Hands up if you’ve been told in order to lose fat you need to do more cardio? That’s because there has always been this idea that cardio will fix all your weight worries. With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that the top 2 exercises for women are cardio-based. According to Fitbit’s activity index, running, cycling, and swimming are the most popular exercises, with Strength training coming in fifth.
Any whilst any form of exercise is great for improving your mental and physical health, is cardio really the best form of exercise for fat loss? Maybe not.
The Rise of Strength Training
Since 2004, searches for “strength training for women” have doubled and continue to rise, and in recent years in particular we have seen more female “fitness influencer’s” who’s preferred form of exercise has been strength training, and for good reason too. We’ve always been made to believe that lifting weights is for ‘men’ or lifting will make you bulky. But finally, we’re starting to realise that is all just a myth!
So, let’s look at the difference between the two. There is clear evidence, without a doubt that cardio is great for your health, not only does it improve your cardiovascular health, but it also regulates blood sugars, lowers blood pressure and aids sleep. However, cardio doesn’t necessarily build the muscle mass that you need which is key when it comes to calorie burn and ultimately fat loss.
And whilst we’re on the topic of calories, during a cardio workout the calories you burn during your active minutes will be what you burn. The moment you stop, your calorie burn will drop dramatically. However, due to the intentional muscle damage that takes place during a strength workout, the muscle repairing process leads to a higher level of Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) which ultimately means that you continue to burn calories long after the workout stops.
Naturally doing strength workouts will build your muscle mass, which is the key to increasing your resting metabolism. Increasing your resting metabolism means that you will burn more calories at rest. In short, more muscle, more calories burnt.
Not only this but there are also the physical aspects that strength training can bring, that cardio doesn’t. We spoke to 31-year-old Fran who was an avid runner but switched to strength training during the pandemic, she told us that “my body composition has changed, when I was doing cardio I was slim for sure. My legs were thin, my arms were thin but that was it, there was no definition there. Since strength training I could see visible physical improvement, I like my legs now as they have more shape, my waist is slimmer, my arms are more toned and most of all I feel more confident in my body”, Fran also liked that she could set herself goals and get results that she could never have achieved just from doing cardio, “I wanted to build my glutes and I could never have done this with the cardio workouts that I was doing”.
What’s Stopping us from Lifting?
So, I think we can all agree that strength training should definitely have its place in our workouts particularly if we are looking to lose fat and whilst it’s becoming a more popular way of training, women are still reluctantly putting in the hours. Why is this? Well a recent study in the US carried out by New Penn State discovered that many women felt uncomfortable using the free weight section of the gym, this area has in the past been more ‘male dominated’ and due to lack of knowledge and confidence when it came to lifting, women are avoiding it – a trend we’re seeing all over the world. So, what is the solution?
At We Train Limitless, we’ve designed the world’s most innovative piece of gym equipment that can not only be used for strength training, but also for cardio, conditioning and HIIT workouts too. And the best bit? It can be installed in your home. If like many other women around the world you don’t feel comfortable weight training in a gym, the Limitless Free Trainer can be installed in your home and will take up 55% less space than a Peloton bike.
The Free Trainer has been designed in a way that anybody, at any level can use the equipment with ease. The 360% pivoting arms and rotating handles provide full flexibility for all ranges of movement whilst providing support. And unlike traditional machines, dumbbells, or standalone weights that you would find in the gym, the Free Trainer effortlessly stabilises your workout for a safe but challenging session for all abilities.
But if you still feel like you’re lacking in knowledge and confidence with strength training and you’re new to lifting and not sure where to start or which exercised are best for working out arms, back, legs, chest et al. we’ve also created the We Train Limitless app featuring over 100% guided exercises to help you. Each workout features a short video demonstrating how the exercise should be carried out on the Free Trainer and for you to perfect your form.
Strength training doesn’t have to be intimidating and it certainly isn’t a way of training that is exclusively for men. It is beneficial for all and depending on your fitness or fat loss goals it may just be the best method of training for you. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Free Trainer and how it can be used for strength training, you can find out more here: https://wetrainlimitless.com/your-free-trainer/