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Cardio vs Weights For Weight Loss: Which Works Better?

When you think of weight loss and fat loss what kind of exercise comes to your mind?

 

 

My guess it's probably running on the treadmill because that's what most people think. And the first thing they try when they start their weight loss journey.  I'm here to tell that you should do strength training or at least do bodybuilding exercise if your primary goal is fat loss. So why is lifting weights better for fat loss?

Well first of all we can talk about muscle mass and why it has a metabolic advantage. So muscle mass as opposed to fat mass burns more calories. It's more thermogenic basically that means that the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism is going to be.

Now a lot of gurus online blow this completely out of proportion and say that you know having a few extra pounds of muscle is gonna burn a proportion a significant amount of fat. Most gurus online believe that if you add a few pounds of muscle onto your body then your metabolism is gonna skyrocket. But the truth is is that it's not even that significant.

Most estimates approximate about six calories for one pound of muscle mass added. Basically what that means is that it would require you 1520 pounds of muscle just to burn the amount of calories in one tablespoon of olive oil. Although building muscle mass  can increase your metabolic rate the difference in and of itself isn't going to be significant enough to warrant strength training over running purely for fat loss.

So why should you do it in the first place?

Well when you lose fat over a significant period of time and you lose a lot of fat and you diet for a long time something called adaptive thermogenesis occurs.

Thermogenesis just basically means the amount of heat that's being burned. In other words the amount of heat that's being used or the amount of calories you're burning.  So adaptive thermogenesis basically means that you might be burning less calories over time as you lose weight as your metabolism slows down.

Now why would your metabolism slowdown if you're losing weight?

Well it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective because if there's a scarcity of food then your body is going to naturally try to conserve as much energy as possible in order to increase your chances of survival.  So it only makes sense that your body would do this.

That's quite unfortunate for those you were trying to lose as much fat as possible but I guess we should be thankful that the body has survival mechanisms are built in like that. Which is kind of cool.

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So back to strength training the cool thing is is that research has shown that strength training and resistance training /cardio is going to help mitigate this effect of adaptive thermo genes is more than running right on the treadmill endlessly. 

So that's one big reason we should be considering doing more strength training as opposed to running in order to lose fat. Another reason why many people argue that people should be doing more anaerobic exercise like high-intensity interval training or strength training as opposed to aerobic exercise like long distance swimming running or biking.

It is because of something called the after burn effect which basically refers to more oxygen being utilized after exercise to help with recovery and different physiological processes that occur in the body after you do rigorous anaerobic exercise.  Especially when you do things like high-intensity interval training but also very much so when you do something like strength training.

So the typical argument for the after burn effect is that even though you may not burn as many calories while they're doing strength training or while you're doing high-intensity interval training you're gonna be burning more calories post-workout. This is due to the after burn effect . So because of that you should technically therefore prioritized strength training and high-intensity interval training. 

You're gonna burn more calories overall because your metabolism is going to be increased. Hhowever the difference that this is going to make isn't actually going to be that big and again it's not going to warrant just doing an aerobic exercise.  For this specific reason because there is also an after burn effect from normal cardio. 

So it's not like your metabolism is going to be 50 times faster after you do strength training. Again that is still a slight advantage that you can you can use to argue for strength training and high-intensity interval training. Another thing to keep in mind is also the subjective experience of exercise.

Most people in the world hate cardio.

It's boring! You're just running in one spot. It's exhausting; it's difficult and a lot of people tend to prefer a strength training.  Plenty of people find it more enjoyable and more challenging.  It's easier to quantify your progress and you also see results from it.

The other thing you need to consider: it's going to help you build more muscle. Which overall it's gonna help you look way better. You don't want to end up losing a bunch of fat and then look like an absolute skeleton when you're done.  You'll have absolutely no muscle mass.

It is important to include some weight training and resistance training if you want that ripped body and increase your weight loss. If you want a body that has some definition, looks good and you don't just look like a stick figure then pump some iron.

The more muscle you build overall the lower your body fat percentage is gonna be. For example you could eat at maintenance calories so you're not technically burning fat.  But because you're increasing muscle mass then proportionately you're gonna have more muscle as opposed to body fat.

Over time eating at maintenance calories and building muscle your body fat percentage is gonna go down. The more muscle you have the lower your body fat percentage is going to be. You'll see more of the definition of your muscles.

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