Cardio vs weights for fat loss
Whilst we've weighed up on cardio vs weights in the past (read here), this blog is about addressing which option is optimal for FAT LOSS.
This will always be a trick question to answer. It truly does depend on your individual circumstances, your goals and where you see yourself in your fitness journey weeks, months and years from now!
Cardio can be a good start to your weight loss journey if you have a lot to lose. However, if you’re only doing cardio for weeks on end, you’ll hit a plateau faster than you think.
Weight training in the long run is much more effective than cardio. More calories are burnt and continue to burn after your session and it also has an overall increase of your BMR. Over time, the more muscle you gain, the more fat you’ll burn, as muscle burns fat.
In saying that, cardio is better than not doing anything at all. A low intensity walk of 45 minutes to an hour will still be affective at the time you are exercising, depending if you’re fasted or not. Low intensity cardio isn’t as effective as high intensity cardio (HIIT). Like weight training hiit training continues to burn calories once you’ve finished your session and you only need to spend 15 minutes doing it. HIT training can be used if you’ve hit a plateau with fat loss and as well when used alongside weight training can be a great tool to lose that extra bit of body fat.
If your ultimate goal is to lose fat but also build muscle, this can be done with OR without cardio. Remembering, no amount of cardio or weight training can out train a poor diet. If you’re restricting your diet and avoiding carbs or fats or following meal plans that can’t be maintained, you can do more damage than you can good.
The key to low intensity cardio such as walking, is that you need to be in a calorie deficit to see fat loss. Essentially, this means eating less calories than the amount of calories you burn. This is why it’s better known as ‘fasted walks’.
Strength and weight training has a secret advantage over cardio for speeding up your metabolism. Even though you might not burn as many calories in a weight session straight away, the results later on speak for themselves. Simply sitting or resting, will have you burning calories at a faster rate due to the larger amount of muscle you're carrying.
Studies have shown that your metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours after a resistance or weighted workout. Another notion to keep in mind is that you'll be building muscle, but you'll also be burning fat, so girls, no - you’re not going to get bulky. A faster metabolism means you can generally consume more throughout the day since you burn more calories doing the simplest things like walking around an office, sitting at a chair or watching tv!
If your goal is to achieve fat loss as quickly as possible - while doing it healthily and in a way that it STAYS OFF, incorporating a mix of weight training and HIIT is an effective path to take.
If you're ready to transform your lifestyle and make healthy eating and training a way of life, get your hands on some weights and get lifting! You'll see a change in your strength, endurance, mood AND fat levels.
For full nutrition and training guidance with fat loss, endurance and strength and improved fitness - head to www.thebod.com.au
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