How To Lose Weight Without Running [Do These 3 Exercises Instead]

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Are you tired of running in an effort to lose weight?

I’m sure you are.

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours on a treadmill anymore. Exercise can be a very powerful tool to help you burn fat and decrease the number on the scale, provided you do it correctly.

It all starts with using the right exercises.

Today, we will teach you how to lose weight without running.

This is the second installment of the WCT series on weight loss.

In Part 1 of this series, Any Diet Plan To Lose Weight Must Follow This 1 Rule we discuss the key components of eating for weight loss. I highly recommended that you read that post first, as your diet will contribute the vast majority of your weight loss success.

This post will cover: 

  • The role exercise plays in weight loss and how to use it to your advantage
  • The relationship between muscle mass and fat mass
  • 3 amazing exercises to help you lose weight
  • Simple workout strategies that you can use to help boost your weight loss


First a little disclaimer

I cannot stress enough that people who are successful at losing weight approach the problem from several different angles.

Exercise, diet, nutrition, movement, stress and sleep are all areas that contribute to weight gain. This post will focus on non-dietary strategies that you can use to help you to lose weight, namely exercise.


Do I Have to Exercise or Run to Lose Weight?

The quick answer is no, however exercise can be a powerful tool to help you lose weight provided you do it correctly.

Through exercise, you can increase your strength and lean muscle mass, both of which will increase your basal metabolic rate and your fat burning potential.

Thankfully, its not complicated to do so.

Unfortunately, there is a ton of misinformation out there. With so many fitness experts out there, how could you possibly know what the best methods to lose weight are?

You could probably discard most of what you’ve been told about weight loss.

Let’s start with the basics.

When you exercise, your body has to use up large amounts of energy to be able to produce force when compared to when you are at rest. Initially, your body will use up carbohydrate-based energy in the form of glycogen, to fuel itself during the physical activity.

After these carbohydrate sources are depleted, your body will then shift to using your most prominent source of energy- fat cells. Through a process known as beta oxidation, your body will metabolize the stored energy in the fat to keep you moving.

In order for this process to occur, you have to work out for ~60-90 minutes, as that’s how long it takes for your body to go through all of the glycogen.

That is a long time.

Most people assume that the best way to burn fat is to spend countless hours on the treadmill. 


60-90 minutes is pretty long time commitment that you have to make in order to begin burning fat. In my honest opinion, I think its a waste of time. We wrote an entire article on it: Is Cardio Actually Necessary? 5 Reasons Why I Think Cardio Is A Waste Of Time.

So why am I telling you this? The point is, your body can and will burn fat for energy if it needs to.

Thankfully there is a better way.

What if I told you that we can hack our body to continuously use up more energy long after you have finished working out?

As a busy individual, it is important to learn the methods that are both efficient and easy to implement. Your work and personal life are already busy enough; fitness doesn’t have to be another complicated process.

The days of having to go to the gym for hours and hours are over.


Simple Exercise Strategies for Weight Loss

So if cardio is not a useful exercise to lose weight, then what is?

You need to perform exercises that will increase your basal metabolic rate.

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy that your body needs just to keep you alive. Even if you sat down on your couch all day, your body is still burning through calories o keep your brain and all of your other major organs working.

The more you move, the more energy your body will need.

The most effective ways of increasing your basal metabolic rate include:

  1.  Increase your lean muscle mass- muscles are metabolically expensive
  2.  Perform workouts that are conducive to fat loss
  3.  Keep your body in motion
  4.  Consume nutrient dense foods often, on a regular schedule

We will talk about each one of these topics individually.  Today we will discuss how to increase your muscle mass


Does Muscle Burn or Replace Fat?

Muscles do not burn fat.

They burn calories. If you increase your muscle mass, you will burn more calories at rest, and increase your potential to burn fat. Regularly using your muscles will burn even more calories.

The actual number of calories burned per pound of muscle is small, which corroborates the fact that diet will still be much more important than any workout routine.

With that said, increasing your muscle mass will help you reap a few other benefits as well.


The Benefits of Increased Lean Muscles Mass:

– Injury prevention: Muscles protect and strengthen your bones and joints, decreasing your risk of fractures

– Overall Strength: More lean muscle mass = more strength, which always has useful real-world applicability

– Increased Self Esteem: No one’s self-esteem has ever gone down from having more lean muscle. It’s always the complete opposite.

– Increased Basal Metabolic Rate: They burn more energy/calories at rest, albeit a small amount

– Fat Loss: The more you use your muscles, the more energy they will consume, helping to burn fat

Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky?

Too many people forgo exercise because they “don’t want to get bulky.”

If only it were that easy.

Don’t worry, you will never get bulky from exercise alone. Building large amounts of muscle mass are extremely difficult and require a tremendous amount of dedication. If it were easy, everyone who regularly goes to the gym would be huge. Just like weight loss, your diet is what makes up a large contribution to bulky muscle mass.

So yes, you can go to the gym and lift weights without fear.

When I say increasing your muscle mass, I am referring to developing and strengthening the large muscles groups that allow you to move.

The best way to increase your muscle mass is to use big compound exercises that have a very large range of motion.

The two best exercises of all time- the Squat and the Deadlift are prime examples of compound exercises that have a large range of motion and build an insane amount of lean muscle tissue.

The Bench press and Overhead Press round out the lineup for the Best Upper Body Exercises.

These movements are Expensive!

This means that they require a lot of energy and metabolic resources to perform them. A very high number of muscles have to be activated in order to perform these exercises.

As discussed in the 3 Basic Principles of Exercise Everyone Ought To Know  it is important to do these exercises to in a slow progressive manner. That way, you decrease your chance of injury, and you allow your body to slowly adapt to the new strength levels.

So without further ado, let’s go over 3 Amazing Exercises To Help You Lose Weight!


Apply These 3 Amazing Exercises To Your Weight Loss Program

As expensive as the squat, deadlift, overhead press and bench press are, there is another way of making these exercises even more expensive.

You can increase the range of motion of the compound exercises even further, activating more muscles and increasing the energy needed to perform them.


Weight Loss Exercise #1 Thruster

One simple way to turn a compound exercise into an even more expensive exercise is to combine an overhead press and a squat pattern. This will increasing the distance the weight has to travel and the amount of energy it needs to accomplish it.

Thrusters can be done with dumbbells, with kettle-bells and with a barbell. I will warn you, this exercise is not for the faint hearted.


Weight Loss Exercise #2 Power Cleans

The second exercise combines a deadlift and a shrug. This is all done is one smooth motion (where the weight is propelled up to your clavicles after each Deadlift rep). Again, this increases the distance the weight travels, which increases the amount of energy needed to do it.

The Power clean can become even more expensive if you add a squat with each clean, an exercise known as Squat Cleans.


Weight Loss Exercise #3 Snatch Grip Deadlifts

The third exercise is the simplest. In this exercise, we increase the range of motion of the deadlift, which significantly increases the difficulty of the exercise and makes it that much more effective at building muscle.

We do this by widening our grip as much as possible: AKA the Snatch Grip Deadlift.

It is ideal to perform this exercise with light weights and with attention to form. If done correctly, this exercise will leave you feeling out of breath and sore just about all over.


As you could imagine, these 3 exercises are Really Expensive Exercises.

Compare these exercises to a bicep curl, or a tricep kickback. How much energy and fat breakdown could possibly be occurring from these exercises? 

Isolation exercises such as these, train tiny muscles in a very short range of motion. You will never burn any significant amount of energy (or fat) using these kinds of exercises. We have written a post about 9 Horrible Exercises You Should Never Do, because many of them are simply a waste of time.


A Powerful Weight Loss Exercise Program for Busy People

It is important to use a mix of expensive exercises to increase your muscle mass and really expensive exercises to increase your fat burning capabilities.

For the Expensive Exercises, it is important to stick to the Combination and Hypertrophy rep ranges discussed in Creating Quick and Effective Workout Routines.

For the Really Expensive Exercises, it’s best to use a moderate amount of weight, coupled with higher repetitions. Do 3-4 sets of approximately 12-15 repetitions per set. It is also important to keep the rest periods short, which will keep your heart rate and metabolic requirements high.

Below is a sample routine you can use – or you can follow our pre-made workout program!

HIIT is discussed in detail here 

Now Go Use Exercise To Help You Lose Weight

I hope that the arguments presented here will motivate you to use the muscles that your mother gave you.

In a nutshell

  • Exercise is not necessary to lose weight, however it can be used as a powerful tool to aid in fat burning
  • Increased lean muscle mass can increase your basal metabolic rate, but not to a significantly high level. Therefore, diet will always be more important than exercise
  • You should utilize large compound exercises to build muscle mass, and increase the distance the weight has to travel in these exercises to make them even more expensive.

Now we turn it over to you.

Have you used strength training in the past to help with weight loss? What did you do? 

Have you noticed a significant improvement in your metabolism when lifting weights?

Have you ever done Thrusters, Squat Cleans or Snatch Grip Deadlifts?

Comment below and let us know.

Be sure to check out Part 3 of The WCT series on weight loss where we discuss cardio.

How effective is cardio in helping you weight loss? It can be very helpful, but only if you use the right kind of cardio. You can find it at A Superior Form Of Cardio For Weight Loss [The 15 Minute Workout] where we show you the best ways of losing weight and burning fat.

Get exclusive strategies on how to diet & exercise (with an 80-hour workweek) that we only share with email subscribers!

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Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, NASM CPTs, health & fitness experts, and founders of The White Coat Trainer: a site dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy professionals. Their advice has been featured on KevinMD, The Doctor Weighs In, My Fitness Pal, Reader's Digest, Livestrong, and The Active Times. Learn more about them here.

Learn More About Them Here

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