Here’s the link to Forget Everything You THINK You Know, Part 1; in case you missed it.
So lets start Part 2 by recapping the main points of Part 1.
Trying to lose weight, tone up, whatever. Resistance (aka weight) training is your number one priority.
Let me say that again for emphasis; resistance training is your number one priority!
So, that doesn’t mean “gym once a week, 4 hours of cardio every other night”. It means weights (or resistance bands, bodyweight resistance, whatever you’ve got) 4 or 5 times a week. And by “weights” I don’t mean one of those group fitness classes with the barbells… don’t get me wrong, I’ve done those years ago and they are a bloody hard workout, but I’m talking about lifting HEAVY, the way I described yesterday.
Somewhat technical explanation; lifting light weights will only really tax the Type I muscle fibres, which generally speaking are not going to be the most abundant form of muscle fibres (unless you are an endurance athlete or something, I suppose). So, this sort of training will work the Type I fibres, get a good pump of blood into the muscles, and it will burn a lot of calories. But that doesn’t make it the best way to change your body composition and get hard and lean – you gotta lift heavy!
So here’s the next thing you probably need to forget about: burning more calories = more effective exercise.
Now this might be a contentious issue for a lot of people. I know a lot of trainers are fond of combining exercises to burn more calories. And a lot of people prefer lighter weights / higher reps (or the treadmill, or whatever) because they believe it will burn more calories.
I want to put it to you and everyone else out there, that just burning more calories is missing the point. When people talk about “burning calories” it implies that eating food is a bad thing, a necessary evil, or unavoidable pitfall. Which, it isn’t. Food is FUEL and the purpose of exercise is to make the body UTILISE that fuel to build the healthy, attractive body that we all desire (or, to improve performance in sport I guess, if that’s your thing).
So yes, our resistance training session is going to burn a few hundred calories. Like I said yesterday, at first it’s just lift, chillax, lift, chillax. Easy. But once you hit your stride and start lifting as heavy as possible with decent technique, you’ll be breathing just as hard and sweating just as much as you might in one of those hard cardio sessions. Pretty close anyway. But there’s a difference… a big difference.
What happens next is… your body has to recover. We’ve exhausted supplies of glycogen in the muscles and the liver, so for the rest of the day your body is UTILISING the carbohydrates you take in to replenish these stores. We’re lifting as heavy as we possibly can, so your body is UTILISING the protein you take in to build stronger muscles. If you’ve got your intakes right, there’s nothing left over to go into fat stores, and your body gets the message and responds accordingly; by shedding fat and getting hard and firm.
Not necessarily HUGE and muscular mind you (the ladies always need to hear this part). We eat enough to maintain a target weight range, and end up at that weight, but lean, toned, firm and attractive. You can only get bigger by eating bigger, understand? I keep saying; it is actually incredibly difficult to build a large body builder’s style physique. It certainly will not happen by accident!
So what’s wrong with cardio?
Nothing. But cardio will only take you part of the way. This is why a lot of people come to me frustrated because they’re doing so much cardio, eating so little, and still not getting the lean, toned figure that they’re after. Read the testimonials on my site, it’s all in there.
Like I said above, cardio burns calories that you’ve consumed during the day, and if this leaves you below maintenance levels you’ll lose weight. But weight training forces your body to utilise those calories to actually build the physique that you want. To use a horrifically bad analogy, cardio should be the icing on the cake, if you will. That bit extra that you do to compliment your resistance training. Not the other way around!
Nutrition (hitting the right range of calories, nothing too difficult or unpleasant) is first, weights second, and cardio third; as far as what areas of your plan make the most difference in your results.
But I like cardio!
Good! Keep doing it, and add in a weights program 4 times a week. You’ll see much better results.
And if you HATE cardio… look, if you really want a well rounded fitness routine you’ll try to find some form of cardio that you do enjoy (I like boxing, or bodyweight circuits, that’s about all!) and do it a couple of times a week. But don’t letting hating cardio put you off trying to get into shape, because you’ll almost certainly find that weights is a lot more enjoyable and you’re better cut out for it.
So, you don’t do cardio sessions in your Personal Training?
Mostly I want people lifting weights. But I also do boxing, kickboxing and bodyweight resistance based circuits amongst other things for a hard and fun cardio workout.
I aint gonna stand next to you while you’re on a treadmill for 40 minutes though. No chance in hell!