For years we’ve been told that cardio is the best way to lose weight. The main reason explained is because it keeps us in the “fat burning zone” heart rate. The reason for this, is because exercise such as walking or jogging uses our aerobic energy system.
So how does the aerobic energy system work?
Well in short, the body needs an energy source to work aerobically. These energy sources include; glucose, oxygen and fat. So clearly on paper this is a very efficient way of losing weight………or so it seems. When it comes to the number of calories that are burned, they’re not as high as what it seems. Due to its low intensity, it doesn’t burn as many calories compared to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) within the same amount of time. To burn the same number of calories doing cardio, you may need to train for at least an hour or more. Most people do not have the luxury of time to do this.
So how can Strength Training help?
Due to the high intensity of strength training, you can burn more calories at a faster rate. It’ll engage your larger and stronger Type II muscle fibres, which require more energy to use, compared to Type I muscle fibres. In fact, it is so intense that it can even burn calories after you finish working out. This is due to Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), also known as the after burn, which can burn up to 33% more calories compared to cardio training, 80% of which coming straight from your fat storage.
What kind of Strength Training should I do?
Large compound movements that involve multiple joints and muscle groups. The more muscles being engaged, the more calories burned. It should also be completed until muscle failure, between 15-20 reps, to engage all of your muscle fibres which will result in a greater metabolic demand to burn more calories.
The easiest way to get all of this into your routine is instructing a personal trainer to design a work out plan with the best combination of HIIT and strength training for you.