Exercising for Fat Loss: The Biggest Mistake Virtually Everyone Makes (& What to do Instead)
This may surprise you, but only doing cardio is the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to effectively shedding fat and getting the shape/tone you want. It's not that there's anything wrong with cardio (it does have a variety of health benefits), but going for long runs at the same pace or just sitting on an exercise bike or elliptical at the same pace for 40 minutes is not going to get you good results. Cardio does have it’s place though, but you need to do the right kind of cardio, for maximum impact, best results and in the fastest time possible. I’ll let you know what my recommended method is in a moment.
First, let’s look at the best exercise for fat loss and why.
So forget the long drawn out cardio sessions and replace with them 3 x weight training sessions each week. Warning: YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY. I promise. The reason why women think they may be getting bulky when they do strength training is because they are not eating the correct nutrition for fat loss to compliment their exercise routine. As a result, it’s the fat you are seeing that’s creating ‘bulk’, not the muscle. In addition to that, it’s very hard for women to easily gain bulk from strength training, the same way males do. We have far less testosterone and you would have to be lifting some HEAVY weights and eating some serious carbs and protein to be bulking up to any extent.
Truth be told, weight training is the best form of exercise for fat loss because it helps to build lean muscle, which in turn creates a faster metabolism. Secondly, it burns more calories than cardio. And thirdly, you are actually going to tone and shape your body at the same time.
But here’s a secret not many know – there are ways you can train to compliment your body type, so you’ll get faster results and a leaner look, because depending on what type you are, there are different approaches you should take!
The body types are:
Ectomorph (slim build) - Ectomorphs find it very easy to gain lean muscle mass, along with a fast metabolism; which in return burns calories at a rapid rate. Workouts should be short, lifting heavy but with longer rest periods in between sets.
Mesomorph (athletic build)- Mesomorphs gain weight very easily both from muscle and fat so along with weight training Mesomorphs need to cardio as a part of their routine along with weight training to ensure their body fat is decreasing whilst building their lean muscle mass. Workouts should be moderate to heavy weights, but keep it at a steady intensity with not too long of a rest in-between sets.
Endomorph (softer, rounder build)- Endomorphs needs to focus on dropping body fat and maintaining muscle, rather than maintaining the body fat and increasing muscle mass.
Workouts should involve moderate weights at a fast training pace (so high reps and fast reps with very little rest between sets and exercises). Cardio needs to be increased to 1 hour per day on an empty stomach before breakfast, for best results.
Which body type do you fall into? Start changing your routine to suit, for best results. And if you find that you are an endomorph, don’t get disheartened, you will get results. They can just take a bit longer – but if you persist, you will get there.
Remember, slow progress is better than no progress!
Here’s my recommend method of cardio
The best type of cardio to combine with Weight Training is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
This involves either using a treadmill or getting outside and sprinting at your maximum rate for 20 secs with 10 second rests in between. Repeat for 20-30 minutes, 3 times per week. There’s science to support HIIT actually makes you lose alot more fat over a 24 hour window as your body continues to burn fat post training. I recommend doing it either post weight training or at a separate time to weight training.
HIIT is the BEST kind of cardio to do combined with your weight training. You can increase the duration or frequency depending on what body type you are.
So to recap, no body type should just do cardio alone when it comes to weight loss, and you need different combinations of weight training and cardio sessions depending on your body type, to get the best results. And, don’t be scared of getting bulky ;-)
Look out for my next blog in the coming days, “How to banish your ‘mummy tummy’ and lose stomach flab to reveal ABS” where I’ll explain why sit ups won’t tone your stomach.