Cardio vs. Weights…who wins?

Cardio vs. Weights…Two Fitness Leaders Weighing In

Anyone who has been reading my blog for some period of time knows its no secret: when it comes to fat loss, Resistance training is superior to Cardio. I’ve touched upon this subject before comparing cardio with interval training here and here, but it’s always a topic that is worth rehashing again, simply because many people don’t get it.

What kind of people don’t get it? The ones who are spending far too much time on cardio equipment trying to “zap” that last 10 lbs of jiggle under your butt. Is an hour a day of cardio really the best way to go? How about 2 hours, will that make you burn twice as much? Is there a more time-efficient, more effective solution?

(Answers: No, No, and a RESOUNDING YES!)

How about we take a listen to Fitness Guru Paul Chek on the topic:

So, let’s do a quick catch-up checkpoint to cover some topics he talked about to make this video make more sense for you, so you can begin to understand what you’re fat loss goals are missing out on:

  • Bodybuilding intensities = moderate weight/high reps. Don’t be scared of this word. If you’re a female, there is an extremely low chance you will bulk, mainly due to hormonal factors and not enough calorie consumption to produce significant gains in muscle.In application, moderate weight/high reps would mean the following: If you’re 1RM (1 rep max, or the max amount of weight you can lift for 1 repetition) on the squat is 100 pounds, then you’re doing sets of 10-15 with 70-75 lbs, or 70-75% of your 1RM).
  • Cortisol is a glucocortisoid secreted by our adrenal glands, a corticosteroid stress hormone in our body, and, when its levels are elevated chronically for a period of time, it tends to wreak havoc on our body’s ability to maintain muscle. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that preserving lean tissue mass (muscle mass), you can appreciate that your body will be a much more efficient calorie burning machine, especially during the time periods between your workouts….This is where all the magic happens, folks.

In fact, to demonstrate this last point more clearly, and so it resonates with you a bit more, I found a great interview with world-renowned fat loss expert Alwyn Cosgrove preaching on the topic. I’ll quote a couple passages that I really stuck out in my mind:

“…Over the years, we have tracked those results, and adjusted the programs to develop the best fat loss/body composition training program that we can – which is essentially a resistance training – interval training – self limiting exercise hybrid. Resistance training – specifically what we call “metabolic” resistance training, always – always – outperforms other forms of exercise in terms of real world fat loss – even when calories burned during training are similar. Why? Well, it’s either muscle gains from the resistance training that increase metabolism, or some sort of post-workout effect. But the fat loss is far bigger even in the short term – before any muscle would have been built. So it’s some type of post-workout change to the metabolism that we’ve coined the “afterburn” effect. Which we describe as “the post workout period that results in metabolic disturbance, elevating EPOC, fat burning enzyme activity and total body fat oxidation to maximize caloric burn for the other 23+ hours per day”.

(EPOC = Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, or what he calls the “afterburn” effect).

“We’ve seen interval training studies that show more total fat loss than aerobic programs that burn the same calories during the exercise session. Why? It must be a post workout effect. We’ve seen weight training studies show more total fat loss than cardio programs that burn the same calories during the exercise session? Why? Same deal. It’s not just the calories burned during training that make the difference. So we have to go after programs that result in some type of change to the metabolism post workout. I propose that there is an accumulative effect of the post workout increase in metabolism. Most of the studies look at single isolated workouts and the corresponding short term metabolism changes. But that’s not real world. Real world fat loss is several workouts, increasing in volume and intensity over a longer period of time.”

Hmmmm…this sounds remarkably familiar…

The point is, is that you must create a metabolic disturbance in your body, strong enough to illicit the fat burning response to occur between workouts. How do you reproduce this fat burning response again and again? You sure as hell aren’t going to reproduce it using the same pink dumbbells or body weight squats again and again. Progressive Overload, people!

So there you have it; Two world class leaders in the field of fitness giving their two cents on effective means of fat loss through resistance-based exercise.



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