You’re trying to lose weight, but where in the gym do you go first? Usually you will find yourself running on the treadmill, or even petaling on the stationary bike on the far end of the gym overlooking a bunch of big beefy guys pulling cables and holding bars with plates weighing twice as much as you do. You think, that’s not the body I want, so that isn’t the exercise for me. I’ll work up a sweat and slim down doing cardio. But it turns out weight training isn’t just for bodybuilding, it can increase general strength, health and posture, and even, yes, help you lose weight.
Although cardio burns more calories per session, if you have a busy life like most people, you may not have the time to be on a treadmill for 2 hours. In fact, weight training is an effective approach to burning calories. The calorie consumption continues long after the workout is over, as the muscle tissue repairs itself and recovers. Also, the muscle mass you build after a long period of time training requires more calories, resulting in a higher metabolism. That means you’ll be consuming more calories than usual even in a resting state like watching TV or just sitting.
Weight training can not only help with weight loss but help with help fix poor posture. For example, daily computer and smartphone use can lead to problems with the neck and back. Exercises such as face pulls or any variation of a row or back exercise can activate those muscles and help you start standing upright again.
A strong back pulls yourself upright and takes the weight of your head off your neck. A weak core can also put stress on the lower back causing back pain. If you have ever had shoulder pain, back pain or neck pain this can be a symptom of poor posture caused by a weak upper back or core.
If you are not interested in becoming beefy and big and you just want to get strong and slim, simply adjust your exercises by lowering the reps and increasing the weight. This will lead to more explosive and powerful muscles without bulking up. Do more compound exercises like squats, pullups, bench presses and pushups. These exercises are intended to increase strength because you are pushing or pulling with maximal force or speed with a significant amount of weight.
But, if putting on muscle mass is what you are interested in, don’t do as many compound exercises as they are used more for building strength. Lower the weight, and do more exercises that isolate muscles. This means focusing on contracting a single muscle instead of working many at once. This helps you focus on individual muscles as well as building a mind muscle connection. Also, slow down your reps. Slow and steady movements for longer periods of time also known as “time under tension” is what bodybuilders use to increase muscle mass.
Exercising in any shape or form is only one part of your weight loss journey. If you’re not eating quality food or not being consistent with it, you will not be able to successfully lose weight. Any high calorie food that you consume whether it is fried chicken or doughnuts just counteracts the calories you burned in the gym. Find a healthy way of eating that suits you and make sure you can stick with it in the long term. Check out one of my previous articles where I tell you the importance of consistency in your diet. Even if you chose to do cardio as a method of weight loss it won’t work if your eating habits aren’t in check.
If you choose not to use weight training as a weight loss method, cardio is still an excellent way of burning calories if you have extra time. You can go for a hike, play tennis or even ride your bike into town. Or, if you just want to go to the gym and use the treadmill that’s fine too. Listen to a podcast, watch a movie or just look outside while you jog away.
Cardio has the benefit of burning more calories than weight training every session but weight training burns calories after working out. Both have their benefits. It is ok to do both weight training and cardio. Just make sure you dedicate a training day to either cardio or weight training because one might take away the benefits of the other.