Tired of being overweight or just not having the body you want? Have you considered relying on cardio training to be your savior for a healthy body composition? Well, cardio is actually not the best way to lose fat.
It has become so mainstream for many people to seek a treadmill or another high cardio exercise to get their body composition to where they want it to be. Have you been tricked by this common misconception? Why do you think that is? Maybe its because runners are slim? Or could it be you don’t know where to start and you’re just trying to do something?
Regardless, it is great that you have a desire to make a healthy change. Now, let's take that desire and turn it into action and get you on the right path!
Here is a quick blurb on diet as it pertains to fat loss, which is the main focus of this blog. Losing fat does not only happen in the gym. The majority of a lean physique comes from within the kitchen. If you’re grinding it out in the gym but eating out lots, drinking sugary drinks, pounding back alcohol or eating poor nutritionally dense food, then you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.
A balanced diet that is high in protein (gram per pound), healthy fats (polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, omegas) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains, sweet potatoes) will help your performance in the gym and lead to success with fat loss.
Now back to training, you need to break away from the cardio equipment and incorporate free weights into your workouts more frequently. Learn how to properly execute each exercise with proper form to prevent injuries down the road and improve performance for each lift. I prefer free weights over traditional machines because of the many benefits such as preventing muscular imbalances, balance, core development, muscle stabilizers and improved functionality.
Once you have mastered form (neutral spine, proper breathing, etc..) you need to get down and dirty in the gym. Each set should be mentally and physically tough, this way you are expending the most amount of calories on each set. Focus on training large muscle groups and multi-joint exercises, also known as compound exercises (Chin up vs bicep curl). These exercises will train multiple muscles at once burning more calories in a shorter period of time and driving muscle growth.
Resistance training is also another great way to aid you in fat loss. Muscle expends more calories at rest which is going to drive up your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate). This will turn you into a fat burning machine even when you are not at the gym.
Strength training comes with EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) this means a number of calories post exercises. This is different than just the required amount of calories to maintain muscle. EPOC is driving up your metabolism once you have left the gym. This will crank up your fat loss by expending several calories while you carry on with your day.
The idea behind this is to disrupt homeostasis or “equilibrium”. Your body has to burn several calories in order to bring it back to its baseline, or homeostasis.
Now that you’re weight training you will add on muscle mass, the extent of which you will gain will vary based on several factors: age, gender, diet, workout program, etc.. With the muscle you have now gained you will notice your clothes will fit much nicer, your body will be stronger. and you will also have a nice physique. Whereas with a strict cardio program, you will be quite lean with minimal lean mass gain, clothes could fit baggy and you may have joint pain from all the running.
Note: this is not bashing running or cardio training. It is solely to help you manage your time training to get the best results possible.
Also for females, taking part in a weight training program will not make your body appear 'masculine' so do not worry about getting “too big”. See our blog Weight Training for Women on this site for the reasoning behind this and to learn more!
In conclusion, add weight training into your program or seek professional help get you on the right path. Weight training will add many benefits to your health that strictly cardiovascular training will not. Hit the weights and find a passion that you may have never even of thought about.