Back when I was in the Army (1987-1995), I was always advised that running, running and more running was the key to losing weight, on top of eating better. While I did lose weight running, I learned something about weight loss: Lifting weights is better for weight loss than cardio! It took me some time to come to the realization that, yes, weight lifting IS better for weight/fat loss than cardio. It took some reading of online articles, but I was slowly convinced!
Weight training burns calories long after you’re done working out. Up to 24 hours to be exact. Any task that burns calories (like walking from your car to the store, for example) you can guarantee that you’re burning more calories than if you were just walking to the store, and didn’t do any weight training. Cardio burns calories while your hear rate is up. The calorie burn dies off once your heart-rate is back to normal.
Why does weight training burn more calories you ask?
Your metabolism kicks in when you begin your workout. As you continue to lift and gain strength, your output will increase, thus burning more calories. If you strictly go the cardio route to lose weight, that’s fine; however, don’t be surprised if you lose some muscle tone as well. Yes, you’re losing weight. BUT, that scale you’re using isn’t breaking down that weight loss amount between fat and muscle. Lifting weights not only burns fat, but it builds muscle, instead of shedding it. Calories continue to burn after your workout, because your muscles go into repair mode. That’s basically what lifting is: tearing your muscles down, in order to build them stronger. It’s important-and I can’t stress this enough-to NOT work the same muscle groups 2 days in a row. Your muscles need a 24 hour break in between to repair. Increasing your protein intake aids in the repair process. That’s why I drink a protein shake (made with water, not milk) within an hour of working out, and before I go to bed. Eating lean meats like chicken or ground turkey are an excellent source of protein! Cutting bad carbs out is vital. Good carbs can be found in vegetables, yogurts, etc. Counting calories is also important!
Obviously, if you combine strength training and cardio, it’s not a bad idea!
I’m not going to knock cardio at all. I walk 3-4 miles, one day per week, as part of my weekly routine. I also walk 15 minutes prior to my workout, plus I do jumping jacks after my lift sets. My choice is clear: I choose to lift! Now, don’t get me wrong. I like to get out among nature, but, lifting weights gives me an awesome release. To each their own I guess!
Whichever route you choose to take in losing weight, please weigh all of your options. Consult with a doctor. Come up with a game plan for what’s best for you. Just remember you can do it. It’s not easy, but, you’ll be happy that you made it! You did the work!
Stay tuned for more posts!