In the gym, I have seen many bodybuilders using strength training as their way to keep the fat off their body. There are some, who uses cardio as their main form of weight loss exercise. Only a few are combining strength training with cardio.
What actually works? If you are confused about the issue, then fear not since you are not the only one. It seems complicated until you break it down to the basic truth: effective, long term weight loss needs a combination of cardio sessions and strength training sessions.
Cardiovascular training is ideal for weight loss because it brings the heart rate up and keeps it there for an extended period of time. This commands the body to place a higher than the normal demand on the body for energy, requiring the body to burn a lot of calories in order to produce the energy needed. If you watch what you eat and control your calorie consumption, then you won’t have any trouble on losing weight. This is why people who only do cardio have an easier time losing weight. It is obvious that they get a higher demand for calorie consumption.
Now, what is the role of strength training? While dumbbells, barbells, and weight stacks used to be the domain of those who want to have a muscular frame, some personal trainers, are using strength training for women to lose weight. Cardio is still part of their routine, but strength training is added to see better results.
Strength training does strengthen and tone your muscle, but that needs a huge demand for energy on your body. Modern research has proven that your metabolism stays elevated for hours after an intense strength training workout. This only means that you burn more calories at an elevated rate even when you are resting.
Resistance training also has the same effect on maintaining the muscle mass. Women can do this without the fear of getting bulky. They lack the hormone that makes men bigger, so they just become leaner and better toned, so they look smaller in spite of their weight.
The only problem with combining strength training and cardio for a well balanced weight loss program is that it needed more time. Some people resort to do circuit training sessions that combine strength training movements with bursts of cardio. This keeps the heart rate high, so the benefits of cardio are delivered while still working the muscles for strength training benefits.