‘What should I be doing to lose weight: cardio or resistance training?’
This is one of the biggest questions for anyone wanting to lose weight. So here is some information that should help you make the decision. Basically in order for us to lose weight we need to burn more calories (energy output) than we put into our body through eating or drinking (energy input). This energy output isn’t just made up of what exercise we do, it’s everything our bodies do from blinking to breathing.
It has been proven time and time again that cardio burns more weight faster than weight/resistance training. However, before jumping out the door and running all the time, we need to distinguish the difference between losing weight and loosing fat.
If your workouts contain all cardio all the time you will lose weight, but this weight you are losing is not just fat, it is fat and muscle and other body masses that you might not want to lose. It is true that cardio, as well as being good for losing weight, has several other health benefits that your body will thank you for! It helps to improve your heart health, respiratory system and circulation, as well as releasing all those endorphins that will make you feel great! However, if it is purely fat you want to lose then there are other things to consider when designing your workout plans. In order for your body to breakdown your fat stores to use for energy you need to be hydrated and for your body to have used up most of your glycogen stores. You also need oxygen; this means that sprinting for 40 minutes straight isn’t exactly the best idea if your goal is fat loss. It has been proven that walking or LIIS (low impact steady state) burns more fat per calorie than sprinting because of the presence of oxygen.
Resistance training is necessary if you want to lose fat without losing much muscle mass. If it is the ‘toned’ look you are after or the ‘beach body’ that you want, cardio alone won’t help you achieve that goal. In order for us to look defined or ‘toned’ then you need resistance training in order to shape those muscles. Far too many women are scared to use weight training in their workouts for the fear of becoming ‘bulky’. Trust me, this is a MYTH. It is simply NOT TRUE! Even though cardio burns more fat per minute while working, resistance training can cause what is called EPOC (Excessive Post-Oxygen Consumption). Excessive Post-Oxygen Consumption, more commonly known as oxygen debt, is the amount of oxygen required to get your body back to its resting level. This essentially mean you continue to burn fat hours after you have FINISHED working out!
So in order to really optimise your workouts it is best to do a mix of BOTH cardio and resistance training! The cardio will really help you with your general fitness and burn calories pretty fast, then the resistance training will give you the definition and ‘toned’ physique you want.