Cardio vs. Weight Training

By: Karla Adams

For most, the solution to weight loss is to cut back on the meals and start doing lots of extra cardio. Most people feel this is the answer for burning up that extra fat, leaving us lean and toned and ready to show off our abs, right? Well not really! Though taking up this plan may show results, it is a myth that it will show the results most people are looking for. You do need to cut calories and increase activity to lose weight; there is a better, healthier, and more efficient way to do it.

First of all, following some crazy fad diet that severely restricts calories may initially produce results, but in the long run it will actually slow down your metabolism. Eating more frequent meals throughout the day will actually boost your metabolism. The key is better food choices, balanced meals and portion control.

What kind and how much exercise? It may feel like running on the treadmill for an hour burns tons of calories, but it’s only burning calories while you are exercising and for one to two hours after. If you really want to lose fat – and keep it off — the best way to do it is with weight training. Weight training is the single most effective way to permanently increase your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn all the time – 24hours a day, 7 days a week — not just one or two hours when you’re exercising, but every hour of every day, whether you’re exercising, eating, sleeping or sitting at your desk. Pound for pound, muscle burns 25 times more calories than fat. One pound of muscle can burn 30 to 70 calories in a day, or 350 to 500 calories a week. One pound of fat only burns two calories a day or 14 in a week. So, if you build just five pounds of muscle, that’s equivalent to burning 26 pounds of fat in a year.

Visual evidence in the gym. Notice the number of overweight people who do hours of cardio on the treadmill, in aerobics classes, or on the bike – or worse, all of the above. The same people, on the same program for months, maybe even years, with no noticeable results. Then, compare them to the physiques in the weight room. Ask some of those people who look the most fit how much time they really spend in the gym – it’s much less than you think. The results produced by weight training are much more effective. Also, women do not naturally produce enough of the hormones it takes to grow massive muscle. Weight training will help give you that tone look you’re striving for – you can’t burn fat off to see muscle tone that doesn’t exist. In addition, weight training is important to help prevent osteoporosis by building and maintaining bone density.

Should I use a scale to measure results? Not really! The scale has a place in a weight loss program but it is not the most accurate way of measuring results. You may end up weighing the same or even more because muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle takes up less space than fat. You becoming smaller, firmer and toner and your clothes fitting better is a more accurate measure. How you look and how you feel not what the numbers is on the scale is what’s important. Generally people do not walk around with their body weight posted on them to show how healthy they are. That number does not matter, the jean size does!