I am sure that most of you have heard something similar to the following: “Well, I am going to start running to lose weight, and then I will add in the weights after I have lost 15 initial pounds.” This statement is innocent to be sure, but it is born out of ignorance. What if I were to tell you that you can double or even triple your ability to lose weight if you incorporate weight training into your exercise program?
Dispelling Common Myths
MYTH: It is optimal to first cut your body fat through cardiovascular training and then later add in the weights.
FACT: You will slow down your fat-burning process if you only do cardiovascular exercise because you are not building your one metabolically active tissue: MUSCLE! Cardiovascular exercise is actually catabolic, which means that it contributes to the overall breaking down of muscle rather than the building up of muscle. Remember that the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. In short, resistance training will speed up your metabolism far more than cardiovascular training alone will.
MYTH: You can convert fat into muscle.
FACT: Muscle and adipose (fat) tissue are two different structure tissues altogether. It is chemically impossible to convert one to the other. Instead, focus on losing the fat through a combination of resistance and cardiovascular training.
MYTH: Cardio burns the fat directly. While weights help tone the muscle, they do little for fat burning.
FACT: Cardio does burn more immediate calories than weights. The problem is that cardio can take calories from OTHER sources than fat. For example, if you are doing intense sprints, you are actually using most of your fuel from other sources, such as ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), CP (Creatine Phosphate), and glycogen, all of which are not Free Fatty Acids (that come from fat stores). Your main goal should be total calorie expenditure. Weight training helps immensely with this goal because it revs up your metabolism to BURN MORE CALORIES throughout the entire day, not just while exercising as cardio does. Can you see the difference? Would you rather just burn calories for 30-45 minutes of cardio or would you like to burn them all day because you have more muscle that constantly needs to be fed? You be the judge!
MYTH: “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to bulk up and look manly.”
FACT: You will not bulk up if that is not your intention. What I mean by this is that you have to workout extremely hard, and with great frequency (4-6 times per week) to really start packing on the muscle. So you ladies out there don’t have a thing to worry about if you are engaging in a resistance training program 2-3 times per week. It’s practically impossible to bulk up to the point of looking like “Arnold.” The good news is that even with a more moderate resistance-training program, you are still going to derive the fat-burning benefits that we are talking about.
The fact is that muscle does many things to swing your fat burning potential into overdrive. For example, muscle balances your hormones to make them conducive to fat burning. Specifically, if done properly, a weight training session can help elevate your human growth hormone levels, which is proven to have fat burning effects metabolically. Additionally, resistance training also balances testosterone/estrogen levels, which in turn increases your potential to burn fat. The good news about these balancing efforts is that they are natural and healthy–unlike some medicinal balancing that has become so popular in recent years. Weight training is a MORE potent fat burning than cardio. Yes, I just said that. I am NOT negating the importance of cardiovascular exercise. It is extremely important and adds benefits that resistance training cannot touch, but as it pertains to fat burning please discard your old beliefs and hit the weights! Your body fat levels will thank you! Remember life is good! Enhance it further with resistance training!