You can lose a ton of weight doing cardio alone, but combining it with strength training is the best way to do it, especially if you want to see improvements in body compositions (That’s the difference between fat loss and weight loss.)
Here’s why: (as explained as simply as possible)
First of all, you burn calories by simply living. Sleeping, waking up, eating, breathing, etc. burns calories. (It’s called your basal metabolic rate, or BMR). Obviously, the more active you are, the more you burn. Going for a nice long run or bike ride makes you all uncomfortable, sweaty, and burns loads of calories. Great! All of the trackers out there tell you that. But after that run or ride, that “burn” is pretty much all done.
Strength training, on the other hand might not give you that immediate gratification of burning hundreds of calories like you’d get from a run, but the rewards come in a slightly different way.
When you add lifting weights into the mix, you’re putting your muscles under tension and work. Those muscles experience “microtrauma” which then requires your body to work to rebuild and recover. This alone, increases the body’s metabolism because it is actually working to repair damage.
The other piece to this is: When you recover and rebuild new muscle, you’ve added lean mass that wasn’t there before. Being a more muscular person will naturally improve your metabolism because your body is working harder to maintain that muscle.
The bottom line:
You can do cardio on top of cardio on top of cardio, and see the weight drop, but it might not necessarily turn out the way you want it to, or happen as quickly as you want it to.
For example, ever see someone that’s done a ton of cardio and lost tons of weight, but doesn’t seem to have a better physique or figure? That’s because they haven’t really built any muscle. The weight they lost was partially fat and partially muscle!
A combination of strength and cardio is the way to go. At least three days of strength training should be added onto any cardio routine you have going on to ensure you’re maintaining and building muscle.
To make programming easier, check out our collection of 30 free workout plans. If you want to see how to accelerate weight loss or fat loss even further, you could integrate more HIIT or circuit training: Check out our 30 best HIIT workouts here.
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