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Aside from cardio building a strong heart and lungs, cardio really just makes you better at cardio. Too often I see women turning to interval training, ‘cardio’, or high intensity exercises to strip that excess body fat when they should be looking at metabolic resistance training and strength training.
Let me tell you why.
Post oxygen consumption.
This little anomaly is what we commonly refer to as the “after burn”, it is where the real magic happens. This ’magic’ is the black hole in the universe that not too many people understand. When you are finished your training session and you getting back to your daily routine, your metabolism continues to burn calories at an accelerated rate. On days that you are not exercising your calorie consumption is low.
This physiological effect is what we call “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”. This ‘oxygen debt’ is the amount of oxygen we require to get our body back to its normal homeostasis. In a nutshell it means we continue to burn calories long after you have put the barbell down.
Strength training or resistance training increases your post-oxygen consumption, so you are literally burning more calories whilst you sleep. Cardio however does not have this effect on your “EPOC”. Exercises that force you to consume more oxygen burns more calories.
Move more weight, use more oxygen, burn more calories, get more lean. Simple
Not only does moving heavy weight around increase your EPOC, but moving a heavy weight requires more muscle activation. More muscle activation, more energy consumption, more oxygen usage, more calories burnt, more fat loss.
Now with all this science in mind, I ask myself why are women still turning to the treadmill? Unless their goal is purely to build a strong heart and lungs. Even so, the deadlift, the squat and the other big compound lifts of the exercise world train those lungs and build that heart just as effectively as the misery that is cardio.
Training for strength using the compound lifts places a massive demand on your muscles. Heavy training loads and short recovery periods increase the bodies demand on the anaerobic energy pathways and this is what yields a greater EPOC effect during recovery.
Ask yourself what your purpose is in the gym? Remind yourself why you there and choose what gives you bang for your buck.
There are some basic principles that I live by at OTG, and I endeavor to educate women and men on the same laws when it comes to fat loss and weight management. Nutrition is king. You’ve seen the memes “You can’t out train a bad diet” – this is reality. This is a training article so I’m not going to go down that road, but prioritise your nutrition.
You need to build muscle. This does not mean get jacked and go ‘Phil Heath’ on the supplements, exercise regime and diet. It just means, gain some lean muscle – I cannot iterate this more. A couple extra kilos of muscle means you are able to burn more calories.
The most important rule of them all, and this should not just be a rule but more so an absolute law when it comes to getting lean. GET STRONG. To effectively get strong choose those exercises that are multijointed and require every fibre in your body to engage. Compound movements, deadlift, squat, bench press, clean, press etc. These are the exercises you should be doing to target fat loss. The harder the exercise the better.
Getting strong is not just about building muscle and improving your athletic performance. When you’re chasing fat loss, your goal is to use as much fuel as possible in training you want your body to be as fuel inefficient as possible. The stronger you get, the better you get at moving weights, the more you can lift, the more exasperated you get, and BOOM increased fat burn.
At OTG we bleed strength, our women are strong, they are lean and they are building engines daily through strength training. Strength breeds success.
Make the decision to do what challenges you, training for fat loss shouldn’t have you treading lightly in spandex with your granny, you should be building caluses on your hands instead of following the mainstream trends.
Do more, lift more, move more.