Training for effective fat loss can be a complicated topic. There are so many opinions on the matter, and separating the useful and useless information can be a considerable challenge.
On the one hand, you’ve got the camp of people who swear by cardio as the primary way to burn fat. On the other hand, many people suggest the opposite - Cardio is counterproductive if you want to get lean.
So, who is right, and who is wrong? More importantly, how can we train for effective fat loss?
Let’s find out.
The Cardio Myth
These days, if you ask ten people how you should go about exercise for fat loss, most of them would say something like:
“Start doing cardio several times per week.”
Sure, cardio is beneficial. It delivers numerous health benefits, it boosts our mood, and it helps us burn some extra calories. This can help us more easily put ourselves in an energy deficit for fat loss. But here’s the problem with it - Cardio doesn’t stimulate our muscles well enough.
As we diet to lose fat, we also increase the risk of losing muscle. By focusing on cardio alone, we lose a lot more muscle during the process and end up skinny-fat.
What’s more, cardio can be counterproductive for some people as it can increase their appetite and cause them to eat back the calories they’ve burned during the workout.
So, What Can We Do?
Cardio is by no means bad, and if you enjoy doing it, you shouldn’t stop. It’s a fantastic way to increase your work capacity, and it can serve as a great start of each day.
But, a more productive thing you can do is resistance train. You see, when you restrict your calories, your body starts breaking down lean (mostly muscle) and fat tissue to get the remaining calories it needs to keep functioning.
By training your muscles regularly, you signal your body that muscle is valuable and has a role to play. That way, you get to retain more of it as you lose weight. This itself allows you to lose more fat in the process and achieve your goals quicker and without having to lose unnecessary amounts of weight.
And the best part is, you can achieve this effect with as little as three weekly workouts of 30-60 minutes each. Make sure to train the different muscles with adequate intensity and volume, and you will achieve great success.
On top of that, you should also employ other strategies to optimize fat loss:
- Maintain a small to moderate calorie deficit
- Consume enough protein – supplements can be helpful here
- Get enough sleep – at least seven hours per night
- Supplement with fat burners to gain an extra edge