Very often we find people going to gym only for Cardio exercises like Treadmill, Elliptical, bike etc and do not do any weight training at all. Do they lose weight? Yes, but only initially and then nothing happens!
Our body is an amazing machine. It’s designed for efficiency, meaning if you do the same thing over and over again, the process becomes easy and boring for your body. Not only the process becomes easy for the body but the metabolism, learns and reacts so that only fewer calories are burned with the same exercise being done.
Research conducted at the University of Tampa, found that doing cardio i.e. is running on the treadmill for 45 minutes at a consistent pace with not maximal effort helps out with weight loss but only initially. Subjects lost a few pounds during the first week and then nothing more. The reason being? Within one week, their metabolism had adjusted and now didn’t need to work as hard to burn off the fat.
One of the biggest problems with running at a steady, moderate-intensity pace, is that the calories you burn are limited to the time you spend sweating. So once your body adapts, the benefit is limited. That’s why weight training is often viewed as better than just “running” for fat loss. Lifting weights impacts your metabolism by causing mini-micro tears that need to be repaired. That healing process requires energy, which means you are burning more calories – a process that can sometimes last for nearly two days after your training session.
To put it in simple words with cardio, you can sweat away for 30 minutes at a lower intensity and burn 200 calories or you just eat 200 fewer calories per day. Either of them are the same thing to do. But with weight training, that’s not the case. The calories you burn are not limited to what you do in the gym. So while a little variety might not seem like a big change to your routine, it will have a dramatic impact on transforming your body.
One of the most important variables with any type of exercise let it be cardio or any other – is the ‘intensity’. If you look at an average person who runs, they pick a pace that they can maintain for a long duration. When you jump on a treadmill, elliptical, or bike, you start with an intention to be on it for a while. Whether its 30 minutes or an hour, your goal is to push at a pace you can sustain, work hard, feel tired, sweat and then go home. While this is great for endurance, but not so great for fat loss!
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed the exercise habits of more than 34,000 women and concluded that it took about an hour a day of moderate exercise (walking at 3mph) to maintain weight. Notice, that’s not weight loss. So if you are going to the gym and doing the same routine everyday you are just maintaining your weight but not losing weight.
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario compared short but intense exercise Vs long, less intense cardio. One group performed four to six 30-second ‘sprints’ while the other group did cardio for 30 to 60 minutes. The results were nothing short of amazing. Despite exercising for a fraction of the time, those in the sprint category burned more than twice as much body fat. That’s because the process of sprinting causes similar internal changes to your body as those that occur during weight training. Your body needs to replenish its ATP (energy), convert lactic acid that’s produced during exercise into glucose, and restore your blood hormone levels after an intense workout. All of those processes mean your body works harder and burns more fat – both of which don’t happen during steady-state cardio workout.
So if you heading to the gym make sure you do 20 mins a various cardio and then shift to weight training to lose weight.