There isn’t one way, which is better than the next, to lose fat. This is when it comes to exercise. Generally speaking, to decrease body fat, most experts recommend a balance of cardio and strength training along with proper nutrition.
If you are of the opinion that you’re going to lose weight only through cardio, experts warn you to think again. Here’s why.
Cardio on its own is not adequate for burning fat
One of the biggest fallacies is that long-duration cardio – such as running on a treadmill or cycling for hours on end – by itself is going to help you lose body fat. It can for some people (remember that some weight-loss programmes will work for some but not for others) but not the majority.
Excessive amounts of cardiovascular exercise can actually make you gain weight. In some cases, this can amount to as much as 20 to 30 pounds. One reason for this is that cardio makes you lose lean muscle mass. Every pound of lean muscle mass you have burns about 13 calories per day. And lean muscle mass is one of the most important factors when it comes to burning fat.
Why is this?
Lean Body Mass (LBM) has health benefits for your body. This is far beyond aesthetics and athletic performance. Sufficient amounts of LBM are actually crucial for building a healthy life over the long-term.
Lean Body Mass is related with your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your ‘BMR’ refers to the number of calories you burn at rest. The greater the amount of LBM you have, the higher your BMR will be. This means that people with higher amounts of Lean Body Mass will have more significant energy expenditure while doing nothing, helping to avoid calorie imbalances, and ultimately, obesity.
How to develop lean muscle mass
The more muscle you have, the higher the number calories you burn at rest. Weight-training also helps your body utilise more calories in the post-workout period. This is even a couple of days after the workout during the recovery and lean muscle growth period.
By working every second day, you stay in the anabolic, post-workout state. This can assist you to stay lean and muscular all year round.
Easy Exercises That Will Build Lean Muscle
Alternating chest punches
All you need is a theraband to complete this workout.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. One foot must be facing forward and the other one must be slightly further back. Then, with your resistance band looped around a bar or doorknob behind you, punch right and left. Do this 100 times on each side.
Static kettlebell lunge
Begin by holding a kettlebell on either side of your body. Make sure that your palms are facing inward. Keep your left foot forward and your right foot about 30 inches behind you. Put your weight on the ball of your foot. Keep your knees slightly bent with your head facing forward. Keep your spine straight. Lower your right knee. Do this until it’s one inch off the ground. Raise up. Push off your front leg and don’t lock your knees. Keep your feet in place and do two sets of 20 reps on each leg.
Begin in a modified plank. Ensure your elbows are bent and are held tight at your sides. Shift your weight forward. Keep your abs engaged. Walk your right hand forward by three inches and drag your feet with you. Repeat on the left side. Continue this for 30 seconds.
We’re not saying that you need to totally disregard cardio. In fact, a healthy dose of cardiovascular exercise, regularly, is essential for maintaining heart and lung health. But if your goal is to develop lean muscle mass, make sure that you have a good strength training routine in place as well.
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.