Posted on 11 November 2015
Lucie Colt: Guest Blogger
Weights or Cardio?
This is a question that keeps coming up so I thought I would finally address it for you all… There is so much debate as to which is better and has become quite a controversial topic in the health and fitness world. I see people absolutely kill themselves on the cardio machines in an effort to lose weight and if I am honest, I use to be one of them!
These people, usually females are generally scared of picking up weights for fear of getting “bulky”. Something very misconstrued and misunderstood within the industry is the difference between weight loss and fat loss. What should we be aiming for? Undoubtedly fat loss!
Weight is highly deceptive and I constantly have to reassure clients not to focus on the scales. I am also guilty of this and it is ridiculous that I, and many others I know let their mood be defined by what it says on the scales – I will address this in a separate blog post.
Someone might weigh more; however be more toned, leaner and healthier than someone who weighs less. This is why it is important to measure success through fat loss rather than a number on the scales – In my opinion progress photos are the best way to measure!
In my opinion and from personal experience, the best fat loss method I have found comes from doing a mixture of strength training and cardio, specifically HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). If you do long hours of cardio with no strength training and still expect to tone up, think again. That's why I always combine the two in my client’s programmes.
Now… let's get onto the good stuff… weights. Ladies, (THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT) - I can’t say this enough; lifting weights will not turn you into a man. It will however, shape and tone your body! Having a toned body means having more lean muscle and less body fat. The only way to build muscle is by lifting weights. Now, whilst cardio may burn more calories in the instant of the actual time you have spent exercising, resistance/weight training will keep your body burning calories long after you have finished your session. Plus muscle burns far more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, turning your body into a total fat burning machine…. Taddaaaaa.
Moving onto cardio… Cardio has been said to burn more calories in the specific period of time you spend exercising, which is why people see it as an effective tool to use for weight loss. Cardio definitely has its place in a health and fitness routine. It improves cardiovascular fitness, gets the heart rate up, boosts your energy and helps with your mood. However, if you want to get the best results possible and get lean and toned, then cardio alone won’t do the job.
Let’s take a little closer look at HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) rather than LISS (Low Intensity Steady State). With HIIT training, you create metabolic changes in your body that will make you burn fat more efficiently. HIIT raises your natural metabolism so you’re burning fat for hours after your workout, and allows your fat burning hormones to work for you rather than against you. Clinical studies have found that HIIT - exercising for short intervals, with rests between exercises –helps you lose body fat faster!
So here's my overall opinion… Cardio is a great place to start for anyone on their fitness journey and who wants to lose weight. However, I don’t believe cardio by itself will give you the toned body that most of you want. So if fat loss and toning is your goal, start incorporating weights and HIIT into your routine. By doing this you will maximize your results and get the body you’ve always wanted. For me, this was when my body truly starting transforming and evolving into what it is today.
If you want some more personalized advice do shoot me an email or check out my online coaching here.