deficits. More muscle equals less fat, better shape, and a higher metabolism.
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