Many of us want to lose weight. And we want to do it fast. Eating a nutrient-dense, whole-foods diet is certainly a part of the weight-loss equation, but so is an effective exercise routine. When it comes to physical fitness and weight loss, there are numerous theories as to what works and what doesn’t. Many people assume that increasing cardio is the key to burning more calories, but research shows that intense cardio may not be the best weight loss exercise.
You would think that all forms of exercise would be beneficial for weight loss. But, while exercise is always good for you, not all activities actually help you lose weight. They all support health, but in different ways.
Is cardio the better weight-loss exercise?
Here’s the skinny on cardio — it’s not the most effective exercise if you really want to lose weight. Short bursts of cardio are highly effective for weight-loss. This means doing burst training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is characterized by doing high-intensity bursts of movement, followed by a resting period. This is a great weight-loss exercise that utilizes both cardio and strength training. Burst training typically includes a combo of cardio exercise and body-weight exercises like push-ups, burpees, squats, jumping jacks, running in place, etc.
Long, drawn-out cardio sessions, on the other hand, are one of the worst exercises for weight loss and can even be counter-productive. If you’re spending 45 minutes to an hour on a treadmill or stationary bike while watching TV or listening to music and never breaking a sweat, and if you don’t incorporate any strength-training into this exercise regimen, you may even experience muscle loss, which is not what you want. To lose weight while still enjoying a cardio session, limit your workout to 30 minutes, and then integrate 3-4 strength training sessions into your weekly workout routine.
Is strength-training the better weight-loss exercise?
Strength training is an excellent way to lose weight because it builds muscle while increasing what’s known as your metabolic resting rate. This means that even after you’ve finished your workout, your body will continue to burn calories for you. How’s that for efficient? In fact, this happens for up to several hours after you’ve finished working out.
In order to lose body fat while building lean muscle in the process, you’ll definitely want to get started with a regular strength-training routine. Buy yourself a kettlebell and some hand weights if you’re not a gym member. Look online for body weight exercises that use your body as the resistance, meaning you don’t need props or equipment. These include things like push-ups and squats. Have fun lifting weights while watching one of your favorite shows or listening to music that inspires you. Strength training can be fun while feeling really good!
The bottom line: Strength-training wins out over cardio as the better weight-loss exercise due to its ability to build muscle and increase metabolism.
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