Many gym-goers dedicate their time to cardio equipment, aerobics classes and spinning sessions to lose weight, because they believe that cardio is the most effective way to burn fat.
While any form of exercise will burn calories, a combined approach – weight training and cardio – is often the most effective way to lose weight.
READ MORE | Cardio, Weights, Or Both?
The muscle factor
Firstly, low to moderate steady-state cardio for an hour or less each day – what many people tend to engage in – does little to burn significant calories.
While high-intensity cardio will deliver better results, you should also aim to build more muscle to boost your overall metabolic rate.
This process is important in the weight-loss equation because creating more metabolically-active muscle tissue will boost your metabolism.
READ MORE | 8 Ways You’re Slowing Your Metabolism
Maximise your metabolism
Including weight training in your exercise regimen (combined with adequate protein intake from a balanced diet) is the most effective way to increase your muscle mass, which in turn boosts your resting (basal) metabolic rate – the amount of calories you burn each day to support basic bodily functions.
High-intensity weight training like metcons can also increase your post-exercise metabolic rate (due to higher recovery demands) to a greater degree than the type of cardio most people engage in, which helps you burn more calories.
You can intersperse sets or weight training exercises with bursts of intense cardio intervals if you don’t want to structure every workout with separate cardio and weight training sessions. It is beneficial to use varied pace and intensity during the cardio component of your session rather than just steady effort.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.