“When you strength train or weight lift, you are not only burning calories, but your body is now building muscles that can continue the calorie burn for up to 72 hours after your 45-minute workout.”
- Jackie Niciforo
Is Cardio the Best Way to Lose Weight?
When you think of losing weight, does your mind automatically think of running and burpees? I always struggle to explain to my clients that countless hours on the treadmill (although effective for initial weight loss) isn’t the best way to lose weight.
Cardio training is an excellent tool for overall performance, physical and mental health, and to improve one’s quality of sleep. But cardio alone isn’t the best strategy to lose weight. Initially, when you start implementing cardio into your routine, the weight drops pretty seamlessly (almost too easily). But after a month or so, most people inevitably hit a plateau, meaning the weight-loss stalls.
So why does this happen?
Let me break it down for you. When you run or take a cardio-only class, you are essentially burning calories. Then, once you eat a meal, you are just replacing those calories. When you strength train or weight lift, you are not only burning calories, but your body is now building muscles that can continue the calorie burn for up to 72 hours after your 45-minute workout. Yes, you heard that correctly, 72 hours! Not to mention the benefits of weight lifting, like improved bone health, helping your overall mood, and longevity. Building muscle is the way your body most effectively burns fat, so not only do you continue your caloric burn, but your body is now building the one thing you need to lose that stubborn belly fat: MUSCLE.
After weight training, type II muscle fibers go through a process of repairing micro-tears that are induced while training. These muscle fibers are restored to a state that is stronger and more efficient than they were before. Food and supplements are a necessity in the process of muscle building and recovery. Protein is essential when trying to increase muscle mass. Without the proper protein intake (eating the correct amount of protein), you will hinder this process.
I’ll leave you with this.
A combination of a healthy diet and resistance training is the best strategy if you want to lose weight. Next time you’re going to the gym to bounce from one cardio machine to the next, think of this and try incorporating some weight training into your schedule. You’ll thank me in the long run!
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