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Fat Loss: Strength Training Vs Cardio

A lot of our client’s have fat loss goals.

Whilst this is often a bit taboo in the postnatal world, if we’ve put on body fat during pregnancy, as much as we try to love and accept our bodies for what they've been through, it’s natural that many women will want to lose their pregnancy weight when the time feels right for them.

If our clients are ready, we help them achieve this in a healthy, sustainable way through a combination of strength training and making healthier lifestyle choices. We’re not about snapping back and we don’t offer quick fixes, crash diets or exercise programs that run you into the ground, but we will get you the results you want and educate you on how to maintain these results for life.

So, as a new mum (or indeed anyone looking to lose weight) where is the best place to start with exercise.

I see so many people in the gym doing cardio and whilst I have nothing against cardio (I love running and cycling for fitness, endorphins and mental health benefits), IF your goal is to change your body, if you want to get stronger, build muscle or lose body fat...cardio isn’t the most effective way to do it.

Here’s why…

Whilst cardio has huge health and fitness benefits it will just burn calories for the amount of time you are training. In terms of changing your body shape, apart from an initial adjustment period when you start training, cardio won’t continue to change your body or build muscle at anywhere near the same rate as strength training.

Cardio 100% relies on you not eating back the calories you’ve just burned to lose weight.

Plus, the fitter you become, the more efficient your body gets so you actually end up burning less calories for the same activity. You’ll burn more calories running a 5km on your first day of training than you will doing the same thing six months later. For fat loss purposes, the more you do, the less efficient it becomes.

Strength training has the opposite effect.

By following a progressive training plan you are literally changing your body composition and shape, by building more muscle.

In addition, strength training increases your metabolism (the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn) so the stronger you get, the more calories you burn performing day-to-day activities. Your body will burn more calories (even in your sleep) after six months of strength training than it will on day one.

For fat loss purposes this type of training becomes more efficient the stronger you get.

Obviously strength training does not burn fat on its own, you also need a consistent calorie deficit (which requires a complementary nutrition program) BUT it’s a much more efficient way to lose body fat.

We like our clients to have the best of both worlds, so usually provide our clients with strength training and cardio plans to follow. The fitness and mental health benefits of raising your heart rate AND the body composition benefits of following a structured strength training program.

Interested in learning more? Check out our website for details of how we can help you.



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