Why Cardio Alone IS NOT the Answer to Weight Loss
"Lifting heavy is going to make you bulky! Weight training is dangerous and doing cardio alone is the best way to prevent injury! You just have to do cardio to lose weight!"
Have you been told any of the above statements? Has your doctor sat you down and said you need to lose weight, so the first thing you do is go jump on a treadmill? I am glad to inform you THOSE ARE ALL MYTHS.
Myth #1: Lifting heavy makes you bulky.
If lifting heavy made people bulky then everyone that goes to the gym would be body builders and steroids would barely be a thing. When you work out, you are breaking down your muscle fibers. In order to repair and build them back up, your body requires energy and time. Repairing muscles from a workout can take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours. This process must be done continually to even see the slightest visual change. Adding even just one pound of muscle mass, can be a very hard task, but it can be done over time. What this means, is that you won't swell up into the hulk over night NOR automatically gain "bulk" to your muscles.
Myth #2: Weight training is dangerous and doing cardio alone is the best way to not get injured.
Cardio is attractive to people because it is the easiest thing to do. All you have to do is throw on a pair of tennis shoes and go outside, hop on an elliptical, or go for a bike ride. Pretty much anyone has the necessary equipment for cardio.
The main problem is if you don’t strength train prior to starting a vigorous running regimen, you are putting your ankles, knees, and hips at risk of injury. This means, cardio can be just as dangerous as any other activity if gone about in the wrong way!
In fact, gaining muscular strength will not only help you increase your power and endurance, but also protect your joints, and prepare your body for long bouts of cardio. The saying "train to run, don’t run to train" is the perfect motto to live by if running is your passion!
Myth #3: You just have to do cardio to lose weight.
This couldn’t be more false!
Yes, cardio is an essential component for weight loss. It is proven to improve heart health and shows long term benefits for your overall conditioning. However, cardio won’t do it alone.
Weight training increases your muscle mass and your metabolism is driven by lean muscle. One thing people don’t realize is that when you are strength training, you burn calories well after your workout is over. Your muscles are breaking down and in order to build them back up your body needs to use energy. That energy comes from burning calories. Weight training not only increases your metabolism but also increases your bone density. This helps to prevent osteoporosis. Muscles that surround and support your spine become stronger and help relieve back pain.
Too much cardio can affect your hormones. When you do too much cardio your body produces too much cortisol which signals your brain to store fat and inhibits your body’s ability to produce sugar. If sugar isn’t processed correctly, you gain weight!
That being said, if you do enjoy cardio, moderate the volume of training you perform and supplement with interval training. This is a case where more does not always mean better.
Most importantly, though, is the fact that weight training is crucial when it comes to weight loss and your overall health. A good combination between cardio and weight training is the perfect solution to help you reach your goals.