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You Don’t Need to Do Hours of Cardio to Lose Weight

A lot of people are under the impression that they need to spend hours and hours exercising in order to lose weight. They think they need to take long runs, and spend countless hours each week on treadmills at the gym, sweating off the fat. Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re in for some good news.

You don’t need to spend hours doing cardio workouts to lose weight. With the right guidance, workout regimen, and eating patterns, you can lose weight without having to sacrifice hours with your fellow Seattle gym rats… and it all starts with strength training.

What’s Necessary to Lose Weight?

At the most basic level, you need to burn more calories than you consume, in order to lose weight. Let’s look at an example using some rough estimates.

The average person requires between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day. If you’re trying to lose weight, experts typically recommend targeting 1-2 lbs of fat loss per week. It’s generally estimated that 1 lb is equivalent to about 3500 calories. So, if you divide that by 7 days per week, you get 500 calories per day. That means, if you want to lose 1 lb per week, you have two options to take care of those 500 calories per day. You can reduce your diet by 500 calories, or you can burn those 500 calories via exercise.

Ideally, you want to combine both dietary restraint and physical activity, because it’s more effective than either approach alone. If you’re eating excess calories you’ll need to work out harder to burn off those calories, so you’re better off to align your diet to match your physical needs.

Cardio vs. Weight Training

According to the American Council on Exercise, a 120 lb person burns 11.4 calories per minute running. So, in order to burn 500 calories, they need to run for about 45 minutes.

That’s not too bad, but it will accumulate to a lot of time in your local fitness center. And, let’s face it… all that treadmill time can get kind of boring. So, let’s take a look at weight training.

The Benefits of Weight Training

Traditionally, most people think of running and cardio when they think about weight loss or weight management. But, weight training can actually carry more benefits for weight loss, and it can be structured in such a way as to incorporate both cardio and strength building.

Increased Muscle Equals Increased Metabolism

When you think of weight training, you probably think of bodybuilders who are trying to bulk up. And, sometimes that’s why people avoid weight training when they’re trying to lose weight. Since they want to slim down, they’re concerned that weight training will just make them look bigger. But as you gain muscle, your metabolism actually shifts, allowing you to burn more calories.

That’s because muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body. Even at rest, your muscles will burn calories. So, by increasing your strength and muscle mass, you can also increase the amount of calories you burn at rest.

The Afterburn Effect

Studies have also shown that immediately after a workout, your metabolism stays elevated for a longer period following a strength training workout compared to a cardio workout. This is often called “the afterburn effect”, because after your workout you continue to burn more calories at a higher rate. One study even suggested that resting metabolism can stay elevated for up to 38 hours following a strength training workout.

Circuit Training Can Work Cardio and Strength

You can also blur the line between cardio and strength training, so that you’re doing both at the same time. A great way to do this is to do circuit training.

Circuit training is excellent for weight loss, and it works off many of the same principles of HIIT. With a circuit there are usually multiple exercises performed back to back. One circuit might include squats, pushups, deadlifts, and rows. The exercises are performed back-to-back, at a high intensity, with minimal rest in-between each one.

With circuit training, you’ll be building both strength, and cardio at the same time. So, you’ll get the calorie burn of a cardio workout, plus the benefits of strength training already pointed out above. It’s the best of both worlds, and an excellent strategy if you’re looking to lose fat, and lean up.

More Results in Less Time

No matter what, weight loss takes time and effort. There is no magic bullet or quick fix. But there are proven strategies that work when you combine them with dedication, and that doesn’t have to mean counting hours in a crowded Seattle gym on the elliptical. With a combination of high intensity training, circuit training, and weights you can maximize your time, so your workouts are effective and fun.

Demco Fitness is a Seattle gym that offers personal training in Seattle, semi-private sessions and fitness classes. Demco is located in the heart of Belltown and features several passionate and experienced trainers to meet your demands. Call or stop in today and ask how you can try us out for free or get your first month for only $200.


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