If you're thinking of exercises that specifically target weight loss, you can probably spend long hours on the treadmill or elliptical. And while it's true that steady-state cardio will likely help you lose weight, experts say it's completely unnecessary if your main goal is fat loss. In fact, you can lose weight by lifting weights only. (Yes, really, look at these body shapes.)
This does not mean you should never do cardio. Here is the reason why you want to prioritize weight training when you are losing pounds on your to-do list ̵
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Why You Have No Special Cardio Sessions for Weight Loss
"Cardio is one of the least effective fitness modalities for weight loss," explains Jillian Michaels, Healthcare Specialist. and fitness expert and author of My Fitness by Jillian Michaels App. That's because you lose weight by burning more calories than you eat, and to the surprise of many people, weight training is actually better than the steady-state heart.
The reasons are pretty simple. First, strength training changes your body composition. "Resistance training helps you build more muscle, which boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories," explains Betina Gozo, a Nike master trainer focused on strength training. The more calories the body burns alone, the easier it is to lose weight. In other words, if you want to lose weight, building muscle is a good thing. (Here's the whole science on building muscle and burning fat.)
Second, resistance training in a circuit often burns more calories than normal old hearts, especially when it comes to compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, hips, cleansers, and pushes is acting according to Jennifer Novak, CSCS, a strength and conditioning specialist and owner of PEAK Symmetry Performance Strategies. "When more joints are involved in a movement, more muscles need to be recruited to perform them," she explains. That is, yes, more calories are burned.
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There is also the "afterburner" effect that comes with higher intensity resistance training. "When you're working on cardio, you're working at an aerobic pace and burning only calories for the time you're training," says Gozo. With a high-intensity resistance training session, you continue to burn calories for the rest of the day. Of course, this afterburner can certainly benefit from HIIT, but for the muscle-building benefits you should build resistance in the form of weights, kettlebells or body weight levers.
"It all said this is irrelevant if you're not too careful about what you eat," adds Michaels. Remember the saying, "Are your abs made in the kitchen?" Well, it's true. With a targeted nutritional plan and a strength-based exercise program, you're most likely to see the weight loss you're looking for.
The No-Cardio Catch
Well, while cardio is not necessary for weight loss that does not mean that cardio is unnecessary ~ in general ~. The American Heart Association currently recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week (over five days) or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise per week (spread over three days) and two strength training units for optimal heart health. (However, only about 23 percent of Americans meet these requirements.) That's because maintaining heart rate is still crucial to keeping the heart healthy.
The thing is: strength training, if done strategically, can definitely conquer your heart rate high enough to count as a vigorous cardiovascular exercise. (Here's how to work with heart rate zones for maximum motion benefits.) "Composite motion is a great way to increase your heart rate during strength training," explains Gozo. As you train multiple muscles at the same time, your heart rate increases. (If you've ever heard your heartbeat in your ears after performing some heavy deadlifts, you know exactly what she's talking about.) Also, minimize the rest you put in between sets, add heavier weights, and / or yours Increase your pace, you can increase your heart rate.
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Get the best of both worlds
How do fitness pros recommend? Strength and cardio training if you want to lose weight? "I would only recommend Cardio on your days off," says Michaels. "For example, if you want to work out four times a week and do one or two more sessions of sweat – but still give your muscles the right recovery time – then Cardio is fine."
You want to be sure you can get the recommended amount of cardio without ever setting foot on the treadmill? Exercise weight in circuits, she explains. "Switching quickly from one exercise to the next increases your heart rate, and I personally add a HIIT interval in each cycle to get the extra intensity."
It's also a good idea to strategically choose your weights. "Try to incorporate weights and resistance that will actually challenge you for your last reps, or you may not get the full benefit," says Gozo. "They never want the weights to move easily for more than 15 reps, they want the" resistance "to be there to make changes."
The only cardio restriction? When you're training For something sport-specific (like a half-marathon or a triathlon), you need to do special cardio workouts, says Michaels.
Michaels, however, is totally behind the idea that most of her efforts to focus on shorter resisting workouts over long bouts of cardio. "Study after study has shown us that the higher intensity, shorter workouts are most effective for overall fitness, cardiovascular health, bone density, muscle maintenance, metabolism and more." Do you want to try this type of workout? Take a look at this kettlebell cardio workout.
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