Cardio is the first thing that comes to mind after the diet, of course, where the fat burning is concerned. People think it burns tons of calories and makes you slim down at the sight. On the other hand, weights are perceived as a way to become bulky, heavy with muscles, and manly (which isn’t what women are looking for in their own bodies).
And to some extent these stereotypes are true but it’s not as significant as one would think. So when starting their transformation many people assume that to lose weight they need cardio and to build muscle they need weights. Well, it’s just a little bit more complicated than this black and white thinking.
How To Start Your Transformation
If you’re thinking you should probably start running to lose weight, you’re thinking in short-term solutions. Yes, if your diet will allow it, you will lose weight running a few miles every other day but unless you’re a professional runner who is looking to build massive amount of endurance in your entire body you will essentially get the skinny fat look as your muscles won’t have the fuel to grow and the remaining fat will still be sitting there in the problem areas.
Cardio just isn’t as effective when it comes to body composition and since practically no one is born with an absolutely perfect figure there are things you will want to change.
That’s where the weights come into play. But to build muscles you have to feed them. For those who have a lot of extra pounds it is the best time to hit the weights as they’re just starting to train for they will be able to build muscle while in a caloric deficit. This will last for a short period of time but it’s the only time when it’s possible to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously.
Cardio can be a tool to increase your calorie deficit, improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen respiratory system but it can also exhaust you and slow down recovery if you overdo it. Weights too provide cardiovascular health benefits but they can also change your body dramatically, whereas cardio is mostly great at building endurance.
Choosing a priority here can really increase your training effeciency. Now if you want a better frame but also enjoy cardio, should you ditch the latter for fair it might be detrimental to your figure? No. Simply adjust your regimen to ensure you have enough energy and time to recover between training sessions.
Everything In Between
Plyometrics, circuits, bodyweight exercises are all great additions to the program. It is even recommended to start with full body circuits or plyometrics and bodyweight exercises when you are just beginning to get the body to adapt to physical activity and to strengthen tendons and tissue around muscles, which will later help you with lifting weights. Classes like Zumba or DVDs like Insanity are basically cardio based programs that can get you started but the problem of these regimens is the lack of progression and overload (which is required to build and sculpt the body).
If you’re concerned with looking too bulky from lifting weights or if your muscles respond really well to weight training you don’t have to worry too much about it. Women have a lot less testosterone to ever be as big as men from lifting weights and as soon as you are satisfied with the muscle mass on your frame you can always just stop progressing in your training and maintain whatever weights and mass you have.
You can also lose muscle much faster than gaining it. You can gain fat much faster than gaining muscle, so if you’re afraid of looking big, it’s the fat gain you should be weary of, not muscles. The latter look much smaller than fat at the same weight, that’s why the more muscle you have the slimmer you look. The fat makes you fluffy and big.
Finally, if you truly want a sculpted figure or aim for changing your body composition you should think long-term rather than short-term. Don’t think in the category of losing weight fast but rather think about how your current training will contribute to the way you look in the future. Almost as if like your body is a temple you need to build.