“Cardio is key. Cardio makes me sweaty. I lose weight doing cardio,” says ever delusional, complacent gym-goer who beelines straight to the treadmill when he or she gets to the gym.
But the fact is, you aren’t losing weight because you aren’t gaining muscle; instead, all you are doing is plateauing your heart rate for an extended period of time, creating a temporary calorie burn, a good sweat and… that’s about it.
I actually used to be this person, which is why I can be kind of an as* about it.
Sure, you feel accomplished after you run. You love the endorphin high that compliments a great cardio session. You enjoy the euphoria surrounding the accomplishment of a marathon, of a 5k race. So congratulations, you have successfully spent 45 minutes breaking down your muscle tissue, allowing your body to become skinny-fat and soft.
Here is what runners need to understand. We all have that “push to the limit mentality” so why not change your mentality from minimizing fat, to gaining lean muscle while still being able to maintain that addictive, intensity aspect? In the long run (no pun intended), it will be easier on your body and you will get stronger. Besides, what favors is running doing for your butt?
It’s the intensity of the workout that yields the calorie burn, not the duration. Not to mention, the calorie burn for cardio ends the second you step off the treadmill. For every pound of muscle you gain in weight-lifting, you burn 50 extra calories at rest. The weight-lifting workouts, compounded with the after-burn effect from them, create spikes in your metabolism, inevitably aiding in weight-loss.
This is why HIIT training and Crossfit works.
According to Women’s Health, “When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.
Other research on dieters who don’t lift shows that, on average, 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat, while 25 percent is from muscle. Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn’t improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost. However, if you weight train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.”
The best types of weight training for runners:
MetCon is shorthand for Metabolic Conditioning. Think training modalities of the aggressive, sweaty, heart-pounding persuasion. Traditionally we think of MetConcircuits – 2 to 3 (to 2 million) resistance exercises done in sequence with little (read: no) break in between.
Tabata training is one of the most popular forms of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It consists of eight rounds of ultra-high-intensity exercises in a specific 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval.