Go into any commercial gym and you will see rows and rows of cardio machines, treadmills, stair machines, and ellipticals. Over the years, the “Cardio” area in commercial gyms has grown while the free weight area has shrunk. Given that more space is given to cardio machines, cardio must be the answer to losing weight or fat loss right? WRONG.
Cardio is not the answer. It’s also not the problem. The real problem is JUST doing cardio.
Weight Loss vs Fat Loss
How many times have you heard someone say I have to/want to lose 5 lbs, or 10 lbs or even 20lbs? But is that really what they mean? They likely just want to be smaller than they currently are. However, should they be thinking “I want to lose weight”, because weight can be anything. Or do they really want to lose fat?
Here is the thing… your body weight is made up of lean body mass (muscle, organs, blood, bone, fluid, etc.) and fat (stored energy). When considering making changes this distinction is important. Because if weight loss is the goal there are some easy ways to just lose weight. For instance:
You get the picture. Just looking at straight weight loss may not give you the actual result you’re looking for. In general, if you were focusing on weight loss in particular you can run the risk of losing muscle mass which might make scale look better. However, that can actually lower your metabolism which can actually make it easier to gain back the weight you lost and make it harder to lose weight later.
Here’s the thing. The components of lean body mass, i.e. muscle, organs, blood etc., they do things. In other words, they are expending energy constantly. Organs like the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, etc. are constantly working, which means they need and use energy constantly.
EVEN muscles work, at rest muscles are being broken down and/or repaired. That process requires energy. This is known as resting energy expenditure(REE).
Fat is lazy, it does nothing. It is stored energy it is waiting to be used. In order to keep burning this fat you need to maintain or gain lean body mass to be better at using energy. You can not produce more organs, bones etc., but you can preserve or gain muscle tissue!
There are several forms of strength/resistance training. You can move your own bodyweight where your own body provides the resistance. There are variable resistance mechanisms like bands where the tension varies during the execution of a movement. And there is lifting weights.
“Wait won’t I get bulky lifting weights?” This is a common question amongst women. The answer is no. It is hard for women to get bulky, unless they really want to get bulky and muscular on purpose. Regardless of the type of resistance training you do, you will build muscle.
Muscle burns the fires of fat loss and takes up much less space than stored fat. So in effect muscle is LESS bulky than fat.
Get out there and start using resistance training. Fuel the fires, not necessarily to lose weight but burn fat.
The Holy Trinity: Resistance Training + Cardio + Good Nutrition = RESULTS!
A prevailing theory about fat loss in this country centers around moving more. And while this helps, it is an over-simplification of the issue. Every New Year people embark on a journey to lose weight by exercising, typically they will go to a gym and jump on a piece of cardio equipment. A couple of weeks later they are out of the gym and not exercising. Why? It is boring and they don’t see quick enough results.
It is not a this, not that. Or this and that. It is a this, that and the other thing. This powerful combination provides the magic formula.
“Exercise is King. Nutrition is Queen. Together you have a kingdom” Jack LaLanne
The combination of resistance training, cardio training and solid nutrition is highly underrated. If you consistently strength train, consistently perform cardio, and consistently eat well. You WILL get the results that you desire.
It isn’t always easy to do it on your own. Having a coach and/or a group can help keep you motivated, inspired and accountable. If you want more information about how to get involved with a group like that click here.