Let's be honest, we all work hard to meet our own nutritional and workout goals, but there is always something more we can accomplish right? Almost everyone can find a reason why they wish they could become leaner. Cardio has always been in the forefront in terms of being considered the way to lose weight quickly and especially lose sizes! However, there is more and more information out there now supporting the importance of strength training and prioritizing this type of training, which has been an obvious focal point for all of us here at Shine!
Don't get me wrong, Aerobic exercise absolutely should be part of your workout program if leaning out is a goal of yours as cardio has a role in shedding pounds and fat tissue quickly! However it's important to understand that this aerobic training alone is missing some key values that strength training brings to the table, and along with the addition of strength training we should understand the importance of your length of workouts!
First, some more understanding of what cardio brings to your body... extended programs of cardio at a moderate rate is not the efficient way to get lean. The main source of energy for this type of exercise will be glucose in the blood, or glycogen stored in the muscles. Fat is also used, and will be naturally burned, because you are using up calories. It will just take longer.
Extreme amounts of cardio may release the hormone cortisol which could play a role in negating muscle growth. It could also create a catabolic state in your body which means that things are being broken down to supply your metabolism, including lean muscle tissue, and can actually lead to strength loss!
If you are trying to stay lean AND strong, strength training gives you the maintenance to accomplish that! It increases the resting metabolic rate, increases power and performance, and it will give your heart various rates instead of the same consistent cardio activity levels that can occur for those who have a repetitive cardio workout plan. Avoiding overtraining during your week will also help you find the results you are working so hard to find and achieve. There is no reason to pass the 50-60 minute mark while doing a workout circuit, we want to push our cardio levels through strength training and lengthening the time only allows our body to regulate our body's workout level to the point where the activity towards the end (60-80 min) isn't actively progressing our body's fit levels.
As you train with weights your body will pack on some pounds with lean muscle mass as you lose fat. If you notice that you aren't losing weight, or if you even gain weight after training at such a high intensity, don't worry about it! Many of us will find that we lose inches around our waist, hips, thighs, etc. while keeping a consistent number on our weight scales! Make time for strength training during your weekly routine, and pair it with the correct nutrition and you'll be on your way to a happier, stronger, and leaner you!
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