Lift and Be Lean
Every day at noon my gym fills with hordes of people running on treadmills and other cardio equipment. The comparison to hamsters running on wheels is undeniable. However, the difference with humans is we're running to lose weight, not attempting to get food.
As myself and my colleague, Erin Kuh, have written about as recently as last month, the number one factor to fat loss is calories in versus calories out. Cardiovascular exercise, in all its incarnations, will burn calories and accelerate fat loss.
This sounds like it's the ticket to your summer body doesn't it?
There's one problem: these people are not including strength training in their workouts! If you want to get the best body possible and keep it, you must include strength training in your program.
Most everyone knows it's important for optimal health, fitness and strength (among other reasons) but it's largely not thought of as an important factor for fat loss. This couldn't be further from the truth.
I recently gave a seminar at my gym where I discussed this very topic. In my presentation, I gave my top 3 reasons you need to include strength training in your fat loss program. These reasons are:
- Strength training maintains your muscle mass while in a caloric deficit. When you are in a caloric deficit, your body will use up stored calories for its energy requirements. This includes muscle mass. If you're strength training in addition to your cardio routine, your body is less likely to use muscle for energy because it knows it needs it for your next workout.
- Strength training makes you burn more calories when not exercising. Muscle doesn't actually burn that many calories when at rest. It's when it's working that it burns a high amount of calories. This means when you take the stairs, fidget, do yard work and other non-exercise related activities you will burn a ton more calories.
- Strength training makes your cardiovascular exercise more effective. This is because of the same reasons as #2.
Are you maximizing your fat loss potential with strength training?