Weight loss is most effectively achieved through a combination of BOTH cardiovascular exercise (i.e., treadmill, biking, swimming) and strength training. The calories you burn during workouts are inconsequential to your overall body weight or body fat content! Instead, it is how well you use your exercise time to reprogram your daily physiology that matters.
While the cardio will get your heart rate up and burn calories, strength training is important, too – in part because it helps to build lean body mass, which can bump up your metabolic rate. Adding even a few pounds of lean muscle will increase the number of calories your body burns each and every day. When you perform strength training, you’re burning additional calories for a much longer period of time than if you merely do cardio exercise.
Muscles are like ” far furnaces” they burn calories…
Focusing only on cardio and skipping strength training could actually make it harder for you to lose weight. In fact, you may even gain weight – especially if your cardio workouts exceed 45 minutes. If you do cardio too long, your body consumes muscle for energy. For most people, that “too long” mark is at about 45 minutes. Done over and over again, day after day, this excess cardio could have a substantial impact on your body – and the muscle loss could decrease your metabolism and result in weight gain.
Why step up your Strength Training as you age?
“By your mid-30s, most people still look young, but are already experiencing the BIG Three of aging: deteriorating lean muscle mass, worsening posture, and crumbling joints” say Robert Forster, Physical Therapist and PT.
Many people say that, as they age, they eat and exercise the same amount but still gain weight. One of the main causes of this is loss of muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Strength training preserves and even increases muscle mass, keeping metabolism at a high level.
Step up your strength training, that is 3 times a weeks for 30 minutes.
Everyone, no matter how young or old, should be doing some kind of regular strength training. Options:
At gym with equipment.
At class with weights.
At fit camp using own body weight.
At home using youtube videos, using own body weight.
At the swimming pool with Aquafit.
At home using the 24 Fit DVDs, with resistance bands and dumbbells. A 24 week programme, with 3 phases and 3 levels of difficulty.
An effective exercise programme to lose weight will include regular strength training and cardio workouts, done either separately or together, depending on your schedule and goals.