Why you should ditch the cardio and start lifting
If you’re looking for a more effective way to burn fat and lose weight, it might be time to add weight training to your exercise routine.
You’re spending hours on the treadmill and sweating in spin classes, but you’re still struggling to ditch those extra pounds. Sound familiar?
Well you’re certainly not alone. And the problem may lie, not in the amount of exercise you’re doing, but in the type of exercise you’re doing. If your workouts are almost exclusively cardio-based, you might want to consider switching things up and introducing weight training to your fitness regime.
Burn fat and calories
As a personal trainer in City of London recently told us, weight training is a hugely effective way of burning fat and losing weight. Cardio-based exercises may burn more calories in a single session, but strength training is more efficient at burning calories over a longer period of time. The higher your muscle mass, the more calories your body will burn while you’re at rest, so by lifting weights and increasing muscle you can also increase the number of calories you use up, thereby helping you to lose more weight.
Weight training is also known for its ‘after burn’ effect. Simply put, lifting weights puts stress on the muscles, and your body uses energy (in the form of calories) in order to repair the damage. This means that, although your workout may be over, your body will continue to burn calories as it recovers.
Develop lean muscle
One of the key benefits of weight training is that it helps to promote the development of lean muscle. When we cut calories in order to lose weight, we often lose muscle at the same time, and this lean muscle mass also decreases further as we age. Without doing anything to replace this muscle, you will soon find that your body fat percentage increases, which defeats the object of dieting in the first place. In contrast, introducing strength training to your workout routine can help you to both preserve and increase your lean muscle mass.
Increase bone strength
As well as helping you to burn fat and increase lean muscle, weight training also offers a number of other benefits. Chief among these is that it helps to increase bone strength, which can help to limit loss of bone density and the onset of osteoporosis as you age. Similarly, weight training also plays an important role in strengthening muscles, tendons and connective tissues, which in turn leads to improved motor performance and a lower risk of injury.
Improve overall health
Introducing weight training into your exercise regime is also a great way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. It can help to improve balance, as well as increasing your strength and giving you more energy to carry out your daily activities. There is also some evidence to suggest that strength training can help you to manage chronic illnesses by reducing the symptoms of a range of conditions, such as back pain, arthritis and heart disease.
As you can see, weight training offers a wealth of benefits that range far beyond simply losing weight – but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the treadmill altogether. The most effective workout regimes combine strength-training with cardio and stretching exercise such as Pilates. So, take the plunge and change up your routine, and get ready to start reaping the benefits.