By PPT Trainer, Jason Holman
What exactly is the role of cardio and resistance training for fat loss? Is one more important than the other, and should they still be part of your fat loss program?
With so much conflicting information available about the “best and only” way to effectively lose fat, it can often leave you feeling confused and questioning the truth of what you’ve just read. We at Performance Personal Training often get asked these exact questions.
“What’s the best and fastest way for me to lose fat?”
“Should I be focusing on steady state cardio?”
“How often should I be doing intervals?”
“What about resistance training?”
Hopefully this blog goes a long way in answering these questions, and sorting out fact from fiction.
So what is required to burn fat? The answer to this seemingly mysterious question is far simpler than you may have thought. The best way to lose fat is to utilise a combination of both cardio and resistance training. The reasoning behind this is that one training mode alone can’t do everything that the body requires to lose fat. Cardio and resistance training both play an important part in fat loss, but let’s talk cardio first.
Cardio training, both steady state and interval training, have a profound effect on how the body uses fat for fuel. Without diving too much into the science of it all, cardio training significantly increases both your body’s ability to firstly break down your excess body fat, and secondly to push it into your muscles to be burnt for energy.
Some examples of what we’re talking about for steady state cardio are:
- bike riding
- Eliptical machines
More importantly, this steady state activity needs to be for a long time, not 15 minutes or so, we are talking working long and hard.
Recent studies have proved the importance of interval training for fat loss. But make no mistake, interval training when done correctly takes a serious amount of effort. For the many out there who use Heart Rate Monitors or fit bits, the interval intensity needs to push your heart rate to 85-90% of max….. EVERY INTERVAL of the session. Not for the feint hearted if done correctly.
Pretty clear then for the best results and adaption from interval training you need to really be pushing outside of your comfort zone. While our clients may hate us for it (all be it temporarily) we at PPT know exactly the intensity they need to reach to get the max results from their training.
So with all the clear benefits of cardio training it definitely is critical for fat loss and should be part of your program.
So where does that leave resistance training. We threw it into the mix from the outset and those who know anything about PPT know we like our strength training.
More often than not we at PPT are met with looks of disbelief when telling clients that resistance training is equally important to their fat loss journey as cardio is. Resistance training plays an important role in preserving, and potentially increasing, your lean muscle mass. If a client were to lose 5kg of body weight but half of that came from muscle mass, that in our eyes that’s not a good result. Resistance training is a potent protector of muscle and for this reason should be included in your fat loss program. We go a long way to provide our clients with what we feel is the latest and best information to help them reach their health and fitness goals. While we push our clients hard in their resistance training we know that they need that little extra push and work outside of the gym to achieve some truly amazing results.
Don’t forget this is one side to fat loss. Nutrition being the other side and if you get both right, then your results will hit their full potential. That’s a blog for another day, stay posted its on its way.