Weight Training For Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight most people embark on a cardio programme for the exercise they do in order to try and help them to lose weight fast.

Yes cardio may burn calories; however, for most people it is not the most effective exercise method for weight loss.

Now I am not saying you should never do any cardio. Cardio does have its benefits, it improves blood circulation, it strengthens the heart and lungs, it improves the function of your mitochondria, it releases endorphins to make you feel good and yes it burns calories. However, although it does have a lot of benefits and definitely has its place in your training programme, for most people it is not very effective for weight loss, especially when it’s done on its own without doing any other type of exercise.

There are a few reasons why cardio isn’t as effective for weight loss as a lot of people think.

  • The calories you burn are mainly from your glucose stores and not from your fat stores.
  • You only burn an increased amount of calories during the exercise. As soon as you stop your metabolic rate goes back to normal quickly.
  • Cardio is a big stress on the body as it releases high amounts of cortisol. If you already have high cortisol through stress then increasing it further is the last thing you want.
  • Cardio can lead to muscle atrophy. Cardio releases cortisol your breaking down hormone. If you only do cardio forexercise it can lead to cortisol breaking down your muscle which slows down your metabolism.
  • Cardio can in some people lead to a larger stomach. If your liver is overburdened then the greater omentum which sits behind the ab muscles mops up the excess cortisol causing it to enlarge. When it gets bigger it gives you the pot belly look. In some people too much cardio can increase the size of their stomach.
  • You can feel hungrier after cardio and may end up overeating. Through burning lots of glucose during exercise and due to high amounts of cortisol you may get increased cravings for sugary foods after cardio exercise.

Not all of these reasons are applicable for everyone. Some people lose weight just fine through only doing cardio; however, a lot of people don’t do well on cardio only training programmes and instead should add weight training into their exercise programme.

There are many benefits of doing weight training for weight loss including

  • Weight training increases your metabolism. You will burn some calories during the session but because weight training is intense you will keep burning an increased amount of calories after the workout. Not only that weight training builds muscle. Your metabolism is directly linked to the amount of muscle you have. The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism. Scientists estimate you can burn an additional 50 calories per day for every pound of muscle you gain. Through weight training you will increase your metabolism at rest to help you burn fat.
  • Weight training releases less cortisol than cardio. But more importantly other hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone are released as well as cortisol when weight training. These hormones help you to build muscle and burn fat.
  • Weight training has a positive effect on insulin resistance. Most people who are overweight have a problem dealing with insulin. Insulin is your storing hormone meaning it can store fat or it can store muscle. In overweight people insulin mainly stores fat. However, weight training has been shown to limit fat storage and instead promote muscle storage which helps to improve insulin resistance and aids with weight loss.
  • Weight training builds muscle tone and improves your body composition. When you build muscle tone your body looks leaner and looks much better than a body with no muscle tone. Look at the difference between a marathon runner and a sprinter. Marathon runners who only do cardio tend to look skinny and frail and look older than they are whereas sprinters who do a lot of weight training look athletic, toned and younger. Weight training builds a more attractive body than cardio.

As well as helping with weight loss, weight training has numerous other benefits including it increases your strength, it reduces the chance of injury, it increases bone density, it increases tendon and ligament strength, it can increase flexibility and mobility, it can improve your posture, it improves your self-esteem and confidence and it slows down the ageing process.

Weight training has so many benefits, not only for fat loss but for your health which is why in my opinion everyone should embark on some sort of weight training programme. Whether you are a man or woman, young or old, looking to lose weight or gain muscle you should do weight training at least twice per week.

Most people just do cardio on its own when looking to lose weight, however, cardio on its own in my opinion is the worst method to use on its own for weight loss. If I had to choose only one method of training to use for weight loss and for the good of your health it would be weight training and then second would be high intensity interval training. However, for best weight loss results and for biggest health improvements you should use a combination of weight training, high intensity interval training and steady state cardio to help you lose weight and improve your health.

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Shaun McGill