You have a goal: you want to lose a few pounds, or maybe even a little more, and you know that your diet needs some planning and consideration, but have you thought about your exercise regime and how that should be balanced too?
Many people falsely believe that weight loss most effectively occurs, and can only be maintained through endurance based exercises alone, however I am here to suggest that before you blindly follow the masses, you firstly need to ensure you have all the relevant information.
The Hard Facts
It may be frustrating to hear, but the simple fact is that some people lose weight easier than others. It comes down to the three main body types and where yours fits in.
- Ectomorph are characterised by having a lean body with little fat or muscle tone
- Mesomorph are characterised by having a well-developed muscular body
- Endomorph are characterised by having an excess of body fat
Yes it’s true if you have an endomorph body type you are going to have to work harder than others to lose extra weight, just like ectomorphs will struggle bulking on muscle. But even if you are blessed with the mesomorph body type you still need to find the right balance in your workout regime to achieve the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
Even though endurance training is the best way to burn calories whilst you are actually training, building lean muscle mass will continue to burn calories even after you have finished your workout.
When we say endurance training, we are generally referring to aerobic or cardio exercises such as running, swimming, bike riding or any series of exercises that get your heart and lungs pumping hard and keep you at this level. There is a reason why people rave about the importance of endurance training to lose weight. It works. You will burn more calories running 5 kilometers in half an hour than you will pumping iron for half an hour.
Resistance training refers to muscle and strength building exercises such as lifting weights, push-ups, pull-ups and all the other exercises that have you focusing on strengthening specific muscle groups. Resistance training exercises fall into three main groups:
- Isotonic – The weight of the resistance remains constant through the movement (eg: dumbbells)
- Isometric – There is no movement in the length of muscle as it pushes against an immovable force (eg: plank)
- Isokinetic – There is a constant speed against the resistance being applied, so the resistance adjusts to ensure the speed remains constant. (eg: specific machines such as lat pull-downs)
The reason resistance training will help you achieve your weight loss goals, is that even though endurance training will undoubtedly have you burning off more calories whilst you are working out, resistance training works on building upon your lean muscle mass. This means that it will work your metabolism around the clock. Each time you contract your muscles, whether it be to lift something heavy, climb some stairs or even just sit yourself up, you are burning calories. The more muscle fibers you have working to do those things, in your core and limbs, the more calories you are burning. Simple.
Lets not forget the other important role endurance training plays in our health and wellbeing. The stronger we are (this doesn’t mean you have to be bulky!), the more capable we are of moving about and remaining independant into our golden years.
Finding A Balance
So both resistance and endurance training are an important consideration when you are working towards weight-loss. The more you move the more you will burn, but the stronger you are the more you will keep burning all day long.