You’ve now spent the last couple of months working hard doing cardio at the gym. Stepping on the scale once again, you notice that the needle hasn’t moved to the left that much — what a surprise you think. Even though you’ve been working hard trying to shed the weight, you believed that doing cardio only weight loss programs would be the solution to your weight loss. However, many studies have consistently shown that high intensity exercise is better than simple aerobics. It’s also true that weight lifting for weight loss is better than cardio, both in terms of burning calories and reducing disease. This seems very counter-intuitive for most people, but simply running on a treadmill, or doing rounds on a bike just isn’t going to cut it; you have to be will be willing to also engage with the weights if you’re going to see positive results.
Now that’s not to say that all cardio exercise won’t work or help with losing weight — it does. But the problem with it, is that it’s limited, and can only help so much; and your body will quickly adapt to it unless you’re constantly challenging yourself. Essentially, it’s not really as much about what you do, but how you do it. See, if week after week you’re running at the same intensity, and burning the same amount of calories, then you’re going to keep getting the same results. Whereas if you increase the intensity and challenge yourself every week, you’re going to start seeing results much quicker. That’s why doing intense cardio, such as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has been proven to work well for burning fat. If you do cardio by engaging all your aerobic energy systems: phosphagen, anaerobic, and aerobic, it will be much easier for your body to burn calories quickly and efficiently. We will be interested in the phosphagen system for now.
In brief, the phosphagen system is used for high intensity movements: short but intense bursts of power and speed. This system uses both ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and CP (creatine phosphate) to generate the energy needed for this intense type of movement. In HIIT in particular, when you do intense bursts of movement in short intervals, then your body will primarily use this system. This will no doubt yield the greatest results in terms of burning calories.
Your body also uses the anerobic and aerobic systems, but if you really want to burn calories efficiently daily, as well as make improvements, then you want to utilize the phosphagen system regularly. You can either do this by doing HIIT, sprinting, or other high intensity sports and exercises. However, a great way to engage the phosphagen system is to do weight lifting. By lifting weights at least 3x per week, for 45 minutes to an hour each time, you will burn almost twice as many calories in half the time. In addition, many studies have also proven that high intensity exercises such as weight lifting help protect the heart from disease, along with a host of other benefits that regular, low intensity aerobic exercise can’t do. So if you’re not doing any sort of weight lifting for weight loss now, then it may be worth considering if you’re not getting the results you want.
However, even though regular cardio exercise isn’t necessarily the best weight to lose weight, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, or need to replace it entirely. Combining both cardio — preferably HIIT — along with a regular weight training routine, can take your results to another level. You can alternate each day, or do everything in one day a few times per week. And if you’re a woman, it doesn’t mean you have to lift heavy, but that you should start with weights depending on your current strength levels. Each week you can increase the weights, and this will ensure you are burning extra calories, so your body won’t adapt and can burn more fat. Try it out for a week or two; you’ll be happy you did.