Why Cardio Exercise Alone Does Not Work To Burn
Fat & Lose Weight
certainly has its place in every fitness program but it should be
a part of a balanced program including cardio, strength training,
and a healthy diet.
The key to losing body fat and keeping it off is strength training.
Lean muscle is the driving force behind your metabolism and the
only way to increase your metabolism or burn more calories at rest,
is to increase lean muscle through strength training. For the women
that are afraid to get "too bulky" from strength training
that is simply a myth.
When most people think of strength training and the results it
yields, they think of the heavily muscled bodybuilders that plaster
the covers of magazines such as Muscle and Fitness. The models that
grace the covers of those magazines are simply models that are hired
to sell magazines and not a realistic result of someone who strength
trains a few times a week to get healthy.
So in order to truly rev up your metabolism and get rid of body
fat once and for all, there's really no substitute for resistance
training. This type of training tends to be overlooked by newbies
because it is believed that building muscle won't help you lose
weight. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Muscle Burns Fat
more lean muscle mass you have, the less fat you will have. The
reason for this is that muscle actually burns fat. Muscle helps
the body burn calories for hours after a workout. Studies have shown
people who lift weights have an even lower fat mass percentage than
those who do aerobic exercise alone.
Muscle Builds Strength
Most people don't stop to consider that the more strength you have,
the less likely you may be to get injured. Of course, that doesn't
mean you should over do the weights because this can also injure
you. But, if you are an avid runner, cyclist or swimmer it might
make sense to lift some weights so your body is stronger and can
perform longer and more efficiently without getting injured.
Muscle Reshapes The Body
What if you just dropped fifty pounds through diet and a nightly
jog through your neighborhood but when you look in the mirror, things
still jiggle and you still carry weight in the same spots you always
did? The best way to change this is to shape your body through building
muscle. This will tighten, firm, tone, and target those trouble
spots that you just can't seem to get rid of.
Muscle Fights Disease
The highest numbers of women who get osteoporosis in later years
are ones of slim build. Doctors always say that one of the best
ways to fight this debilitating bone loss is to do weight-bearing
activities, which increase bone density. Muscle has also been shown
in major studies to fight the onset of type two diabetes, build
the heart muscle to fight heart disease, and even help those who
suffer from arthritis to be more symptom free.
Muscle also supports overall immunity. This is because muscle supplies
the immune system with the disease-fighting amino acid glutamine.
So, the more muscle you have the more glutamine is supplied to the
But the best news is that all of this can be accomplished without
ever stepping on a treadmill or elliptical machine again? Millions
of Americans have spent hours and hours per week on the treadmill
trying to lose weight. Even more have struggled on the elliptical
trainer, bike, stair stepper, and versa climber. But few, if any
have dropped any pounds and kept them off.
Then there's spinning, Cross country skiing, Tae Bo, long walks
in the spring and summer and numerous other well-intentioned activities
like Aerobics class, Stepping, Hiking, Swimming, Snow shoeing, Rowing,
Salsa Dancing and even Sweating to the Oldies that did not help
keep the pounds off.
The reason is both shocking and completely true: cardiovascular
exercise alone won't help you lose the weight and keep it off. I
know you've been told thousands of times that cardiovascular exercise
is the key to weight loss! That's what we were all told. But that
was simply the wrong advice.
ask my patients all the time, "How are you exercising to lose
weight?" Most answer, "Cardio." I ask them, "Is
it working?" They say, "Well, no, but I just need to do
it more often and for a longer period of time." If something
isn't working, you are going to do more of it? You keep doing the
same thing over and over again and expect a different result? Albert
Einstein had a name for this type of logic: insanity.
Cardio is mindless. You hop on the treadmill, jump on the bike,
or step on the elliptical trainer, turn on the TV or pop in the
earphones of your iPod, flip through your favorite magazines, and
off you go... to nowhere fast. What are you accomplishing? Absolutely
nothing, except a Zen-like trance, during which you could just as
easily meditate on the mantra that Mindless Exercise Yields Forgettable
After 35 years of experience in clinical practice, I am convinced
that cardio kills. It kills your weight loss plan, your joints,
your internal organs and immune system, your body composition, your
time and, most of all, your motivation to stay committed to losing
But there is one thing that cardio doesn't kill: your appetite.
The more cardio you do, the hungrier you get. You burn a few measly
calories, and then you eat twice as many afterward. The result?
More weight gain and usually lots of it.
So, you ask, if cardio kills, what actually works? Well, first
and foremost to be perfectly clear, exercise is essential to weight
loss. Without it, you are doomed to fail. Don't think you are getting
off the hook by going cardio-free. You must exercise, but you must
do the right kind of exercise to see and feel the results you are
looking for. By committing to a mere eight weeks of the right exercises,
in the right order, consistently, you'll be amazed at what you can
achieve and maintain.
During this time, choose anaerobic endurance training. Choose any
activity - body weight resistance-training, weight training, skipping,
swimming, cycling or running and exert for short periods followed
by short periods of rest. By increasing the intensity and varying
the duration of each interval according to your own program, you
can lead your heart and lungs to transform and stay fit and strong.
While long-distance and long-duration cardio causes your heart
and lungs to shrink, short bursts of activity (it can be as simple
as climbing a flight of stairs at your best speed) builds up reserve
capacity in your heart (a great way to avoid a heart attack) and
triggers the expansion of your lungs. Not to forget stripping your
body of all fat.
This kind of activity will promote "after burn". As soon
as you finish exercising, your body starts burning fat to replace
the carbs that you used up during your workout. After a while, your
body will slow down making fat altogether. It simply will not need
fat as a fuel for your exercise anymore!
Calories In - Calories = Your Present Body Weight
all know what food and activity are but what few are even aware
of resting metabolism? Your resting metabolic rate is the number
of calories that your body requires on a daily basis if you stay
in bed all day, doing nothing. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of
your daily caloric expenditure goes toward your resting metabolic
rate. It includes the functioning of vital organs in your body (such
as the heart, lungs, brain, liver, kidneys, and skin), temperature
regulation, and -- most important to our discussion -- your muscles.
Now I've heard people tell me I can't lose weight because I have
a bad metabolism. But the heavier you are, the more your heart,
lungs, liver, etc., have to work because of the additional size.
So if you are overweight, realize you have a higher metabolism than
you would have if you were lighter.
Research shows that building and maintaining muscle can speed up
metabolism. This research goes on to say that "muscle burns
ten to twelve times the calories per pound each day that fat does.
You're boosting your metabolism not just during exercise but all
If muscle burns ten to twelve times the calories per pound that
fat does, and most research shows that fat burns 2 to 3 calories
per pound per day, then muscle must burn between 20 and 36 calories
per pound per day. Tufts University states that strength training
has the potential to increase your metabolism by as much as 15 percent.
Strength training is the key to weight loss because it is the only
way to maintain and build lean muscle, which boosts your metabolism.
Muscle is natural and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and it
is the key to weight loss. In order to lose weight, you need to
create a caloric deficit, which means you have to take in fewer
calories than your body requires for metabolism and daily activity.
There are four ways to achieve a caloric deficit:
1. Eat less.
2. Increase your activity.
3. Elevate your basal metabolic rate.
4. All of the above - also known as "Cardio Alone Won't Work".
Richard A. DiCenso