Cardio and aerobic exercise aren’t the only ways to burn fat and increase lean muscle mass. Aerobic exercise actually contributes to both the loss of fat AND lean muscle mass, whereas strength and resistance training stimulate the growth of lean muscle mass. This ultimately contributes to increasing fat loss overall. Losing muscle mass, on the other hand, can reduce calories burned at rest, making someone more likely to retain and gain fat.
Adding strength training in addition to your cardio workouts is like creating a two-pronged attack against fat. You’re burning it through aerobic exercise and increasing muscle mass in order to keep your metabolism burning at a higher rate. Sure, cardio exercise will create or “seemingly” create an instant drop in your weight on the scale, but for the most part that’s sweat and water weight as opposed to strict fat loss.
Strength Training Builds Lean Muscle
Strength and resistance training tax your muscles and stimulate them to grow in order to rise to the imposed demands of lifting weight. This allows your muscles to grow and adapt to lift even more weight over time. Lean muscle also takes up less space than fat does and is more efficient at burning calories.
Increasing Lean Muscle Mass can Increase your Resting Metabolic Rate
Your resting metabolic rate is the rate in which your body burns calories over time if you had stayed in bed all day. That means less work done and more calories burned if you increase your lean muscle mass over time. Since stimulated muscles are being broken down and rebuilt constantly to be even stronger that creates a higher metabolic demand and increases the number of fat calories burned while at rest.
This might increase the number you see on the scale, but a better method of measuring fat loss is actually to check the mirror (not obsessively, of course), how you feel in terms of strength gains, and how your clothing fits.
So, how often should you train to see results?
Well, it is recommended to do strength or resistance training 2-3x per week in order to optimize fat loss results. It is a good plan to supplement cardiovascular and aerobic workouts with strength and resistance training to see the best results, though. The added muscle from strength training gains will help with fat loss overall and reduce the need to do extremely intense or long and arduous cardio and aerobic workouts.
This blog is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.