Most people believe that if you want to lose fat, you only need to do cardio. And if you’re looking to build muscles, you must do strength training.
But, is this true?
In this article, I explain how you can use strength training to burn fat, and why it’s the best for keeping it off.
The common myth that lifting weights is only useful for building muscle, whereas cardio is for burning fat has refused to die.
But, what I’ve found is that most people will fall at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Either they enjoy lifting weights and hate cardio or they love cardio and don’t like weight training.
The goal, thus, is to find a sweet middle ground. This can be a bit tricky for some people but it is possible.
Finding a Perfect Balance
Usually, we don’t gain any muscle mass when we do cardiovascular exercises such as running, dancing or swimming.
Of course, we improve our cardiovascular fitness, become healthier, build a functional body, and can also lose body fat.
But when we do strength training, we gain muscle mass and lose body fat. And these two reasons are the most important goals for anyone looking to change their physique.
Weight training is so unique because it benefits your body in ways that no other form of exercise does.
- You can only improve your bone density by lifting weights.
- You can build more lean mass.
- You can improve your strength which is vital for everyday activities.
Also, weight training helps you lose fat. This is something that was previously thought to only come from doing cardio.
Beware of the Scale
If you want to change the way your body looks, then you don’t want to focus too much on the number on the scale.
Your scale weight doesn’t give you a complete picture. It only gives you a round figure that doesn’t mean anything.
The biggest problem with weight loss is that most people only focus on the scale as their only metric to track progress. They want to lose weight and they don’t care what the number on the scale means.
Weight loss can occur because of several different reasons. Your weight might fluctuate because you’re losing fat, or losing muscle, or even water.
So, stop fixating on the number on the scale.
Instead, think about other changes that are happening in your body. Focus on your clothes are fitting, how your body feels, and how you’re able to move well the more you work out.
Slow but Lasting Results
If you want to lose weight and decide to join a gym, you’ll notice faster weight loss from doing cardio than weight training.
You’ll get quick results from cardio in the short term because you burn more calories when you’re doing it.
Weight training is the complete opposite. When you’re done with your session, your body keeps on burning calories even at rest.
When you lift weights, you build muscle. Muscle is the best fuel for burning fat. And so, by having more muscles, your body becomes a powerful fat-burning machine.
A good way to look at it is to think of cardio as a sprint. You get quick, temporary results. But, doing weight training is like running a marathon. Results take a long time to come but are more permanent.
Why is Nutrition Important?
Regardless of your style of training, your nutrition plays a big role if you want to be strong, fit, and healthy.
When you go on a low-calorie diet and don’t do any strength training, you’ll reduce both fat and muscle mass. And this is not something you want because you’ll become weaker the more you do it.
But when you feed your body with good proteins, healthy fats, and moderate carbohydrates, you will be giving your body whatever it needs to power you towards your fat loss goals.
So how we can use strength training to help us burn more fat?
There are so many ways you can use weights to burn fat. But, in this article, I’ll discuss three ways that are the most effective and easy to implement.
1. Super Sets.
Using supersets is when you do two exercises back-to-back and you only take a break after finishing your second exercise.
You will keep alternating between the two exercises for the number of sets you intend to do. After finishing with the two, you’ll move on to the next set of exercises until you finish your workout.
This is an effective way to increase the intensity of your workouts ensuring that you’re getting the highest calorie burn.
2. Circuit Training
Circuit training is so popular, especially for people who are short on time and would like to maximize their results and time in the gym.
With circuit training, you do all your exercises one set of each, in a circuit format. And you must do this with no rest between each exercise.
Moving from one exercise to the next will increase your heart rate and energy expenditure. You’ll also get some cardio benefits without setting out to do cardio.
Circuit training is a very efficient way to train because it has the potential to burn lots of fat.
3. Focus on compound lifts
If you want to burn fat, then compound movements are the way to go. These are multi-joint movements such as squats, overhead presses, deadlifts and pulldowns.
When you do compound lifts:
- You engage several muscle groups per exercise
- You lift more weight and thus work harder
- You burn more calories during and after your workout.
This does mean you should stop doing isolation movements such as bicep curls. You can still do them but only use them as accessory exercises.
The bulk of your training must comprise compound lifts if you’re looking for long-term fat loss results.
It’s important to appreciate that no one style of training is suitable for everybody. We are unique in so many ways and like everything in life, you must find a middle ground in your diet and exercise routine.
You can however get better results by combining weight training and cardio as I do.
I lift weights 3 times a week and do my cardio twice a week.
My cardio is not intended for weight management. I do it for the endorphins rush and for the mental clarity that comes from spending time in nature.
Experiment and see what works for you.
But, if you’re short on time and have to choose between cardio and weight training, go for weights anytime.
Do you want to know how you can start weight training with the guidance of a fitness professional to up-level your fitness and your health?
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