When it comes to exercising for weight loss, you will usually find two camps of people. There are those who believe that the best way to burn fat and lose weight is through intense cardiovascular activity. That might mean running, swimming, hitting the elliptical machine, or sweating through a Zumba class several times a week. Others will tell you that strength training is really the way to maximize your fat burning and your weight loss. They recommend short bursts of intense activity, such as squats, kettlebell workouts, or basics like push-ups and planks. There are pros and cons to both ways of thinking
Cardio and Weight Loss
Cardio workouts come with a number of far-reaching health benefits. You’ll burn calories for sure, even if you do something low impact like take a walk. So, you can count on weight loss when you’re focused on your cardio pursuits. It’s also good for fat burning because the pounds you’re melting away will include fat. All that cardio will also speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat even while you’re at rest. You’ll gain more energy and when you’re consistently working out with cardio, you are likely to stay motivated and on schedule.
However, cardio can be tough on your joints, especially if you do something high impact. Your ankles, feet, knees, and hips can suffer if you don’t rest enough, or if you take things too far. So, if you’re going to focus on cardio when you’re losing weight and putting together a fitness plan, make sure you’re protecting yourself against injury.
When you love working out on the machines in the gym, using your own body weight for resistance exercises, or trying new things and apparatus, you’re sculpting your body into something specific. One of the best reasons to use strength training as your primary weight loss tool is that you get the chance to focus on specific problem areas. Cardio will cover everything, while strength training can help you target your abs, core, arms – whatever you want to work on and improve. You’re also burning fat and losing weight with every lift, push, and pull.
Strength training can seem intimidating to a lot of people, especially those who might be new to working out. It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer or at least a friend and workout partner who can help you move in the right direction and protect yourself from potential injuries. Start slow, and only work on machines and exercises that make you feel comfortable.
The Best of Both Worlds
Ideally, you will combine both cardio and strength training workouts. This is the most effective way to achieve weight loss and increase your fat burning abilities. When you do both, you will be able to lose weight and increase your muscle. You’ll also protect your heart health and help your body get into the rhythm of regular workouts.
So, consider doing two days a week of cardio and three day a week of strength training. Or, start your workout with 20 minutes of cardio, and then move onto your strength training. There are plenty of ways to keep your fitness schedule interesting. The important thing is that you keep moving, and whether you like cardio or strength training more – you include both in your workouts.