As a trainer who helps clients who want to lose weight and body fat, it is always maddening to me to see women killing themselves on those cardio machines at the gym.
I get it though, I was there. I was the girl who got the gym membership who was immediately drawn to the elliptical because a) it was all the other women were doing and b) weights seemed scary and were dominated by all of these big and bulky guys who didn’t seem very inviting.
Another thing that was really alluring about the cardio machines, that I’m sure a lot of women love, were those screens that told you your calorie burn per workout. Seeing those glowing red numbers was sort of addicting for me and I could tell that it was addicting for a lot of women. I would see women on those machines for an hour at a time, sweating like crazy, looking like they were about to pass out, but not stopping.
I never got to that point but I did love seeing that number go up and up and feeling accomplished with a higher number each time.
Now, I was just doing this cardio thing to stay “active”, I never had a goal of weight loss or fat loss BUT I do know that there are many women who see hours of cardio as their ticket to weight loss.
I’m here to tell you, there is a better way.
When you are doing cardio, hours of cardio every day, you are signaling to your body that you are in an endurance building phase. When working for endurance, your body works on becoming more efficient. It sacrifices muscle because muscle takes a lot more calories to upkeep than fat. So, while you do burn many calories in the act of doing the hour of work on the treadmill, after the session is done, your body becomes less active to compensate for the time spent doing your endurance work.
Remember, your body is smart and is wired to keep you alive. If you constantly signal it to go the distance and to work for endurance, it will reciprocate accordingly by getting rid of muscle (which takes a lot of calories to maintain) and by making your body more efficient with the calories you do put into your body.
There is something better for your body. Unless you are actually training to become an endurance athlete, hours upon hours of cardio are not ideal for you and they are not ideal for fat/weight loss.
Strength training is a superior method for fat and weight loss because this method of exercise prioritizes muscle. When you lift weights a few times a week, you are sending signals to your body that muscle is something you want to keep, maintain, and grow.
Muscle is seen as an “expensive” tissue to have on the body because it takes more calories to maintain than fat so, as you gain more muscle, you are actually telling your body that it needs to burn more calories.
Strength training does just that, it trains our body to become stronger. A single strength training workout might not burn as many calories as one single cardio session BUT the residual effects of the strength workout are amazing. With every strength workout, you are stimulating muscle growth and with muscle growth (and proper nutrition of course) your body is going to require more calories to maintain the status quo.
Remember, the BEST method for fat/weight loss means that it is the method that will help you keep the weight off in the long term, not give you the best short term results. Strength training is not meant to be a quick fix. It is meant to grow your muscles, which in turn will cause you to burn MORE calories, which in turn will shape your body in amazing ways.
Have more questions about programming, training, or are you wondering about online training? Find me on Facebook (here) and send me a message!