Although you do not hear it often nowadays, strength training has a powerful edge over cardio in the fitness arena. For example, despite a mountain of evidence, the fat-burning potential of strength training is often underutilized. You could say that here lies one of the basic reasons why strength training is disregarded as a discipline reserved for ripped, male gym beasts. This could not be further from the truth, because this form of workout brings forth all-around benefits for people of all backgrounds.
Simply the best
Strength routines most often involve weightlifting, but also the use of your own body weight in exercises like squats and press-ups. Squats and leg presses, for example, give you a chance to build strong quads, while pull-ups and the barbell bench press target the upper body. Finally, many people opt for resistance training and take advantage of gym equipment (elastic gym bands, gym balls, etc.). A wide array of tools and forms might sound overwhelming at first, but the most effective programs are as simple as ABC.
Unlike cardio, strength training changes your body composition. Cardio only breaks down existing tissue and gives you that typical skinny fat look. On the other hand, when you lift weight, you start the process of building lean mass. Different muscle groups become more powerful and toned, and your bone strength is also improved. On top of all that, your confidence level is elevated and you feel a whole lot better in your own skin.
Fast tracks to success
This is not to say that cardio is not beneficial for you. In fact, it aids in weight loss efforts and body recovery, apart from helping you sleep and relax. It is unparalleled in terms of making your heart pump more blood and oxygen with each beat. Running, cycling, aerobic classes and Zumba are all good ways to reap the benefits of cardio. Notwithstanding, the point is that this type of physical activity does not pose the fastest way towards shedding some pounds.
Furthermore, people nurture false notions that physical activity is the mainspring of successful weight loss programs. Well, the truth is that the majority of calories you burn on a daily basis are the result of your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Programs such as weight training are more efficient at maintaining optimal RMR though preserving lean body mass (LBM). Also, the more muscle mass you possess, the more calories you are able to burn: one kg of muscle burns an extra 50 calories per day.
One to rule them all
On the contrary, cardio consumes more calories during training, but it fails to harness the immense power of RMR. Moreover, it is dependent on calorie-controlled diets, and does not alter the shape of your body. Consequently, strength training is simply more effective than cardio when it comes to burning fat. The latter practice is best left for recovery days, when your organism craves for energy and your muscles beg to be stretched.
Of course, it is possible to combine high intensity and metabolic conditioning. Exercises like weightlifting crush fat cells and enhance metabolic activity, while cardio improves muscle recovery and heart efficiency. The only problem is that such a program would require you to multitask and it takes much time. Hence, those who want maximum results with the least amount of work should look no further than strength training.
Fitness at its best
Many people are caught off guard in the presence of overwhelming evidence that cardio does not burn fat as quickly as strength training. Furthermore, if you take a direct approach and prioritize strength training, you are able to take your muscle power to new heights, get a sculpted body, preserve your health, and accelerate the weight loss program. So, get ready to break a sweat, build a training plan around strength workouts, and witness the fitness in no time.