Many of you may have taken to the treadmill in an attempt to outrun all of those holiday treats and cocktails. The battle against belly fat has begun, and many of you may be asking yourself should I focus on cardio or strength training? Which will be more effective for me?
According to Wayne Westcott, Ph.D, cardio burns 10-12 calories a minute while strength training burns around 8 calories a minute. However, consider the following:
- As soon you stop your cardio workout your calorie burn stops; where as strength training may have an initial lower calorie burn count, but the calorie burn continues as the body works to maintain and replenish your muscles. This spikes your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories) for 24-48 hours after the exercise.
- Strength training also packs on lean mass, which takes calories to maintain – raising your metabolic rate as long as you have that extra muscle using energy.
- Running for long periods can also damage knee and shoulder joints from the repetitive impact and movement, potentially impacting posture as well. When done properly, strength training will safely burn calories with low impact movements, strengthen tissue, bones and improve posture.
We counsel clients to incorporate both cardio and strength training as part of a balanced work out regimen. Hours on the treadmill are not needed. Generally with proper rest intervals during strength training you can finish your work out in 40 minutes, and reserve 20 minutes for cardio. As you go to the gym through the holiday season, keep in mind the benefits of strength training.