CARDIO VS RESISTANCE TRAINING: WHICH WINS THE FAT-LOSS BATTLE?
Looking to maximise your fat-loss but not sure what is the most effective type of training?
In terms of losing body fat, which form of exercise (cardio or resistance training) holds the upper hand? They both have their benefits, as with both cardio and resistance training combined, you will increase your lung and heart strength, your overall body strength, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce stress, burn body fat, improve your hormonal profile, improve your ability to recover, etc. just to say a few. But which one is OPTIMAL for overall body fat loss and staying lean? My answer, which I will thoroughly explain, is RESISTANCE TRAINING!
Look, cardio is a great way to burn some calories and is needed in the overall fat loss scheme, but should be performed at a MINIMUM. Cardio is an aerobic exercise that reduces body fat as well as muscle mass. When you lose muscle mass, your natural BMR (basal metabolic rate) slows down. Once this happens, this means your body will burn fewer calories at rest and per day. See, the amount of your lean body mass is directly correlated with how many calories you use up each day, and how lean you can ultimately become.
Cardio is a stress put on the body, and our bodies adapt to stress very efficiently. What does this mean? Well, let’s say you preform 30 minutes of cardio 3 times per week. At first, this is difficult, then as time goes on and you train at the level more and more, the body will slowly start to adapt to this specific stress and it will become easier to accomplish. When this happens, you basically become adapted to that stress you put on your body and you don’t get the same effect as you did when you initially started off. When you perform cardio religiously, your body will adapt to reserve as much energy as possible. When you become “conditioned” the only thing left to do is to add more cardio to see any form of further results. This process will continue as you adapt to the more time you put into your cardio, leaving you setting aside over an hour (plus) just to complete your cardio – Let me explain why this happens. It’s the same reason why drastic cuts in calories are never a good thing in terms of dieting. As your body adapts to reserve calories, it suppresses your metabolism. For those of you who like to run for hours on end, here is the energy adaption response to cardio: The body over time will adapt and become more fuel efficient. It will learn to burn the fewest amount of calories possible in an attempt to be successful (success = being able to run further and longer on as few of calories as possible).
With long distance running, fat becomes the major source of energy, so your body will become extremely good at figuring out how to store and hold onto body fat. Now if you were told to stop cardio completely, you may say “Hey, doesn’t this mean I will be burning less calories per day, which in turn means I will gain fat?” The answer is no, as your body will have already downgraded its metabolism, so it’s burning fewer calories per day then you actually think it is. The only way to get your metabolism back would be to get it acclimated to a higher caloric intake by feeding it with more food (more calories in) and cutting cardio out (less calories out). Once this takes place and you get back to a maintenance, you can manipulate food intake to help you lose body fat and implement an effective training schedule that will add lean muscle to your body. This leads me to why you should choose resistance training over cardio if looking to burn body fat.
In my opinion, a major facet in getting lean is by incorporating some form of resistance training to your life. This will help add lean muscle tissue to your body which will increase your overall metabolism. How does adding muscle to your frame lead to having an upgraded metabolism? Well, the more muscle you have on your body, the more metabolically active your body becomes. This means that more calories are burned per day due to the extra muscle mass. In layman terms, the more lean muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body burns by doing nothing! Muscles eat up calories as they are very active and need the calories to keep the tissue active. So if you have more lean muscle on your body, then you will actually need to eat more food to keep the newly acquired muscle mass. Yes, this means with a higher caloric intake, you can enjoy those foods you have been staying away from as they normally would put you over your daily caloric limit. Resistance training helps with this as it upgrades your metabolism by literally adding more muscle to your body. When you resistance train, your body realizes it needs to be bigger, stronger, and the muscles need more of