Best for Weight Loss — Cardio or Strength Training?
Sep, 9, 2011
Cardio enthusiasts often mistakenly believe that duration training using cardiovascular equipment is the ideal solution for weight loss, at the expense of doing very little strength training. You frequently see these same members that have been visiting their fitness centers regularly for many months, getting on the treadmill or elliptical almost daily, and yet they look exactly the same as they did when they first joined!
Difference between Cardio and Strength Training for Weight Loss
At The Gym, we don’t want the above to be you! So let’s discuss the difference between cardiovascular and strength training for weight loss. To be perfectly clear, our Members should be including both cardio and strength training in their training regimen. Strength training can be intimidating for New Members, but without weight bearing exercise, you’re severely limiting your weight loss potential. Unless your cardio consists of a High Intensity Interval Training program, your caloric burn essentially comes to a screeching halt after you complete your cardio workout. However, weight training is easily the fastest metabolism booster since your body continues to burn additional calories for up to 48 hours, even after completing your strength workout!
Hopefully, you have taken the hint on the importance of including strength training in your workout program. Strength training is effective because you are actually breaking down muscle tissue during your workout which must be rebuilt during recovery to strengthen your muscles. This breaking down/rebuilding process provides a favorable effect on metabolism, as your body requires additional calories during the recovery period. Since your body is entering a muscle repairing process known as the metabolic phase, it also means you are in a fat metabolizing phase.
During your initial period at The Gym, you were given an appropriate strength and cardio training program to get you off to a great start! We recommend that our Members continue to perform cardio exercise, as well as strength training at least 2-3 times a week to improve their overall strength, bone mass, and enable burning more calories over a longer period of time.
Designing a Strength Training Program to Optimize Weight Loss
To design an appropriate strength training program there are many different training methods. However, one of the best training protocol for many Members is to dedicate 3 alternate days weekly to strength training. To keep it simple, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday often works best for most Members. On these days, a full body strength training workout should be completed using primarily compound movements. A compound movement is a multi-joint movement that recruits more muscle fibers than a traditional isolation exercise. Compound joint movement exercises include the bench press, squat, shoulder press and leg press. An example of an isolation exercise would be the bicep curl.
Cardiovascular training is important, not only for weight loss, but also improves your heart and circulatory health as well. For optimal results it is recommended to perform cardiovascular exercise for 3 times a week for 20-40 minutes a day at a moderate to high intensity depending on your fitness level. The higher the intensity, the more favorable benefits accrue and the shorter the time you will be in The Gym.
Both strength and cardiovascular training are absolute requirements for weight loss and optimal health & fitness. However as with most things in life, there needs to be a balance–you need both!
If you have any questions regarding this post, please ask one of our Personal Trainers who would be glad to help. If you require more assistance in designing a complete supervised strength and cardio training program that will enable you to attain the fastest results possible and achieve your weight loss objective, we invite you to meet with one of our Personal Trainers.