Many people looking to lose weight often find themselves in a bind over which path to choose – Weights or Cardio.
Why is this question important? Mainly because your decision to lose weight is a long-term commitment to yourself. The path you choose depends on the type of goal that you have – short term/ long term weight loss, the kind of body shape you aspire for, efforts you are ready to put in etc. the idea is to choose carefully and to stick to your chosen plan until you achieve your goal.
Weight Training: These involve lifting of weights or body weight exercises. These are often done in a cyclical manner. While cardio exercises are focused on burning energy, strength training and weight lifting generally has one goal in mind – building strength and muscle. This is done through the motions of actually lifting and your body tearing through old, weak tissue. When you rest after these workouts, your body begins to rebuild itself to get bigger and stronger. You will gain muscle mass.
Cardio: Cardio consists of most low intensity exercises that elevates your heart rate and that you can do for a prolonged period of time. Aerobics, jogging, working out on a treadmill or an elliptical trainer are all examples of cardio exercises. Cardio workouts raise your heart rate and help improve your respiratory system. Once your heart rate gets up to a certain level, your body will burn calories effectively.
Now, let us look at both Weight andCardio training to understand which one is better for your weight loss goal.
Fat Burning Capacity
Many people focus only on how many calories they burn while they’re at the gym. This is a very short sighted approach.
With cardio, you expend calories while you are exercising. In fact, with cardio, you might burn an extra 40-80 calories. But once you stop, you quickly go back to your normal metabolic rate. There is very little Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) with cardio, which means you only burn calories when running; not much happens afterwards.
Strength training helps build muscle. Muscles help you burn more calories — even when you have finished your workout or when you are just relaxing. 1 kg of muscle helps burn approximately 50 extra calories a day. More muscles mean increased basal metabolism. So, the more muscle you carry, the higher your resting energy expenditure (REE). Since REE is the biggest part of your total energy use on any given day, it can change how many calories you burn. This extra calorie burn helps maintain your weight in the long term.
Look at it this way – the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. Some of the bigger lifts call on almost every muscle in your body. Due to the higher neurological demand and multi-joint involvement in some of the more complex lifts, the body must work twice as hard compared to when working out on a stationary bike or rowing machine.
If you are just looking for a quick fix, a treadmill or an elliptical trainer can help reduce body fat. But strength training will give you help you keep extra fat away for a long time. This makes weight training a more efficient and effective approach for weight loss.
Weight training also increases your strength. This in turn gives you confidence to move better and faster. Lifting weights also gives you a metabolic lift after your work out when your muscles are trying to recover. You are losing an additional 25 percent of the calories you just ate during strength sessions in recovery mode.
The Body Shape You Desire
Weight training can help you achieve the kind of body you desire.
Cardio training can help you lose weight fast. However, the weight you lose will be a combination of muscle and fat. This means you will usually end up as a thinner version of your current self. Loss in lean muscle can give you saggy skin, flabby butt, loose stomach. I can also lead to a weight loss plateau after your initial weight loss success. Cardio training can also result in higher levels of cortisol leading to loss of lean muscle mass.
Strength training can also help to strengthen your bones and joints, protecting you from injury. This also helps improve your overall health.
Weight Training For Women
Women are sometimes a little hesitant to take up weight training, mainly because of some of the horror stories that are floating around. You know what I’m talking about – lifting weights will make women big and bulky, lifting weights is dangerous, if you stop weight training all your muscles will turn into fat, or it’s bad for your joints etc. These are just false stories and the truth is completely different. Lifting weights helps build lean muscle mass. To get bulkier, you have to change your diet and eat food that helps build bulkier muscles – just exercises alone won’t make you bulky.
In fact, lean muscles will give your body a much more feminine shape – like those professional models in TV or magazine ads. Remember, your clothes will look much better on you if you have a lean, sexy body. Muscles also help you burn fat much more efficiently – even when you are resting on a couch.
Another big benefit for women is, weight training helps reduce the risk of Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that hits many women as they grow older. This happens because, women naturally start losing bone density due to hormonal changes. Lifting weights helps slow down bone deterioration, make bones stronger. It reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis or at the very least, reduces the effects of the condition.
So, contrary to the popular belief, weight training provides a large number of benefits for women.
If you want to look lean and sexy, you should definitely consider weight training. Weight training will not only increase your metabolic rate and burn fat faster, but it will also help build a larger lean muscle mass. This will give you better muscle definition, while enhancing the natural curves of your body.