Exercising is good. It keeps you healthy and it helps you lose weight faster. Some trainers encourage you to do cardio exercises to lose weight (most of them). Others are fans of strength training exercises as a means to burn fat (the minority).
I for one think you should do a mixture of cardio and strength exercises for the best results. It’s that one exercise is better than the others. It is just that each type of exercise has his own unique string points and weaknesses.
Cardio exercises are great for burning fat while you exercise. It is true it takes your body 20 minutes to react to your cardio exercise and start burning fat. But once it does, boy oh boy, the fat literally melts off of you.
The downside of doing cardio is that your body needs 20 minutes to warm up to the idea of burning the fat. It needs that time to consume the blood sugar for energy. Once that energy supply is gone it needs to redirect its focus on your fat supply for energy. Thus making you burn fat literally.
Strength training workouts focus more on building leaner more powerful muscles. This implies lifting heavy weights to train your muscles. Short bursts of extreme effort – lifting the weights – are followed by periods of rest. The extreme effort breaks your muscle fibers, forcing your body to repair the muscles and make them more stronger. By doing this type of exercises you send a clear message to your body: “I need more strength”. And your body does everything to comply with your wish.
During the workout itself you don’t burn that many calories or fat. You just don’t get to exercise long enough. The periods of effort are too brief. Of course you can lift weights the cardio style: lots of reps using easy to lift weight but you would be getting a cardio workout not a strength training workout.
But if you do a true strength training workout. Serious heavy lifting you will get an amazing fat burning effect. Not during the workout but after it. You see all that damaged muscle has to be repaired and made stringer. To do this your body needs lots of resources and energy. To get the energy it starts burning off fat. So you lose weight. In some studies the fat burning effect lasted for up to 12 hours after the strength training workout.
Now that’s a long time to burn fat. In fact the scientists concluded that strength training exercises are in fact better for fat loss than cardio exercises – too bad the trainers use antiquated information more often than not.
In my opinion for the best fat burning effect you should mix the two kinds of exercise.
Start with a light cardio routine or a good warming up routine. This will help you avoid injuries.
Then go into a good strength training routine and work up a little sweat.
After you train your muscles and burn a big part of the sugar from your bloodstream, go and do 30 to 45 minutes of cardio. Since you don’t have that much blood sugar to burn you will start burning fat faster and at an accelerated rate.
Finish your workout with 5 minutes of cooling down doing some light cardio and stretching – to avoid injuries.
After the workout the strength training workout after effect will continue to burn off the excess fat. This will lead to even more fat loss. Perfect.
If you don’t have the time to do the strength training and cardio exercises in one workout I recommend you do first the strength training workout and later that day the cardio exercises. This order should give you the best fat burning results in the long run.
In my opinion it’s not weather you should do one or the other. You must do them both and in the correct sequence to get the best results. First strength training then cardio. But if you can’t, do whatever kind of exercises you can when you can, as long as you exercise. Just my 2 cents.