Though cardio exercise is important and effective for fat burning and losing weight, it is not the only kind of exercise that can induce fat-loss. Strength training and functional training can help you preserve the muscle you have while causing a reduction in body fat. Remember that the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day.
Muscle is more active than fat. A pound of muscle can burn anywhere from 10-20 calories a day while a pound of fat only burns 2-5 calories. Since muscle is more dense than fat and takes up less space, more muscle tone will make you look slimmer and trimmer.
Many people, especially women, avoid strength training because they think they will gain weight or because they just “like cardio better.” However, strength training and functional training have a number of benefits:
Building lean muscle The way your body looks and feels is not dependent on your body fat percentage, but your body mass index. This includes the ratio of muscle to fat. A body includes more muscle will burn more fat automatically without spending as much time on the cardio machines and look healthier.
Strengthening muscles, bones and connective tissues Stronger muscles make your body more functional. Different types of exercises or exercise programs can manipulate the muscle to perform for either strength or estetics. Whether you want bigger muscles or leaner, toned muscles depends on the type of training you do.
Keeping the body strong and injury-free for your cardio workouts Some cardio workouts can be stressful on the bones and joints. Stronger surrounding muscles will give you the support your need and keep you from sustaining and injury which may keep you on the sidelines.
Raising the metabolism Not only keeping your body active, but with a higher ratio of muscle in the body will speed your metabolism. Combine active functional and strength training with your cardio workout and you will notice changes in your body and appetite. If you make sure to include a diet of healthy, frequent, small meals, you will see your fat drop and muscle increase!
An effective fat loss program will include regular strength training and cardio workouts, done either separately or together, depending on your schedule and goals. Another important component is, of course, eating a healthy diet as well. By implementing all three components, you can maximize your weight loss and your health.