Combine Cardio With Weight (Strength) Training to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

cardio & strength-training-weight-lossMaybe a few of us dream to look like a supermodels, but absolutely everyone aspires to be fit and look good! It's really interesting how a little change in your fitness routine can accelerate your chances of achieving your goals. Exercise and a balanced diet plan will not only get you a fit body, but even a sharp mind! Contrary to what many people think, strength training is as important, maybe more important to successful fat loss than aerobic exercise. Spending hours a day doing cardio workouts may not be the best solution to tone and trim your body; you burn calories, yes, but you are mostly burning your muscle instead of fat, which would make you look flabby and leave you tired. This is where adopting a serious weight lifting routine comes to your rescue, especially for women, who find it harder to build muscle. So read on to find out why is weight-training important, and how should you go about it.
(img credit: google images)

Muscle vs Fat
"Losing weight" is synonyous with "losing fat, not muscle". Muscle tissue is very active--it burns a lot of calories. Every pound of muscle burns about 35 calories per day. Since there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, you would gain almost one pound of fat per month just from the muscle mass that you lost! Inactive adults lose around one-half pound of muscle per year, or five pounds per decade. Since most people continue to eat as much as usual, if you take in more calories than you burn, the extra calories get stored as fat. Fat is less dense then muscle, which means that as you lose muscle and gain fat, your weight might remain the same over the years, but your waistline will continue to expand!

Strength Training Versus Aerobic Exercise
How can you lose and keep off extra fat? You need to increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the pace your body burns calories at rest. Your RMR is closely linked to the amount of muscle you have. Depending on the intensity and your weight, an aerobic workout (walking, cycling, stair stepping) will burn approximately 300 calories per hour, elevating the RMR temporarily up to a few hours, compared to strength training which elevates the RMR permanently. The RMR accounts for 60 to 75 percent of your daily calorie expenditure, so even a modest increase will help burn off more fat. This does not mean that overweight individuals shouldn't do aerobic exercise; it should be a part of a successful weight loss program. It's just that aerobic exercise by itself may not be the best solution for permanent weight (fat) loss.

So here are some basic requirements to get a fit and well-toned body:

Lower Body Workout
To improve your lower body, you must perform compound weight lifting exercises using a sufficient amount of weight. You should choose weight that allows you to do 5-10 repetitions before your muscles give up. Your lower-body workout should mainly include squats, deadlifts, leg press, and lunges. Free weights are the best, but if they are a bit too much for you, the exercise machines can surely help, though they are not as effective as free weights. Most importantly, Do Not be afraid of bulking up! As long as you don't eat more calories than your body is burning, it will not get bigger by weight lifting!

Upper-Body Workout
Your back, abs, arms, and shoulders all have the potential to carry a significant amount of muscle mass, too. Like with your legs, it's important that you choose a heavy-enough resistance, or weight. The heavier the weight and the more intense the workout is overall, the greater your post-workout caloric burn will be.

Repetitions and Intensity of Weights
Every individual's body works differently, so talk to a trainer and decide on how much weight you should lift and what would be the deal number of repetitions to do. Always start with lower weights with 2-3 sets comprising of 7-13 repetitions per set. Keep breathing (do not hold your breath) normally and lift and lower the weights slowly to get the maximum benefit. The basic rule is to Exhale while lifting weight and Inhale while lowering it down.

Combine with Cardio
As unfair as it may seem, it's common for men to be able to get and stay lean just by working out with weights and following a healthy diet. But for women who have a lower metabolic rate, cardio combined with weghts is very important. So try aiming for 30-40 minute of cardio workout at least 3 times a week. Try alternating between machines or routines to achieve maximum benefit.

Don't be afraid of weights; as long as you do it wisely, a consistent 30-minute workout as described above performed 2 -3 times per week is enough to get you lose those inches and make you fit and strong. It will keep you energetic and mentally alert too. But always remember that your body is your best guide. If you feel sore or weak, stop immediately and evaluate your program again. Talk about this with your physician and personal trainer and add strength-training to your workout routine today!! Hope this article helps you take the first step to a healthier body!

NOTE: The author is not a licensed nutritionist or physical trainer. Please use this article as a reference and discuss the best solution with your physician or trainer before following these tips.

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10 Simple Healthy Eating Habits

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Raks said...

Thats very useful Mansi! Just bought a treadmill and seriously burning calories! At this time you made me know more information!

Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful post with great tips! I am working with a fitness trainer at my gym so I can tell what you say is totally valid!!:)

Mansi said...

Ben - I know!! nothing can be more encouraging than fitting into your older pants!:)

raks - thanks girl, and good luck to you!

sangeeta - thanks for your feedback for the least ppl would know I'm not writing wrong facts:)D heheee

Uma said...

what a great tips! thanks

Vanamala Hebbar said...

Good info mansi :) .... waiting for summer to join jim :D

Anonymous said...

very well described! I loved the comparisons here, taught me quite a lot and now I can better evaluate my fitness routine:)



Prema Sundar said...

Good post with useful tips ..thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is what i learned last Wednesday when i went to enquire about membership in a fitness club. I remember somewhere i read for every 30 minutes cardio you need to do 15 minute strength training. Good info, i chanced upon your site when i was looking for reviews on chaat paradise.


Sagari said...

nice post mansi

Dhivya said...

Great tips mansi:)thanks

Mansi said...

glad you'll liked it! Usha, welcome to this site, and I hope you find it more useful and fun!

Rosie said...

Great advice and tips Mansi

Rosie x

Aspiring Annapoorna said...

I've been trying mild strength training combined with cardio - its a really good combination - and not hard to do at all. There are several workout DVDs in the market that encourage the combination - I've been using leslie sanson's 3 mile powerwalk - with 3 lb weights in each hand. Muscle tone shows remarkable improvement in just a month!

EC said...

Very informative post...keep sharing such ones

AnuZi said...

So my issue is that I have a very volatile weight issue. I lose and gain often...and I know its not healthy. Lately I have been having problems in my back and shoulder more due to I am going to start on lifting some weights. Not just for toning purposes but also for strengthening them. Great post!

Helene said...

As a fitness trainer you know you made me very happy with this post!
I have to disagree with Ben though:
5 lbs. of fat is bulkier than 5 lbs. of muscle, but five pounds is still five pounds. Muscle does not weigh more than fat.
Fat is bulky so if you carry an extra five pounds of fat, you'll be lumpier than with five pounds more muscle. A five pound pile of fat will take up more space (volume) than a five pound pile of muscle; but five pounds is still five pounds. The correct way to state the muscle weighs more than fat scenario is, "Muscle is heavier by volume than fat."

A woman weighing 150 pounds with 19% fat will look much smaller (and be much healthier) than a woman at 150 pounds with 35% fat. They weigh the same, yet the composition is different. Because muscle is more dense than fat the person with less fat and more muscle will look smaller.

Mansi said...

Tartelette - I find it very hard to believe that you, the pastry chef, is a fitness trainer!!:) and yet I'm so happy you shared your input with us! its' always good to get a seal from an expert:)

Anonymous said...

I think cardio is great as long as your also involing some sort of fitness routine to your workout session.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have been training with weights for about 5 months now and have been taking maximuscle supplements.
Before New years, i was trinaing for strength, but now, I have decided to lower my waist size and get back to 31-32. so, i have been taking a fat buring pill by maximuslce and also have been taking in about 90-100g of protien a day so that i can preserve muscle.
I am aiming to go to the gym 6 times a week, 3 days cardio and 3 days weight lifting. i currently weight 164lb and have roughly about 15-16% body fat! and would like to get down to about <12%

the days I do cardio, i do roughly 30min and burn abt 320 calories. and i am now eating really healthy aswell, probably taking in about 1500 calories a day!

what would you recommend that I incorporate into my routine.

FYI, the products I take from maximuscle are Thermobol, Promax diet nad Maximilk. which equates to about 90g of protien.

and also, is it worth taking supplements, because my friends believe that It can have side effects! could you advise



Mansi said...

hi Shaqs,

thanks for writing to me about this, but I am not a certified trainer or nutritionist, hence I cannot give you specific advice for your case. But a trainer at your local gym will be able to guide you properly, and one consultation session is almost always free. Also, you can try online sources like Denise Austin for customized plans. I've used her plan before, and its really good.

good luck with your goals friend!:)

Ian Thorton said...

Thanks for sharing this!

To find out more on how to burn fat through weight training, you may want to read the article on this site.

David Hussey said...

Thanks for great post. This is very informative with useful tips and advice .I like it and Triathlon events.

Rich Pinnell said...

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me..
Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success.