Often when it comes to wanting to lose weight or ‘fat loss ‘ most women turn to adding in cardio and dieting. Strength training tends to be a bit of an afterthought. However strength training can actually help you burn the same , if not more calories as what cardio exercise can.
So why do people focus on cardio to shrink their waistline?
For starters, cardio does shrink you down but that’s exactly what it does. It shrinks you down with no control over whether you are losing fat or muscle mass leaving some looking skinny yes, BUT also soft and feeling a little weak.
Now this approach is often taken to as the first point of call because it can at times offer quick results. If you’re someone jumping straight into a calorie deficit and upping your cardio , you will see the scales drop and your waist start to thin out. These early results are often what leads women to believe that to ‘lose fat ‘ cardio is the only way.
While cardio burns calories and fat when you’re performing it, high rep strength training has what is known as high EPOC or “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.” This is a fancy term for saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise.
Studies have shown that strength training can elevate your EPOC up to 38 hours after the workout. So in other words your body is burning a higher amount of calories for up to 38 hours post workout, whereas once you stop cardio – the calorie burning also stops.
So how can we gain strength?
Strength can be gained through compound movements, where you are recruiting more than one muscle at a time , using free weights such a dumbbells and kettlebells, increasing your volume by upping the weight when it is no longer challenging you, upping the reps on your larger lifts such as squats or deadlifts and supersetting the exercises between upper and lower body. This can be by setting up mini circuits or follow through full body strength based circuits with a mixture of exercises and little rest between leaving your rest time to the end of each round.
As you can see there are many different ways to approach fat loss but for ‘optimum fat loss’ and to achieve specific body composition goals , strength training should be included in your training routine. A balanced training program with a mix cardio, (HIIT or LISS), strength training plus recovery or rest days paired with a quality diet is what is going to help you see the fat loss you are after.