4 Reasons You Should Trade Cardio For Strength Training To Lose Weight

by - November 03, 2020

When someone decides they want to lose weight, the first thing they do is lace up those trainers and go for a run. Sure, it gives you a sense of control and is a quick boost and while some do truly enjoy running, most view it as a necessary evil to lose weight and get into shape quickly. This is a major misconception. I was tricked by this when I thought quitting the gym and embracing the lovely outdoors in Spring would be the way to go - also training for a half marathon may I add so it had it's perks, plus exercise outside is amazing for your health in different ways - however I actually lost muscle that I had spent months building and gained weight! (Rough when you've just bought clothes in a size less!)

Running, especially if you’re carrying a lot of excess weight, can be extremely hard on your joints. Cardio has also somehow gained a reputation for being linked with weight loss but this simply isn’t the case. While some cardio is beneficial, most people place way too much emphasis on it. For the best weight loss results, you should focus your efforts on strength training instead. Here are four reasons why strength training is important for meeting your weight loss goals.

Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels

Increase Muscle Mass To Raise Your BMR

Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, refers to the number of calories you burn without moving. Approximately 50 to 80 percent of the calories you burn each day is through your BMR. The smallest amount of calories you burn? These are from exercising.

Does this mean you don’t have to exercise? Absolutely not! The great thing about strength training is that it helps you build muscle tissue. Lean muscle mass requires a lot of energy (calories) to maintain, so by increasing muscle, your body will burn more calories each day without you even having to lift a finger.

While it’s a great idea to combine some strength exercises with a little bit of cardio to improve cardiovascular health (although strength training does this too!), cardio increases your metabolic rate only temporarily, making strength training the obvious choice.

Prevent Loose Skin

Though they might not admit it, most pursue weight loss not just to improve their health, but for aesthetic reasons as well. However, moderate to extreme weight loss often results in loose skin, which can become an insecurity in itself. The more gradual the weight loss, the less likely you are to develop loose skin. Strength training also helps massively with this: by losing fat and replacing it with muscle mass simultaneously, your skin won’t retract as quickly.

Improve Your Overall Appearance

Though improved health should be the number one motivation for losing weight, many people are (at least initially) motivated by the desire to change their appearance. If you just cut calories and ran on a treadmill every day, you would certainly lose weight, but simply losing fat doesn’t give most people the body they want. While you certainly don’t need to become a bodybuilder, building muscle tightens up all those areas you’re insecure about and gives you shape where you want it. Oblique exercises will give you a waist and ab exercises will give you a toned belly. Cardio won’t help you with either of these!

Improve Bone Health

Increasing your muscle mass has benefits for your bones as well. As you age, you lose bone mass, making your bones more likely to fracture and break. The risk of osteoporosis also increases with age. At the very least, strength training significantly slows down bone mass loss, and in many cases, actually rebuilds it. This means you’ll be able to continue living a healthy lifestyle long-term, which should be the ultimate goal of all weight loss plans.

Despite all these benefits, it’s important to gradually ease yourself into a strength training routine. It will take weeks for your muscles and joints to adjust, but you’ll get there. Don’t let sore muscles put you off, either! If pain and stiffness are putting you off, there are simple treatments available. Try hemp-derived cbd gummies to help with muscle soreness and inflammation. Stretching after workouts will also improve flexibility and reduce soreness.

Will you be adding strength workouts to your routine? I've rejoined the gym! Just a shame we are going into another lockdown! Don't forget you can use your body weight for exercises such as press-ups for free at home! Sign this petition to help your gym to stay open if we go into future lockdowns https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/333869

Leave a comment below! Lots of love, Jenna x

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