There are three things I want you to take away from this article…
1. “Cardio” is good for your heart; not-so-good for permanent weight loss.
2. Muscles burn calories. Fat stores calories.
3. Muscles weigh more than fat – so you should stop being so concerned about the
numbers on the scale.
You can stop reading there – or you can hang out for a bit and learn the RIGHT way to “get in shape” and lose inches (not weight).
Let’s address my first point. If cardio doesn’t contribute to permanent weight loss, you may ask, “why are runners so skinny?” Answer: Because they run constantly! Any serious runner is probably putting in over 20 miles per week which means that they are burning some serious calories. Maintaining a lean body has a lot to do with energy balance. My body burns about 300 calories during a 5k run. So if I want to stay lean, I adjust my calories so that I have an energy deficit which is just a fancy way of saying I used more calories than I ate. (Watch for a future discussion about this and why low-calorie diets are dangerous.)
Let’s talk now about muscles – every man wants bigger muscles and every woman is afraid to lift so she doesn’t end up looking like a man – am I right? Here’s the truth though – BIG, STRONG MUSCLES BURN CALORIES ALL DAY LONG…EVEN WHILE YOU SLEEP.
A Special Note to Women: Significant muscle growth is aided by testosterone. We don’t have as much testosterone as men. So unless your goal is to build big, “The Rock”-sized guns…you won’t. Besides that, lifting weights builds bone density, an issue that every woman should be proactive about.
Back to my point – you need BIG, strong muscles to burn calories so you can maintain a
healthy body composition (notice I didn’t say weight…)
Lastly – get over the scale. What I mean by that is STOP FOCUSING ON YOUR WEIGHT! As a matter of fact, bring your scale to my place and we’ll take a sledge hammer to it!
Lean, healthy bodies weigh more than fatty, unhealthy bodies. That’s because muscle is much more dense than fat. So here’s the good news (especially if you’re not a fan of “cardio”) – lifting weights and building strong, lean muscles is the surest way to help you maintain a healthy body composition. Muscles burn fat even while you’re at your desk, watching television, or playing Angry Birds. Cardio exercise only burns calories while you’re engaged in the activity. So would you rather – run every day for the rest of your life or commit to lifting weights three days a week?
The side benefit of lifting weights is that you get LOTS of opportunities to pose for selfies – can’t do that while you’re running, the pics always end up blurry!