Many people believe that you need to do hours of cardio to lose fat. In fact, cardio isn’t the only exercise form that will help you to fit into the dress that you’ve been eyeing for a while or the perfect pair of pants. Weight training has proven to be even more effective for a number of reasons.
How does weight training help with fat loss?
Muscle is without a doubt the most metabolically active tissue in the body. It burns as much as three times more calories as opposed to any other tissue. The more muscle that you build, the more calories you’ll end up burning.
Let’s compare it to cardio. To burn fat during your cardio workout, you need to get into your fat-burning zone by working at 70 – 80% of your maximum heart rate. At this level, your body burns energy by using your glycogen as well as your fat reserves. The higher the intensity, the more calories and fat you burn.
You will burn more calories per one-hour cardio session than you would if you lifted weights for the same amount of time, but you’ll continue to burn calories for longer after you pack away your barbells.
Research has proven that the afterburn that results from regular weight lifting can last up to 38 hours. You would have to do intense cardio for more than two hours per session to get that kind of afterburn, but because extensive cardio also breaks down muscle, this is far from ideal when trying to lose fat.
Muscle weighs more and burns more calories, even when you’re resting. Because it’s heavier, it also takes more energy to move muscle, even when you’re doing ordinary activities such as driving to work This is what makes weight-training ideal for those of us who want to burn fat but don’t have time to spend hours at the gym.
Does this mean that weight-training is the only magic bullet you need to lose fat and keep it off?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Your diet also plays an incredibly important role in your fat loss success. It’s imperative to follow a calorie-restricted diet to lose fat, but you should never reduce your caloric intake by more than 15%. By consuming too few calories, you will put your body into starvation mode which slows down your metabolism. Also, high-protein diets tend to be very popular amongst weight lifters, but a diet that is too low in carbohydrates can lower the testosterone levels that you need to build muscle.
Don’t overdo it, no matter how tempting the statistics and results are. The key is to lift weights that are appropriate for your body and fitness level. If you try to do too much too soon, you will break down your muscles and increase your risk for injuries. It’s always a fantastic idea to speak to a qualified personal trainer who will do a proper assignment and design a weight training workout that is customised specifically for your body.
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