by Duke Garone, fitness expert and trainer
Cardio exercise is a key element in any weight loss program, but strength training or crossfit/bootcamp-style training (a combination of cardio and strength training), are a must for true success.
If your goal is to lose body fat, spending 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer or Stairmasterwhile helping you to increase your aerobic capacitywill only get you 1/3 of the way to weight loss. This is because when you finish your cardio session, your body returns to its original Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
In contrast, when you finish a strength training session, your RMR drops down but remains slightly elevated. This allows you to continue to burn more calories at rest between workouts, as you go about your daily activities.
I'm going to speak in very general terms here. The most important factors in understanding weight loss are, commitment, nutrition, strength training.
Your strength training must be set up to create a permanent change in your resting metabolic rate. Speaking as if your commitment and nutrition are spot on we'll focus on your program design for a sec. Let's classify a few exercise styles first.
Cardio: any training style that increases cardio respiratory function.
Strength Training: any training style that increases lean body mass
Crossfit/Bootcamp Style: any training style that is a combination of the 2 training styles above
Using the above classifications we can simply understand that if your goal is to lose body fat spending 30 mins on an elliptical trainer or stair master is only 1/3rd of the goal. In fact it's only increasing your body's ability to process oxygen. You may sweat and you may be tired, but the end result is that your only increasing your aerobic capacity.
Executing your strength training program properly you may sweat and you may be tired but you will be increasing your lean body mass. In short your body recognizes the need to build muscle and adapts accordingly.
Here's the difference, when you finish your cardio session your body returns to it's original Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR.
When you finish your strength training session your RMR drops down but it stops a little higher than it's normal state.In order to lose weight, you must create a caloric deficit to lose body fat. Cardio certainly helps by allowing you to burn calories at a faster rate than normal, but by adding strength or bootcamp-style training to your regimen, you will increase the burn beyond your workout, for better results.