By Steve Baric, HBA, E-CPT
It’s no secret that a lot of people want to lose weight. If this weren’t true, the whole diet and supplement industry would be bankrupt in no time! Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion out there about what exercises to do, what foods to eat, and what pills to take. This leads to a unique condition I like to call “Program Paralysis.”
You get so confused and overwhelmed by too much information, you actually do nothing to move forward in your weight loss. Well, I’m here to tell you right now, if you do nothing else (including if you don’t even pick up any other weight loss program), you can get started and see results if you just implement these incredibly simple tricks.
Trust me, they work. In fact, when I started on my weight loss journey, just doing these five things helped me shave off 30 lbs. of unwanted fat before I even knew it was happening. Again, if you do nothing else, put these tricks to work. You’ll be glad you started!
In most weight loss programs, there’s an emphasis on cardio.
“Cardio” is short for “cardiovascular exercise,” (what we used to call “aerobics”) and it’s true that cardio does burn stored fat for fuel.
There’s a problem with cardio for fat loss, however. See, we’re designed to be efficient machines, and we get more efficient the more we work. That’s what training is all about. Efficiency means using less energy to accomplish the same amount of work.
That’s a good thing, if you’re a car. It’s a terrible idea if you’re a human trying to burn more fat instead of less.
In order for cardio to effectively burn fat, you have to stay in your target heart rate zone for a period of at least 30 minutes. This usually takes 15 minutes to achieve, and is safest if you take another 15 minutes to cool down. That’s only an hour in total. But -- and here’s the kicker -- even if you burn 500 calories of stored fat during that 30-minute running time, your next workout will likely burn only 497 calories.
This is why after a year of daily one-hour cardio sessions (that’s 300+ hours of work), the research group at the University of Toronto only lost 6 lbs. of fat.
That’s not a high return on investment, in my opinion.
So yes, cardio has a very definite purpose. But fat loss is not its most effective application.
So what does burn fat effectively?
Well, the surprising thing for a lot of people is that it comes down to resistance.
Resistance training is any exercise that fights an opposing force of some kind. This can include weights, bands, or even the weight of your own body. What this type of training does best is it builds muscle; and muscle, as it turns out, is more metabolically active than fat.
That means muscle burns calories just staying alive. Fat doesn’t.
Resistance training also requires an exertion of force, which does burn calories. Now, don’t get me wrong; the main source of fuel for this type of movement is glycogen, which is the stored form of the sugar molecule glucose. However, when it comes to building, repairing, and strengthening that muscle tissue after the workout, your body will need to draw on stored energy.
If you’ve fueled up properly, protein and amino acids will be put to work building and repairing muscle tissue. The energy required to do this will come, ideally, from your stored fat.
Ooooh...and here’s a few more bonuses to resistance training:
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