When people decide they want to lose weight, they typically look for a way to do it that will produce the quickest results. After all, the longer it takes to start seeing a difference, the likelier it is that someone will give up. So, what is an effective way of slimming down your waistline without having to spend all your free time exercising? Well, if you thought the answer was cardio, you might be surprised by the truth.
When you go to the gym, you’re essentially faced with two options. You can either do cardio on things like the treadmill, cross-trainer, etc., or you can focus on lifting weights. Typically, people associate the former with losing weight and the latter with putting on muscle, but slotting them into these boxes doesn’t work. While these different exercises do achieve those results, that’s not all they can do for you.
Focus on the muscles
A lot of personal trainers will advise you to do muscle workouts when you tell them you want to lose weight. Whether that’s doing resistance machines like the chest press and backward row, calisthenics like sit-ups and pull-ups, or just free weights, it’s all great for your body. That’s because having bigger and stronger muscles does more for you than just giving you a great figure. The more strength training you do for your body, the easier it is to lose weight.
Trimming the fat
If you're going to lose weight, you want to be burning more calories in a day than you put into your body. That’s because once you’ve used up the food that’s currently in your system, you look to your existing fat stores for more energy. It’s for that reason that eating less than usual will typically help you shed the pounds. However, if you’re not a huge fan of dieting, you can make up for it by doing exercises that typically burn the most calories. While cardio is good for working off the fat, muscle workouts are normally the best way to go.
How it works
So, why is lifting weights so good for shedding the pounds? There are several reasons for it, one of which is related to the presence of mitochondria in your muscles. The bigger your muscles, the more mitochondria there is, and therefore the more calories you burn off. Moreover, strength exercises like this also release a higher number of catecholamines, a hormone that’s essential for burning fat.
Finally, lifting weights is generally better for increasing your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. The higher this is, the more calories you burn off after your workout, making it much more effective than just an hour of cardio.
If you’re a fan of cardio, nothing is stopping you from continuing to implement it into your workouts. However, weight lifting exercises are generally better for you because they produce far greater results with only a little extra effort. Try warming up with some time on the treadmill or cross-trainer, then see what you can manage in the weight room. You might be surprised by how quickly you start seeing results.