Article by KAREN REED
Experts will tell you to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you want to lose weight, that daily recommendation doubles. What the experts don’t tell you is the type of exercise that you should do and why it’s so important.
We spend a lot of time burning calories through cardio exercises. There are plenty of people who go to the gym to use the treadmill or cross trainer, or they will go for a power walk with friends. Cardio workouts are good, but they’re not the only type of workouts that you can (or should) do.
You want to focus more on strength training. Doing weight training, whether it’s with physical weights or through bodyweight training, will serve you more in the future. You’ll gain more health and weight loss benefits that you would constantly hit the pavement running.
Here’s a look at why you need to consider more strength training in your weekly workouts.
You’ll Change Your Shape Not Just Your Weight
Cardio is good for burning calories. In fact, cardio is good for fat burning. So, you get to see the numbers on the scales drop. What you aren’t as likely to see if your figure is changing.
Resistance training and strength training does more than just lose the fat. Cardio only breaks down the tissue that is currently there. You’re left with a soft, flabby look that you need to build then up to being toned. When you add some strength training in with your cardio, you build the muscle while working away from the fat.
There’s no need to lift the bodybuilding weights that you see on TV. You can do it all with smaller weights—just with more repetitions. You can even gain through bodyweight training.
Of course, it’s more than just doing weight training to tone your body. You’ll also need to feed your muscles with the right amount of protein. However, you want to add more strength training to change your shape and be happier with your body.
You’ll Burn Far More Calories
Cardio isn’t the calorie burning that you think it is. We constantly think that the hour-long run is going to burn all the calories that we’ve eaten. That isn’t quite the case.
Strength training is far better if you want to burn more calories.
With cardio, you will certainly burn more during the actual exercise. But once you’ve finished running, that’s it. Your body isn’t going to burn anymore. You’re not doing any more work. When you do the strength training, your body is constantly working on the exercises. Your body is building muscle and repairing the body after the workout. The metabolism is constantly in need.
Overall, you end up burning far more calories from the strength workout session. In fact, you can burn calories from the weight training for up to 48 hours!
Of course, muscle burns more calories than fat. So, not only are you boosting your metabolism for 48 hours, you’re piling on more muscle to keep the metabolism working for longer afterward!
You Gain More Confidence
We all know that we gain in confidence when we feel like we look good. Weight training will help with this.
Remember that I said your body changes shape? Well, you’re likely to see results from the weight training quicker than you will with cardio. Even if you don’t have the perfect diet, you will start to see results. Your waist will get smaller, your thighs become stronger, and your arms are more defined. While the scales may still tell you that you’re overweight, you don’t feel as bad when you see your shape in the mirror.
Getting more confidence will help to boost your exercise efforts. You’ll also boost your dieting efforts, as you want to keep that feeling for longer.
At the same time, you gain confidence in doing something that many people refuse to do. Anyone can go out running, but not everyone has the confidence to set in the training room at the gym. They don’t have the confidence in themselves to lift heavier weights. You will gain that quicker, pushing you to do more!
You’ll feel on top of the world when you gain muscles that allow you to do pull-ups!
You’re Not as Likely to Overeat
When you go for a run, there’s the misconception that you have extra calories to eat. You think that you’ve earned that chocolate bar or the McDonald’s milkshake. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
We don’t burn as many calories as we think when doing exercise. There are some that will help us burn around 500-600 per hour, but that’s only if we go full out for that whole time. Chances are we have a bit of a warm-up and cool down, and then there are breaks here and there when we get used to it.
There are still risks of overeating, which isn’t the case with strength training. We don’t feel like we’ve done anything to allow ourselves the chocolate bar. The intensity of the exercise just didn’t seem that big.
So, we end up sticking to the diet without all the excuses of earning our treats. In the end, we find it easier to lose weight because of the change in mindset.
We End up Needing to Eat Less
There’s no secret that more exercise makes us hungry. When we do cardio, we will feel the need to eat more straight afterward. This is because the body has burned off calories at a quick rate.
But isn’t that the case with strength training? After all, we’ve already seen that our bodies burn more calories from strength training than cardio. Well, the truth is that the burning takes longer. Our bodies continue to burn calories for a 48 hour period, rather than all the calories being burned within a 30-60 minute period.
So, when we do weight training, we don’t end up as hungry afterward. Our appetite remains the same throughout the day, so we just stick to a normal calorie intake and don’t consume the extra ones that we’re burning.
Weight loss comes easier because we continue to create a calorie deficit. We’ll get to our goals sooner while looking good at the same time.
There Are Fewer Injuries
Cardio has been known as one of the worst types of exercises for causing injuries. Runners put excess stress on their joints as they pound the ground, while cyclists could end up falling off their bikes if they’re not experienced or skilled enough (or if they’re not careful of the cars around them).
This isn’t a problem that you get as much with strength training. Okay, so there are still some risks, but they are much lower. And you can control far more with strength training to eliminate as many risks as possible.
Let’s start with the pressure on the joints. The weight training doesn’t require any pressure at all. As your foot hits the ground, a shock will go up into the bones of your leg. This can lead to stress fractures, especially if you have issues with poorly supported insteps. You also run the risk of going over on your ankle, causing strains and sprains.
There is also the problem with your posture and weaknesses in the joints. In fact, you build up the joints to prevent weaknesses that cause injuries. Runners tend to have weaker cores and hips, but exercises like single-leg raises and lunges help to build all this up. When you run after building strength, your core remains stationary, so you don’t twist your back or hips and injure them.
Those who currently have joint problems will find that cardio can be debilitating. Strength training doesn’t require the same pressure, meaning that there are no longer as many reasons not to do it.
If you want to do strength and cardio at the same time, there are some cardio equipment that will help. Rowing or swimming are popular options, and some people opt for exercises classes to make use of both to build core and work on the overall body.
You Build Muscles All Over Your Body
Cardio will help to build some muscles, but there are limitations. The biggest limitation is where your muscles will build. Unless you do some circuits while running, you’ll only build the muscles in your legs. When you’re cycling, your quads and butt are the places that get the muscle-building workout.
Swimming is slightly different. You will work all the muscles, but not everyone wants to do that, right? And some days you don’t have the time to get yourself to the local pool.
So you need to find something that will work the whole body. This is where strength training plays a major role.
When you do strength training, you get to choose the part of your body that you’re working on for the day. You can do an all-over workout if you want or you can specifically focus on one particular part. If you want to do a legs day, you can work on the calves, quads, ankles, hamstrings, and hips in one sitting. You can choose to work on your core or even do arm and shoulder workouts.
You get to work on the particular areas that are causing you the most hassle. You get the overall look that you’ve always dreamed of having. That isn’t the case with a cardio workout.
You Get a Solid Muscle Build
Working on the muscles through cardio has other limitations. One of those is the quality of workout that you’ll get. Cardio is mostly for getting your lungs and heart working. It’s about improving your cardiovascular system, hence the name.
With weight training, you’re building the muscles from the inside out. You’re creating more power and more stamina within this part of your body. You take pressure off the joints, even when you’re walking. You’ll improve your posture, helping to improve alignment and reduce headaches. Your overall performance and health both improve.
And you will constantly build when you do strength training. There is always a way to boost your weights. If you’re doing bodyweight training, you’ll naturally start to push on more because your muscles get heavier as they get bigger. When using dumbbells or kettlebells, you can go up in size or do more repetitions.
There is only so much you can do with running, cycling, and other cardio exercises. Beginners will see a benefit, but you will stall as you become more experienced.
The quality of the muscle building helps with anti-aging. You don’t feel as weak, and your bones and ligaments don’t become damaged before the rest of your body. When you feel like you want to do something, you have the confidence to know that you are more likely to do it!
Boost Mobility Efforts and Not Just Strength
Did you know that cardio can make mobility problems worse? Thisis linked to the pressure that you put on your joints. You can be at a higher risk of some joint pain and ailments because you haven’t looked after your whole body properly.
When you opt for strength training, you’re not just looking for the muscle. You’re taking some of your weight off your joints, especially in your legs. It’s possible to improve your flexibility within the joints, without weakening your whole system. In the end, your mobility gets a boost!
Think about some of the weight exercises you can do. A lunge will build on your thigh muscles, but you also stretch out the hips safely. You gain strength and flexibility within the hips making it easier to walk, balance, and much more.
Strength training also helps to create the right posture and balance before getting into cardio. Many experts recommend starting with lunges and doing at least 10 without any pain or problems before moving onto any running.
Weight Training Isn’t Monotonous
Going out for a run on the same route every single day gets boring. There’s no doubt about it. No matter how much you enjoy the route or love to run, after a while, you want to change things up. You need to change things up, or you start putting in less effort.
But where do you go next? Where else could offer your hill climbs and peaceful route? The chances are that you’re more likely to quit than you are to find a new route since you don’t quite click that it’s the monotony that’s causing the issue.
There isn’t that same issue when it comes to weight training. You will always do something different. Even if you do the same routine, you won’t do it every single day. One day you’ll work on your legs and the next on your arms. Each week will have something new to do on a daily basis.
You also have a variety of ways to do each exercise. When you begin, you can start with push ups on the wall or basic squats. As you get used to them, you can move into press ups on the knees and squats with weight. Then you can move onto press ups with your hands in a diamond or wide apart, adding in even more variety and working on different muscles.
You’ll perform better because you enjoy doing something different on a regular basis.
You’ll Boost Your Lifespan
Cardio exercises help to boost your heart and lungs, but so does weight training. The benefit of weight training is that you’re also boosting the muscle mass. At the same time, you’re improving your bone density.
Both lack of muscle mass and bone density cause health problems when we get older. As the more we age, the more muscle and bone density we lose! When you’re working on those signs of aging, you’re making it easier to boost your lifespan. And it’s a better quality of life!
By improving your muscle mass, you prevent the decreased metabolism and the look of gaining weight. You reduce the risk of developing diabetes, metabolic disorders, hypertension, and much more.
Cardio workouts when we get older become more dangerous. They can lead to the need for wheelchairs. Our quality of life diminishes, as we can’t do as much as we would love to do. The weight training avoids this problem.
It’s Cheaper to Do Strength Training
There is no need for any specialist equipment when you opt for strength training. It can seem like it, since there are people using dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands, but they’re genuinely not needed.
The same can’t be said for the likes of running, swimming, cycling, and more. You need to invest in a gym pass to get access to pools and treadmills, or you need to buy a bike. Then there is the other fitness gear that you need to buy.
Okay, so weight training needs some of the right equipment, but you can get away with wearing your underwear if you want! You just want something comfortable to train in, and you don’t necessarily need proper running shoes.
Bodyweight exercises are highly effective. You can do them in your home with chairs, stairs, and even the floor. You can get a yoga mat if you’d like but you don’t have to. If you want some weights, they are available, but your body will be just enough to help build muscle. As your muscle builds, you gain more mass and more weight around those areas!
It’s Time to Add More Strength Training
While you still want to do some cardio, you don’t want to do it every single day. Stick to a day or two of cardio and spend the rest of the week doing strength training. This can even be good for your rest days to stretch off the muscles and improve your flexibility.
Strength training offers the body far more benefits than cardio. You’ll find your weight loss efforts are easier and you get to enjoy a longer and healthier life.What excuse do you have for not making strength training an exercise goal?