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As a body transformation specialist, I spend a LOT of time in the gym and as such see a large cross section of gym-goers. People clearly care enough to invest their precious time into fitness, either as an enjoyable activity or with a set goal. It is therefore advantageous to be aware of the most effective, time-efficient way of improving.
The group that could potentially benefit the most from some advice is the cardio-only brigade. These people can be seen pounding the treadmill, bikes or cross-trainer for sometimes hours on end, often looking exhausted, or at the other extreme reading a book or magazine whilst barely moving. What is consistent, however, is that this is all their workout comprises and they look identical month after month.
To make real improvements to your fitness I would always recommend performing an element of resistance training. Read on for why:
1. For lasting changes to your health and fitness you need to adjust your body composition. This is done best by resistance training. The more muscle you hold, the more metabolically active you are, i.e. you use more calories per day just to ‘survive’. This increased calorific demand makes your body better at burning what has been eaten and, over time, your body fat will start to reduce (at the same calorific intake).
2. Weight training is a progressive form of training. As such, you are always looking to better yourself, be it by increasing weight, repetitions or by reducing rest. However you choose to progress, you will be improving various components of fitness. With cardio, however, far too many just work to a set calorie figure. You shouldn’t worry about the calories you burn in the gym (I guarantee that if you are competing against what you eat, you will lose). More important is the ability to stimulate your body to burn more energy for the rest of the day. This is how you get lasting change.
3. Your physique will look better from weight training than from cardio alone. If done correctly, resistance training will improve your posture, make you look taller and thinner and generally a lot healthier. In contrast, endless endurance cardio done badly can cause muscle loss, joint damage and exacerbate ‘hunching’ – all giving the impression of ageing.
4. Resistance training can provide almost limitless options and variations. If you struggle to motivate yourself to train, or you find exercise boring, mixing it up and adding in circuits or standard weight training may reignite your interest and spur on some new results.
5. Resistance training will stimulate and increase natural testosterone and growth hormone. These hormones contribute to an effective metabolism, younger-looking skin, increased bone density and all things generally related to anti-ageing. People who resistance train often look younger and fitter than their peers who solely focus on cardio/endurance. Note, this is important even for women. Modern scientific research is providing more and more data supporting the role that testosterone plays in maintaining a sense of wellbeing and sex drive in females.
6. Resistance training can provide whatever stimulus you require. Generally speaking, lower reps with longer rest-periods assists strength. Higher reps and medium rest help to add muscle whilst a circuit-style session with multiple stations, lighter weights and minimal rest, help to improve the cardio component. This can be changed around regularly to keep it interesting. This should improve your athletic ability and generally make you fitter for ‘life’, be it playing sport or playing with your children.
I hope you found this article useful. If so, please feel free to share on your social media. If you are ready for some life changing results under one of London’s top coaches then don’t delay and fill out the contact form.
Speak soon, Sam