Lifting For Weight Loss
When we think of exercising to lose weight, the emphasis is always cardio, cardio, cardio, right? Hitting the treadmill is often considered the quickest and most efficient way to lose weight. On a very basic level, that makes tons of sense as well -- running burns calories, which eventually helps towards burning fat off. In fact, cardio by way of jogging or running is above and beyond the most common and preferred way to shed some pounds, but what if there was another way?
Hop Off The Treadmill
Unfortunately, most people only see cardio as things like running or the elliptical as these workouts are a great way to get the heart pumping and muscles working. However, and to the greater public’s great satisfaction, it’s not the only form of cardio workout that can aid in weight loss. Oddly enough, the majority of people trying to lose weight often avoid lifting because they don’t want to bulk up. However, weight lifting is actually another effective form of cardiovascular activity. Try doing 30 walking lunges with dumbbells and you’ll feel that heart pumping!
On a very simplified level, weight training can help you lose fat and tone muscle. It’s important to remember that in order to effectively do this, you must also be acutely aware of your diet. Protein helps build muscle, so if your diet includes heavy amounts of protein, you may start to put on a little more muscle than you would like. Fat burns during cardiovascular exercises in which stress is placed on the body, forcing it to work harder than it would like. This is a great for new runners or athletes, but it’s ultimately flawed.
Beating The Plateau Effect
The problem with workouts such as running long distances is what we’ve come to know as the plateau effect. When you do the same workout day after day, eventually it will become easier for you, as many activities do over time. The longer you bike, the better you get at it. The longer you eat hamburgers every night for dinner, the quicker you’ll get sick of having them for a meal. Basically, variety is the spice of life, so don’t let your body get too comfortable in the battle against weight loss!
While this seems like a great thing, it’ll actually end up preventing future weight loss. As you become more fit, it takes more for your body to reach the level of work that it had previously needed to lose weight -- this is where you plateau. Take for example, you run one mile, it’s a huge workout and you struggle at first, but you start losing weight. As a result, your body gets in shape and understands the challenges and strategy behind running one mile. Soon enough, you can run one mile easily no problem, you hardly break a sweat. That’s great, right? Yes and no -- congratulations on reaching a wonderful level of endurance and consistency, but your overall fitness will stagnate if you continue just running one mile.
So, instead, you run two miles next time to up the ante and the entire process resets again. Then you have to up it to three, then four, then eight, then ten before you’re even seeing any progress. At the end of the day, changing up your workout throws your body off and inevitably makes it work harder, resulting in a better workout and more burned fat.
The Misconception of Lifting
Another issue in the debate of running versus lifting is the most unfortunate base assumptions about lifting weights. Generally speaking, people jump to conclusions about this activity and presume that it’s only for intense athletes, bodybuilders, and those concerned with having 5% body fat -- but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, lifting weights is a good activity for anybody looking to add some variance to their cardiovascular exercises in a fun and exciting way.
(Related: Read about resistance training here.)
At the end of the day, you can also mix it up with heavier and lighter weights in conjunction with more or less reps. Lifting at least three days a week and setting aside days for rest will help give your muscles proper time to tone, recover, and prevent injury. Additionally, weight lifting is also beneficial for strengthening bones and increasing endurance. Traditional cardio, weightlifting, and a proper diet in combination is the best way to burn fat and reach your goals.
However, if you're struggling with losing weight or want to try a new method but aren’t sure how to proceed, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to help you out. Our intelligent team will help you create a great, personal workout plan for you in no time. That way, you can efficiently work on all parts of your body equally over time, thus creating a better, stronger, and healthier person in no time -- what are you waiting for?