It’s December and Winter 2017 is just about here. Fitness addicts are already prepping their bodies for summer 2018, while many others are hastily squeezing in their first workout of the year hoping to get in shape before 2017 ends. If you fall in the latter category, the good news is that you have the desire to get back in shape—and that’s a start. The problem for most people is that they don’t know what exercises to do or they resort to doing nothing but cardio to try to burn-off that stubborn extra few pounds.
Now, cardio in-and-of itself is not bad. Heck, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and even professional athletes utilize cardio to get absolutely shredded. So what do those lifters know about cardio that the average Sally does not know?
First, scientific studies have proven time and time again that weight-lifting is more effective than cardio at getting rid of stubborn fat. Take this 12-year study for example that randomly selected 51,000 male health professionals from cardiologists to Anesthesiologists. The men were separated into two groups—weight-lifters and joggers. The scientists reported that cardio does in fact burn more calories while the participants was doing it, however the weight-lifters continued to burn calories at a high rate up to 48 hours after they finished lifting. The scientists also noted that cardio alone can take a few pounds off your gut but you will simultaneously lose muscle. To be completely objective, the scientists emphatically stated that doing both weight training and cardio is likely best for your overall health.
Since cardio is highly recommended, is there a right or wrong way to do it? You bet there is. The average Sally typically hit the treadmill, jogging trail, or runs through her neighborhood at a relatively constant pace for upwards of a few miles. Conversely, when weight-lifters do cardio, they generally make good use of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). HIIT is when you perform almost any task at a really fast pace for a specified amount of time (let’s say a minute), then perform that same task at a much slower pace (let’s say one minute), and repeat both actions consecutively. HIIT training can be applied to almost anything including running, cycling, stair-climbing, squatting, swimming, sit-ups, push-ups, dips, burpees, etc. As a matter of fact, scientific journals have repeatedly published that HIIT training speeds up your metabolism and burns fat up to 50% more efficiently than traditional cardio. Another benefit—since most people complain that they don’t have much time in the day to workout—HIIT is absolutely perfect because it requires zero equipment and can be completed in 30 minutes or less at your home, in a hotel room, in the park, at the gym, at work, etc.
Next, weight-lifters know that weight-lifting, when appropriately used, can be an intense cardio workout. For instance, if you were to perform in rapid succession one upper body and one lower body exercise, your body will attempt to quickly adjust blood flow to the body parts on opposite ends, which would subsequently increase your heart rate and vascular system. The increased heart rate will result in more burned calories. In addition, lifters decrease their rest time (anywhere from 20 to 60 seconds is ideal) in-between sets in order to raise their heart rate to burn more calories.
Finally, weight-lifters know that muscle burns more calories than fat so the overweight person will burn calories at a slower rate per minute than the muscular person. Weight-lifting has a ton of benefits and cardo also can be very beneficial. Select a workout that will help you reach your desired goals and be sure to incorporate some HIIT cardio into your routine.
Images By Orlando Chinea via facebook @ ocimaging
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