Cardio or Weight Lifting for Fat Loss?

Which one is better for Fat Loss: Cardio or Weight Lifting? 
This question has been a hotly debated topic for a long time, and I’ll bet you yourself may have asked this once or twice throughout your fitness journey. 

There’s no better way to answer this question than to look at how your body responds when you do a Cardio workout vs. a Weight Lifting/Strength Training workout.

First, Cardio Exercises like running, cycling, walking, rowing, swimming, etc. 

• More Energy and more Energised Muscles – this happens at the cellular level. After a long, strenuous bout of cardio, your body copes by producing more mitochondria in the skeletal muscle cells. The mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of the cell, and more of them simply means more energy produced by the muscle. Your muscles would be able to work for longer periods of time (muscular endurance).

Increased Heart and Lung efficiency and endurance – your body also adapts by producing more capillaries or blood vessels. Your heart and lungs also improve their capacity. All of this allows faster delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. 

More Fat burn – our body’s main energy source is glycogen in the muscles and not fat. This is simply because they are readily available and easier to process than the more chemically complex fat. But with more mitochondria, your muscle cells will be more efficient in using fat stores as energy source. 

Now let’s look at Strength Training or Weight Lifting.

Larger Individual Muscle fibers – hold your horses for a second​. This does not necessarily mean bigger, bulkier muscles right after you lift weights. Your muscles actually break down after you lift weights, and your body recovers by a process called protein synthesis. This allows the individual muscle fibers to heal and ‘grow.’ Muscles are more metabolically active than fats, so they use up energy even at rest.

Better Bones and Disease prevention – if cardio is great for the heart and lungs, weight training is excellent for muscles and bones. Strength training improves bone density and may help prevent type II Diabetes.

Boosted Metabolism – Strength Training also increases mitochondria capacity in your cells to some extent. And because you’ll have more metabolically active muscles and more energy, this will result to greater fat burn when you workout and even at rest.

So which one is better for fat loss?

You may find the answer a bubble-burster if you are a pure-cardio or pure-weight lifting fan, but they are both great for fat loss. If you don’t care about strength or tone, then just go for just pure cardio workouts. But if your goal is to get fit and strong while looking lean, then do both. You might increase your “weight” at first, especially when you start lifting weights and gain some muscle, but you’ll notice you’ll be burning fat more efficiently as your body improves from both cardio and strength training.

Improve the sequence of your exercises to maximise your workout

Did you know that the sequence of your exercises also contribute to results?canstock19417911
You’ll see some dudes in the gym head straight to the preacher curl rack and smash bicep curls as soon as they enter. They’ll get their pipes pumped but that’s it. Or some people might just go for random machines depending on what they are familiar with, or which ones are available.

If you want to see maximum gains in your workouts, planning your routine effectively will ensure that you target the right adaptations your body needs to reach your goal. Whatever your goal may be, putting your exercises in the right order will make your workouts more efficient and effective! It’s a matter of energy management and physiological efficiency.

Here’s a basic sequence that you can adapt and apply to your own routines:

1.) Warm-up/Mobility Drills – the goal of the warm-up is to raise your heart rate up and get your body ready for repetitive movement. Now it’s common practice to just step on a cardio machine for 5 to 10 minutes to warm-up but that may not be enough. Do simple dynamic stretches such as arm rotations, leg swings, hip rotations, etc. You can also use a foam roller to improve your mobility and range of motion before you start your training.

2.) Technical Lifts – for advanced lifters, always start with highly technical lifts such as the snatch, clean and press, overhead squats, plyometrics, etc. This will help you focus on your form and reduce chances of injury. These high impact lifts are great to get your heart rate and metabolism up fast, and burn more calories in a short amount of time. They are also great for building muscle mass and bulk.

3.) Compound Free Weight Exercises – these are exercises that move on 2 or more joints such as the Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Barbell Rows, etc. They are ‘big lifts’ but are less intense. The heavier you lift on these compound free weight exercises, the faster it raises your metabolism. You use up more muscle groups on these exercises and use more calories so you want to make sure your body has fresh energy to do them.

4.) Compound Machine Exercises – now that you’re done with the main course, you want to keep on working major muscle groups but with less impact on your body (neurological system, joints, etc.). Machine exercises work by focusing on the same muscle groups but adds support to your technique and form.

5.) Isolated exercises (free weight or machine) – these would be the ‘easy’ part of your workout where you do exercise specific to a muscle or muscle group such as pectoral fly, bicep curl, side raises, etc. These exercises are meant to ‘isolate’ or focus on a specific muscle. People who want to build bulk and muscle mass need these types of exercises in their training program.

141_16.) Cool down and stretch – after doing an intense exercise session, you have to cool down to normalise your heart rate. Cool down may also help reduce soreness after your workout. Focus on holding static stretches and improving your flexibility. Stretching properly after an intense workout session helps reduce soreness and muscle tightness, and may aid in recovery.

 

 

It may seem much but when you follow a good Training Program tailored to your goals and needs, your workout will be smooth and efficient. Train smart and you’ll get the results you want sooner!!

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Fitness Coaching for Me’s Guide to Gym Etiquette

newbie-759x500The Gym is a place that encourages each individual to be at their element: to work hard, push more, and strive for perfection. But everyone should remember that the Gym is a shared space where everyone has the same privileges and accountability as anyone else.

 

Sometimes, people go beast mode on their workout, and remain like beasts after they train, leaving a trail of their remains behind – used dumbbells on the floor, scattered plates, and the dreaded butt-sweat stamp. I am sure that whatever gym you go to, there will always be at least one beast like this! It is annoying, and plain wrong to be such.  To minimize the spread of these creatures, Fitness Coaching for Me has come up with 5 Simple Ways to Practice Gym Etiquette. There are no rule books on how to behave yourself in a gym while also doing your best. We don’t need one. Politeness and acceptable behavior should be practiced even when you’re going all out on your reps. There are other ways to practice gym etiquette, but we think these 5 should be basic:

  1. Respect the no-lift zone

Don’t EVER lift a weight within 5 feet of the dumbbell rack. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing Side Raises, Bicep Curls, or Goblet Squats — Pick up your weights and take 5 giant steps back. Allow other people to walk in front of you and pick up the weight they need. Now you might say, “I need to check my form in the mirror!Well, you don’t need a close-up look on how your veins pop each rep, right? Take those 5 steps away from the rack and from the mirror, and you’ll still see your form well. You’re just doing one set of 8 reps? It doesn’t matter. Don’t be rude. Step back and finish your quick set so that other people have access to the dumbbells.

Special note: Never do a Dumbbell Bent-Over Row on the dumbbell rack. If you do this, you’re taking the “bell” out of the dumbbell to describe yourself. Find a bench and do your rows! If you say the weight is too heavy to move somewhere else, then heavy lifting is not for you.

 Compare the two photos below. Get the point?

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  1. Avoid the “Ab zone”

Most gyms have a designated area for mats, balls, stability balls, medicine balls, etc. These specialty equipment have their special place because it can pose risks when used together with solid, metal objects. Don’t bring heavy weights into that area. It’s designated for stretching and ab work. By taking up the designated space you force other people to take up your space (see point #3).

 

  1. Keep your mats out of the way.

Don’t set up a mat in between two benches in the free weight zone and do crunches unless you want a weight dropped on your head! It’s inconsiderate, and just plain dangerous not just for you but for other people as well. If you’re doing a circuit or something, find another area that has less traffic. The size of the Gym doesn’t matter – there will be one.

Even if the gym is empty, set up your mat out of the way. Either stick to the “ab zone” or place your mat in a corner out of the way. Think pro-actively. Where might somebody want to work out over the course of your set? Don’t set up there.

 And no, you don’t have to do this:

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Or this:

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  1. Avoid walking in front of somebody else in the middle of a set.

If somebody is in the middle of their set NEVER cross their field of vision when they are in front of the mirror. It doesn’t matter if they look like they’re just adoring their biceps. Be nice and take the long way around if you have to. Respect other people, and you’ll get respected too when it’s your turn to lift. If you can’t take the long way around, wait for them to finish their set before walking in front.

 

  1. Put your weights away properly.

I know you might think this should be number one because it is the most common, but these 5 are not in sequence of importance. It is frustrating how other people don’t put their weights back after they finish using them. It is also frustrating how they might put the dumbbells back on the rack, but not in their proper place! Don’t assume that someone will ‘clean-up’ after the weights you leave on the floor.  Most importantly, don’t expect other gym members to just pick up the weight their need from your area. The gym is maintained for everyone’s satisfaction and so that you will have an efficient workout. Imagine if you can’t find the weights you need! Each equipment whether it’s a barbell, dumbbell, weight plate, medicine ball, or mat, have their own designated place so that they could be easily accessed when you need them. Be mindful of how the gym is arranged and maintained, and do your best to keep it.

 

If you have been going to the gym for a while now, I’m sure there’s at least one occasion where you have seen one of these 5 have been broken – or worse, maybe all of them at once! Or you may be one of those people who tend to be too focused on their workout that they forget to share the space and resources of the gym. Don’t be offended. Be better than before, and simply follow this guide on your following workouts.

Remember that you are training to be fit for life! Be courteous to others and put your weights back to their rightful place.

Train Hard, but most importantly, Train Smart.
* Do you have other ‘rules’ that you think should be added in the list? Let us know in the comments!

Your Weight Doesn’t (Always) Matter.

weight-scale-funny-picturesAs a trainer in a gym, I always see people checking their weight every time they come in – before, during, and after their workouts. There’s nothing wrong with keeping track of your weight and trying to lose some, but there are a few who get obsessed and frustrated when the numbers don’t move!

Maybe you yourself have been in one of those situations where you thought you always crush your strength training, do an hour or more cardio, kill your HIIT, be consistent in your workouts, yet all your efforts doesn’t seem to affect your weight. This might make you feel unrewarded in the short term, and sometimes lose motivation.

Remember this:

“Your Weight is not a direct result of your Workouts.”

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Instead of sulking in a corner and feeling disappointed, always keep in mind that there are other accurate factors to measure your progress. It’s not all about your weight! Here are some reasons why:

1) Your Weight Fluctuate EVERY DAY.
It doesn’t matter how long you stay on the Treadmill, or how much squats you did – your weight will vary, and will keep varying everyday. Simple things that happen every day like eating, drinking, sweating, etc. causes your body to gain or lose some. For women, you will see fluctuations of a few pounds throughout a month. If you still want to measure your Weight, write each measurement with the date on a journal and compare it on a monthly basis.

2) Your Weight Means TOTAL Body Weight.
Remember this when you step on the scale: You are not composed of just muscle, bones, and fat.
What the weighing scale shows is a combination of these three, plus every single cell of your body. It includes your internal organs, skin, hair, etc., and even the food you just ate. Think of this: the weighing scale shows how much weight you gained after eating (or drinking), but it does not mean they’re all get stuck in your body and become fat. Most of the food digested will be converted to energy, some to maintain and rebuild tissues such as muscles, and some will be excreted (or go down the ‘can’).

3) Muscle Weighs More than Fat.
You probably heard this before. But I’ll tell you that this is a common misconception! I just wrote it because it’s what some Personal Trainers (unfortunately) always say to potential clients to somehow make them feel good about their weight: ‘Muscle weighs more than Fat.’

It is wrong in the sense that one pound of muscle is the same as one pound of fat. The difference is, fat is composed of bigger, ‘fluffier‘ cells, and one pound of Fat takes more space. Also the kind of fat that you want to get rid of is the ‘subcutaneous fat’ – the Fat that is just hanging onto your skin. Take a look at the picture below:

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See what I mean? The same amount of fat in terms of weight takes up more space than Muscle. Of course, those 5 lbs. of fat is distributed all throughout the body, but it’s still taking up space and adding jiggles. Muscle is more dense and they actually give the contours of your body. If you want to look slimmer, jacked, and toned you got to go for muscles!

Tweet: If you want to look slimmer, jacked, and toned you got to go for muscles!

4) Food is Fuel.
Your body is more awesome and complex than any machine ever invented. It always goes for ‘homeostasis‘ or balance in its system for it to function properly. And like any machine, it needs fuel. Whatever food you give to your body, whether good or bad, it uses for fuel.
If you have a nice sports car in your garage, you don’t just feed it crappy, low quality fuel. You want the best hi-tech, hi-grade fuel that you can find. Same applies to your body. If you feed it crappy food, it will take longer for your body to use it and it sits in your body for a while, affecting your weight! If you treat your body and give it the right food, your body will be more efficient in digesting them and give you the energy you need for your workouts!

5) Weight is Not a Reflection of Health.
You read it right. Your body weight doesn’t say if you’re healthy or not. You are probably thinking right now ‘What about the BMI?’ or the Body Mass Index. The problem with the BMI is that it was designed to assess the health of a large population, and should not be used in a per-person basis. Even the guy who invented it in the 19th century, the Belgian statistician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, said it shouldn’t be used to determine an individual’s overall health (yes, he was a mathematician, not a doctor). So you can stop aiming for an ideal weight for your height. It just doesn’t work that way.

Look at the guy below. He probably weighs a good 300 lbs.
I bet you won’t dare tell him he’s ‘Obese’ according to his BMI.

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Get the point? Now, some of you may think ‘I don’t want to look like that!’ — remember, he’s about 300 lbs of muscle. An average person would weigh around 120 to 180 lbs. Maintain that weight and go for muscle, and you’ll simply look toned and jacked.

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You can keep track of your weight but don’t obsess about it. The weighing scale doesn’t tell who you are and what you’re about! Don’t let numbers affect you!

Tweet: The weighing scale doesn’t tell who you are and what you’re about! Don’t let numbers affect you!

Use the numbers you see from the weighing scale to track your long-term progress. Remember that there are other things that give you a more accurate measurement of your gains like your strength, stamina, body circumference measurements, how your clothes fit, and even how you feel. Keep working hard. Make every workout count. Be consistent in your diet. Eventually you’ll get rewarded and get the nice toned, jacked look that you’ve worked hard for.

Fitness Coaching for Me can help you reach your goals. We’re here to provide you not just cookie-cutter programs, but custom made training plans that fit your needs and goals. We can help you figure out how to work on your nutrition so that you can reach your goals faster. It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply look good — we have the right tools for you!

Contact us here and we’ll be happy to help!

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