It isn’t a myth that cardio burns more calories over weight training but is it the most efficient way? You can spend an hour on the treadmill and burn 300-500 calories and only 200 during weight training but are you really being effective in your weight loss in the fastest way possible? The most common methods of exercise are various types of steady state cardio (typically low impact), high intensity interval training (burst of momentum with varying speeds and intensity) and resistance training (putting a load on the muscle to initiate hypertrophy).
NEWS FLASH!!!! Before we start talking about the exercise programs, keep in mind, the key ingredient to any sort of weight loss is going to be 80-90% proper nutrition. This includes the right amount of fats, carbs and protein for your body. All three are needed to have healthy weight loss and allow muscle growth effectively. This means keep your total number of calories under control, cut out the junk food, give up sugary drinks and foods, and start eating whole natural foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean meats which provide you the right nutrients.
When you are attempting to add to that daily calorie expenditure, cardio is the most basic and easy for everyone to do. It’s the first thought in many individuals minds when they first attempt a weight loss program. As soon as someone enters a gym, they zoom in on the cardio section and jump on a treadmill because the majority of us learned how to walk and run as babies. It gives you better endurance overall and doesn’t require any specific type of equipment. Your body can go for hours doing cardio and with enough will power, you can burn a lot of calories. However, the problem with its ineffectiveness to burning calories efficiently pertains to its low Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means you only burn calories during that walking, running or steady state cardio session but not much happens afterwards.
High intensity interval training is far ahead of steady state cardio due to EPOC. HIIT constantly forces your heart to adjust to changing conditions: sprints, jogging, sprints, jogging, up hills, down hills, etc. Your heart learns to operate outside of its norm, and your body adapts to these changes. This constant change in intervals kicks your metabolism into high gear for hours after you finish exercising. So, while you are sitting in the office or on the couch playing xbox, your body is still burning more calories than it would after a steady state cardio session. The only downside of HIIT, is the recovery time, in which you might only be able to do it for 20 to 30 minutes depending on your condition. The more conditioned you are, the longer your body will be able to perform this type of training. So now that we know HIIT training is more effective, why is weight training just as important?
Resistance training recruits more muscle tissue by adapting to the progressive loads you put on it. The more lean muscle tissue you have on your body, the greater your calorie expenditure will be just as rest. This means, it will be longer than just hours afterwards. It will be on a permanent basis! Even while sleeping your body will burn more calories. To lose the most weight efficiently yet build muscle tissue, recruiting the most muscle fibers during the lift will initiate the highest calorie burn. Compound exercises like squats, lunges, kettlebell swings, squat thrusts, burpees, inverted rows, pull ups, and push-ups are great examples and can be done in circuits with rep ranges of 8-15. Short rests and intense circuits like these have been recorded to have an after calorie burn of up to 38 hours.
After knowing all of this, I like to put together routines which factor in all three methods and give the best results along with proper nutrition. However, the method you choose will depend on your fitness level, what you are comfortable with, and your dedication to devote to a program.
Don’t forget above all of this is nutrition. If you eat poorly, you will not get the results you want. Eat right according to your body’s metabolism with proper macros, and you are guaranteed results. Combine a calorie deficient plan with the right training and you will have those excess fat pounds off in no time. That’s what I specialize in here to help you obtain your goals.
So here is my conclusion to you:
Do cardio if: (keep in mind, this will not help you build lean muscle tissue)
Do HIIT if:
Do circuit weight training if: