Meet my athlete Nancy. She is the strong athletic woman in the picture above. She has 3 chilren and a full time job. Nancy is a busy lady. Oh did I mention that Nancy has competed in both Power Lifting & Bikini/Fitness.
What do you think her #1 tool is for getting in amazing shape like this?
Do you think she a ton of cardio?
She did not.
Her weapon of choice to build an amazing body was lifting heavy weights, strength circuits and sprinting variations. I have seen many women get in incredible shape when lifting weights became their tool to for fat loss.
This is Nancy & I after UFE Insurrection and her competing in Power Lifting.
Sadly most women when they think about fat loss think the following.
“I need to lose fat,” the first associations they immediately make are two fold:
1. I have to do cardio.
2. I have to diet.
Due to this mindset, 95% of people who want to build muscle and lose fat are doomed for failure before they even start.
Without a doubt, when it comes to losing fat and building muscle, nutrition is a huge factor. As well, high intensity cardio does have it’s place. And yes, (I can’t believe I am going to say this) steady state cardio can be beneficial for some people.
However, the BIG thing that most people are missing in their fat loss equation, is lifting weights and strength training.
This is a big mistake as lifting and building muscle should be the backbone of your focus even when your goal is fat loss.
Here Are 3 Reasons Why You Need To LIFT Heavy Weights To Lose Fat.
Muscle = Metabolism.
You won’t build much muscle with cardio, so if you want to build muscle you have to lift.
The more lean muscle you have, the more you’re going to use calories to support everything you do. Think of muscle as the engine of your body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.
I always say to my students, “think of it this way, what burns more gas a tiny car or a big truck?”
Simple, the big truck.
So it’s important to look at how many calories you are burning 24/7 by having more muscle.
From what I have read, the average pound of muscle burns 50 more calories a day.
My math skills are pretty bad, but even I can figure out that if I add 5 pounds of lean muscle, I will burn about 250 additional calories a day.
That’s 7,500 calories a month and 90,000 calories a YEAR.
So it’s simple, add lean muscle.
And for you ladies that are reading this, I promise you that adding 5 pounds of muscle will not make you look like a female bodybuilder.
2. Calories Burned Post Workout
Think about this for a second. When you do a 30 minute jog or machine cardio session, how many calories do you think you need to RECOVER from that workout? How long until you are recovered from that?
Think of a metabolic workout of battling ropes, slam balls and bodyweight exercises. There is no doubt you will burn a few calories, but after a few hours your body goes back to normal. I think Metabolic Conditioning has it’s place and has benefits but the base of your training should be lifting weights.
Now let’s think about a big leg workout. Let’s say you did nothing for an hour but bar squats.
How long are you sore and recovering from that workout before you don’t curse one flight of stairs.
Bottom line is this, weight training does more “damage” to your body. Your body in turn, has to use a lot of energy repairing that damage, then rebuilding, and coming back stronger.
The better the workout = more calories burned for the next 2-3 days while your body recovers.
When it comes to getting a good workout this leads right into reason number three.
3. Calorie Expenditure Of The Workout
Let’s say you train for 1 maybe 2 hours a day, 3-5 days a week. Most people can get 45 minutes to an hour to train, so we need to get the biggest “bang for our buck” when it comes to rate of return on that workout.
If you were investing money for the future, you would want a good rate of return. So when it comes to investing in your body and fat loss, you want to invest in exercises that are going to build muscle, burn fat, expend calories, and of course, be fun and enjoyable.
If your idea of fun is watching tv and getting on a treadmill for an hour, then that’s great, but it’s not for me. Been there, done that, and never doing it again.
Your workout should pretty much consist of variations of these exercises, 3-5 days a week.
The leanest athletes that I train at my gym Heavyweights Training Center do little to NO steady state cardio. The train with weights, they train like athletes, but we do NO steady state cardio.
To be strong you want to minimize steady state cardio and focus on maintaining strength and building/keeping muscle.
In my opinion too much “Cardio” will diminish strength, especially steady state cardio.
I guarantee you will not find a competitive weight lifter or powerlifter that does a ton of steady state cardio and in the lower weight classes for these weight lifting based competitions they are muscular and lean.
Focus on basic movements, with the goal of getting stronger and getting faster.
Follow a good program that is proven to work, and focus on lifting HeavyWeights over steady state cardio as your main method for fat loss.
Always remember that the more muscle you have the more calories you burn.
Make building muscle and getting stronger your priority in training, not burning calories and doing cardio.
Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.