This information may come as a surprise to you. But with this article, I am speaking from direct personal experience about weightlifting. In the fitness teaching world, I am surrounded by plenty of avid runners and cyclists who have shared their stories with me.
There’s a big misconception in the general population about the best way for one to lose weight. Most people think it’s cardio. But here is the shocker – in reality, cardio does almost nothing for weight loss and fat loss. Instead, if you want to burn the fat off your body, the fastest and healthiest way to do it is through weightlifting. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why.
==> The Problem with ‘Too Much’ Cardio
The problem with cardio as a fat burning tactic is that it simply doesn’t work. Not in the way it is purported to. Let’s look at the math.
An average person might expect to burn about 300 calories from a brisk jog in an hour. However, what fitness professionals don’t tell you about is how many calories your resting metabolic rate would consume anyway.
Even if you did nothing by lie in bed, you would burn about 120 calories. That means all that jogging really only burned you 180 calories. That’s about half a latte.
Most people after doing a cardio workout feel like they need to eat a little more, and more than compensate for their workout with their increased appetite.
The result? At the end of the day, cardio doesn’t do much at all for burning fat or losing weight.
==> The Second Problem
Another common problem with cardio is that much of the gains athletes experience come not from improved physique, but from more efficient muscle movements.
Once you get the body used to a certain movement, it can perform that movement much more efficiently.
A runner might think he’s improving if he can jog for an hour instead of 30 minutes. But in reality, he’s not developing much muscle – while also placing much strain on ligaments and joints (which is not only unnecessary, but also highly un-recommended <== not really a word, I know. But I like it). That fact of what is happening, is that this runner’s system is just getting better at the performance of movements needed in jogging.
If you put that same jogger on a bike, he won’t be much better than he would have been before he started running. Why? His legs and his body haven’t actually developed that much in capacity.
==> Why Weightlifting Burns Fat
Yes, it is absolutely true – weightlifting burns fat. This seems counter-intuitive. After all, everyone is saying that to lose weight, what you really need to do is a whole lot of cardio. Sometimes we need to step away from what we continually hear; away from the status quo and take a look at things differently. And this doesn’t mean that you need to ‘become a bodybuilder’. It simply means that you may wish to add weightlifting to your workout.
The reality is, the biggest burner of calories in your life is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). You can expect to burn between 1600 to 1800 calories a day if you’re a man, 300 calories fewer if you’re a woman, just from your BMR.
The best way to increase this number? Pick up those weights and get started on building some muscle with weightlifting. Increasing your body’s muscle mass by just 5 pounds will increase your BMR by about 400 to 600 kcal per day. That’s a massive increase. If you take your body fat percentage down and the amount of muscle in your body up, you’ll naturally burn fat. It’s just what your body will do.
I have heard plenty of people – women especially – express concern over adding weightlifting to their workouts because they don’t wish to add any bulk to their physique. As a once professional dancer, I can totally relate to this concern; dancers need to aim for length and flexibility of muscle tissue.
But what I have discovered is that as long as you are adding in a lengthy, deep stretching routine to your fitness regimen, while using weights on the lighter side, then there is no concern for bulking up. Of course every single body is completely different, but one thing I can promise you is that adding weights feels really, really good. You can even add weights to your yoga routine to get a feel for how organic working with weights can feel. Xen Yoga is one of my very favorite programs to play with weights and yoga – check it out.
The simple truth to fat loss and weight loss is this: build muscle, give yourself the proper amount of time to get a really good stretch and relaxation, then let nature do the rest of the work.