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Cardio Workout Vs Weight Training for Fat Loss

Cardio or Weight Training to Burn Fat?

Copyright Lynn VanDyke

I have a confession to make.  I am a master fitness trainer and I actually have an opinion about cardio and strength training.  If you are looking for a sweet, two-sided article that gives you plenty of fluff and little advice then this article is not for you.

I am going to give you my thoughts and opinions on my preferred method of fat loss.  I just want to be truthful and direct about my experiences. A typical day for me includes meeting my clients for their weekly workout sessions and motivational chats.  I also have an opportunity to talk with potential clients.  Each day I talk with men and women about one thing: fat loss.

I provide the same speech day in and day out.  I do not mind this.  In fact I wake up each morning thrilled and excited to spread the word- the gospel of fat loss.  Many of my potential clients are surprised by my opinions. I am going to ask you for something.  I am going to ask you for the same exact thing I ask potential clients- try my advice for a few weeks and then make a judgment.

Strength Training for Fat Loss

There’s nothing for you to lose except some unwanted and unhealthy fat.  If I am wrong in my advice then simply stop the recommendations.  If my advice helps you then keep going.  Learn more about me and why I am one of the few personal trainers that actually has an opinion about the best fat loss method.

Here’s the thought that shocks my potential clients: limit your cardio and increase your strength training. That’s it.  Sounds simple and, if I am to tell the truth, it is simple.  This very basic concept causes many people to think I’ve lost my brain.  After all isn’t cardio the ultimate fat burning workout?  Nothing beats 45 minutes on the treadmill.  Right?

Wrong.  The reality and cold hard truth is that strength training is the best and surest way to increase your metabolism, burn fat and sustain long term weight loss.  Cardio is important, but not nearly as important as many Americans believe it is.

Use the following advice at your own risk.  It’s worked for me and my clients. It has been one of the few ways folks lose fat and keep it off.  Before I divulge a sample program let me say one more thing to tempt you- a pound of fat burns 5 calories per day.  A pound of muscle burns 50 calories per day. Simply adding 5 pounds of beautiful, lean and toned muscle equals an additional 250 calories burned per day.  Pretty impressive.

Weight Training Routine for Fat Loss

Sample Weekly Routine (warm up before all exercise sessions):

Monday and Thursday: Participate in an upper body strength training routine. Consider doing 3 sets of 8 reps for all upper body muscle groups.  Add 10 minutes of medium intensity cardio when you’re done with the weights. Follow with a cool down.

Tuesday and Friday: Participate in a lower body and abdominal strength training routine.  I enjoy doing 3 sets of 8 reps for all lower body muscles and the abs. Add in 10 minutes of medium intensity cardio after the strength training. Follow with a cool down.

Wednesday and Saturday: Toss in a 20-25 minute interval cardio program.  Work at a ratio of 2:1 (1 minute easy intervals followed by 30 second higher intensity intervals).

Sunday: Rest day Before I opened my own business I would train clients in regular gyms.  I always saw members, particularly women, doing long cardio sessions.  After years of experience and personal transformation I began suggesting these members give up on so much cardio.  I asked them to consider weight training. Most looked at me and laughed. 

Women were deathly afraid of touching a dumbbell, and if I were lucky enough to get them to consider the outrageous idea… they did not want to lift a 10 pound weight for fear of bulking up.  That won’t happen!  I have spent years trying to educate the public about strength training. Take the next few weeks and focus on the above program.  Do not fear the weights.  Lift heavy and push your muscles.  Your muscles should be fatigued by the last few reps of each set.  Always maintain perfect form and always have complete control over your workout.

Cardio is wonderful.  Nutrition is vital.  Strength training is the master of fat loss.  Whether you have a few pounds or 70 pounds to lose, strength training is your answer.  Go ahead and give it a try.  Talk with a personal trainer if you need additional help and always ask your doctor if it’s okay to start a fitness or nutrition program.

Each pound of muscle you have burns 50 calories per day.  Imagine adding a few pounds of muscle.  You’ll have the perfect body you’ve always dreamed of- lean, toned, cut and always burning fat.

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About the Author

Lynn VanDyke is a master trainer and fitness nutritionist. Her fitness site: