Have you ever thought about combining your cardio sessions with strength training? It has always been an understanding that cardio sessions are associated with fat loss and strength training is associated with building bulky muscles. While this might be true to a certain extent, did you know that combining strength training and cardio can help you lose fat faster? You read it right – Lose fat faster!
Busting the Myths about Strength Training
The most common cardio exercises running, jogging in the treadmill definitely helps you burn calories and improve your cardio vascular health. But after a session of cardio, if you lift a few weights, it can help accelerate your fat loss as muscle raises your metabolic rate.
The problem is that you tend to avoid lifting weights thinking that you would become “bulky” by gaining muscles and want to stick only with cardio.
But the fact is that gaining muscle isn’t very easy and it takes some time to get those bulky muscles. But first, muscle burns fat and this, when combined with cardio, is the best for you for losing weight.
Don’t Avoid Cardio
Similarly, if you who are involved in muscle building, you tend to avoid cardio thinking about a possible muscle burn while burning calories. This does not happen unless you overwork or go for some serious high intensity cardio. Body builders also require cardio as it helps to burn the fat and ease building muscles. The two when combined with the right amount, gives you mind blowing results.
The bottom line is that you ought to be clear what your goal is. If your aim is to lose weight, doing cardio and lifting a few kgs is ideal. If your goal is to build muscles, you would need to lift heavier weights combined with a session of cardio.
High intensity interval training is a new trend which is very effective for body builders. So before you start, be sure what you want to achieve at the end of the workout session.
Cardio & Strength Training – A Brief Comparison
Continuous movement is the key to lose weight. Fat loss occurs when calories are burnt due to movement. The more intense the body movement is, the more calories you burn. Lifting weights cause muscles to increase metabolism and burn fat, but this can’t be achieved all by itself. You definitely need cardio for weight loss as continuous movement is present in cardio.
As you would have read in many articles, cardio always outperforms weights when it comes to weight loss as your body is continuously in movement for prolonged periods of time. Cardio also generates afterburn which will help you burn calories even after you’ve finished your workout. Ultimately, for an efficient and effective weight loss program, you need to combine strength training and cardio. Read on to know why!
Why Do You Need Strength Training for Weight Loss?
Okay. This is how it’s going to be. You go to the gym do cardio for a while. Then, you pick up weights you are comfortable with and workout a few reps. Now, you are obviously not going to see bulky muscles on your biceps or elsewhere immediately. But, your muscles have been worked out and this increases your metabolism. You have already done cardio before and the strength training adds up to the afterburn helping you burn more fat.
If you are burning about 300 calories a day by doing cardio alone, strength training will increase it by another 100 calories. Not only that, now that your muscles are stronger, you would be able to do your cardio exercises with ease and increase your intensity too. Now, how cool is that!
The afterburn lets you increase your fat burning abilities and all thanks to strength training.
If you aren’t familiar with afterburn, it is simply the calories burnt while your body recovers from all the training & exercises you did at the gym. This is your body’s way of burning calories even after you’ve stopped exercising and it can be increased by incorporating strength training in your workout regime.
Cardio – Main Advantages for Weight Loss
To keep it sweet and short, cardio helps you in the following ways.
- You can do it continuously for a much longer time than lifting weights. This increases the number of calories burnt. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include strength training in your workout session.
- Movement is the key to losing weight and cardio involves plenty of movement.
- Cardio involves a good amount of afterburn when you run at higher speeds or do higher intensity workouts.
Pro Tip: It is always better to run at a constant speed for longer durations of time than run faster only to slow down your speed after a while. You should choose a speed you are comfortable with doing your cardio and continue the same speed/ intensity until the end.
Combining weights and cardio with a little bit of high intensity interval training might just be the best combination for a healthy weight loss session. Cardio is a must do even if you are looking forward to bulking your muscles up. Achieving your weight loss goals is most feasible by adjusting your intensity of cardio and strength training at the right level where you feel comfortable. Also, make sure that you aren’t overworking your body which might lead to injury and cause problems. Always do exercises and workouts with the help of a trainer if you aren’t sure how to do them. Stay healthy and stay fit!