weight and cardio exercise for fat loss

Exercise participation has many well- documented health benefits, the most important benefit is; reducing the risk of morbidity and mortality. But it also helps improve strength, energy and performance. Many studies have also highlighted the importance of exercise in the suppression of stress and depression.

Many people, however, use exercise to maximise fat loss; to achieve better physique and gain lean muscle mass. This is because exercise helps increase production of fat burning hormones irisin. Exercise also helps increase the production of testosterone; the sex hormone that enhances lean muscle and physical characteristics.

However, in order to achieve the fat-burning and lean muscle benefits of exercise; it is important to combine cardio exercise and weight training. A long-held debate about which exercise should come first; cardio vs weight training? So, i thought you might find the video clip below on the topic useful.


                             Cardio Training

Cardio is short for cardiovascular training.  Exercises like running, biking and swimming fall in this category and is used to improves person’s vo2max.  An example of cardio training is continuous and interval training.Continuous training is when exercise is performed at relatively low-to-moderate intensities without a rest interval(such as jogging on a treadmill for 15-20mins without a rest). Interval training, however, involves several intermittent low-to-high intensity aerobic exercise. A cardio-based circuit or HIIT training is an example of interval training.

Both continuous exercise and interval-based training are effective for fat burning and overall general fitness. The consensus, though, is that high energy interval training such as HIIT is more effective means of getting lean muscle.

                    Weight Training Exercise

While cardiovascular exercise clearly provides health benefits; weight training is especially effective for fat loss. One reason weight training is effective is because; it maximises the number of calories your body burns during the workout as wells as a number of calories your body burns after the workout.  In addition, manipulating certain acute training variables can have an even bigger impact on the calories burned during workouts; and the calories burned the rest of the day after the workout is over.

To maximises higher calorie loss, following weight training variables can be manipulated:

                                     Exercise Selection

 Multi-joint, free-weight exercises are found to maximise the number of calories burned when compared to machine exercises or single-joint exercise. The example of such exercises includes squat, bench press, deadlift, and bent-over row etc.  This is likely because multi-joint exercises use more muscle groups. The more muscles under the tension, the more calories you burn.

                Exercise Resistance and Rep Range

The amount of weight you lift and the number of reps you complete does have a massive impact on calorie burn. To burn more calories during the workout, higher reps do the trick. College of New Jersey researchers found that when participants used a weight that allowed them to complete 10 reps on the bench press, they burned about 10 percent more calories than when they used a weight that limited them to 5 reps.  The more reps you do, the more calories you burn.

On the flip side, using heavier weight with fewer reps during the workout burns more calories post workout.  Many studies suggest using heavier weight can double the metabolic rate when compared to using lighter weight with more repetition. So some combination of both heavy weight for low reps and light weight for high reps is the best way to take advantage of both benefits. This can be achieved by either using both low and high rep ranges in each workout or periodizing the rep ranges of the program.

                                          Volume of exercise

The total number of sets you do for each muscle group and per workout (volume) will affect the number of calories you burn in the workout. The more sets you perform, the more work you are doing, and the more calories you end up burning. So increasing total volume of workouts is not only a strategy that can help to increase muscle growth but it can also increase the number of calories burned. As a general rule, keeping workouts to a minimum of 20 sets and ideally closer to 30 or more sets per workout can lead to significantly greater fat loss than workouts that are under 20 sets.

                                   Exercise Rep Speed

Another variable to consider is the speed of the reps. Research has shown that doing reps in a fast and explosive manner can increase the number of calories you burn. Researchers from Ball State University had weight-trained males do a squat exercise using 60 percent of their one-rep max at a normal pace (2 seconds on the positive part of the rep and 2 seconds on the negative part of the rep) or a very fast pace (1 second on the positive part of the rep and 2 seconds on the negative part of the rep). They did 4 sets of 8 reps, for both workouts; during which they were hooked up to a metabolic instrument to measure the number of calories they burned. When the participants did the 4 sets of squats with fast reps, they burned over 11 percent more calories compared to when they used slower reps.