Fat burning: Cardio VS. Weight Training

November 3, 2014

Most people think that if you are hitting the gym in order to burn fat, you should opt for the treadmill or the cross trainer and just exercise at a steady pace for an hour and boom, do this three times a week and you’re sorted for fat loss, this coincides with the fact people also assume that the only way to gain muscle is to hit the weights. I hate to say it but this is completely and utterly wrong.

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A common misconception is to avoid the weights in order to lose the fat by being a cardio bunny before building muscle, but actually resistant weight training can be a vital addition to get you to your fat loss goals. I’m not saying ditch the cardio because cardio is great in many aspects but the addition of weight training may help you a lot more than you think:

“Studies have demonstrated that after a weight training workout, the metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours post-workout, meaning rather than burning say 60 calories an hour while sitting and watching TV, you’re burning 70.”

So I bet your thinking, ‘Big deal, that’s only 10 extra calories’, but consider this: if you multiply that, by say, the number of hours in a day/week/month, it makes a huge difference in your daily calorie expenditure thus meaning your burning more calories even while not undertaking exercise, and who doesn’t love that idea!?

Often it is not realised the importance of the post-calorie burn for fat loss. The problem with aerobic cardio is that in order to generate a maximum post-calorie burn, you would have to be doing it for a long duration of time, and usually those who have the ability to do this don’t actually need to be a cause for concern for losing fat in the first place.

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What weight training can do in terms of long-term metabolic increases is enable you to build up lean muscle mass which can then serve as your “calorie burning powerhouse”. For those of you who don’t know, your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which can be worked out from your height, weight, age and gender is vital to knowing how many calories you are burning in a 24 hour day if you were to lay in bed doing nothing. Those equations of BMR that take into lean body mass (muscles, bones and organs) show a more accurate representation and this thus means the more muscle you have on your body, the higher this rate will be and the more calories you will be burning! Here’s a fun fact for you – this is why boys can eat more than girls without gaining weight because they have more lean muscle mass on their body and thus are burning more calories!

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Now, back to the initial calorie burning. If you are doing a longer cardio session, you have the potential to burn between 500 and 800 calories – depending upon the length and intensity of course, and obviously this is a fairly large number and will help towards you to burn fat. However, you have to keep doing these long cardio sessions in order to maintain this fat loss. Whereas, with a weight training session, you may not burn as many calories during the actual workout but the overall calorie burning benefits you receive typically outweigh that of cardio.

CONCLUSION: Please don’t completely eliminate cardio from your fat loss training as it will definitely be helping and it also has great cardiovascular health benefits but try out some weight training as well! And lets not forget, the biggest difference between fat loss and muscle building is more related to diet than anything! Fuel good, feel good.

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Reference post:
bodybuilding.com – Fat Loss Wars: Cardio Versus Weight Training

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