Unlock Vitality at Every Stage: Active & Ageless Fitness for the Over50s
Over 50s Fitness Centre.
Health & Wellness Specialists
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As you are all training hard, eating healthy, getting stronger, fitter, and healthier, I’ve decided to bring up an age-old debate on whether or not weight/strength training is good for fat loss. In other words, does weight training burn fat?
And the answer is a definitive YES!!! So there you have it, you don’t need to read on. BUT, if you would really like to learn about both cardiovascular exercise and strength training and their respective effects on fat loss and body composition (muscle vs. fat ratio), then keep scrolling!
To put it simply, cardiovascular exercise is an exercise that increases your heart and breathing rate by using large muscle groups constantly and rhythmically.
Strength training is when we employ our muscles against a certain resistance such as pushing or pulling weights e.g. dumbbells, bands, or medicine balls against gravity.
So, picture somebody sweating it out on a boxing bag or on a rowing machine vs. somebody who appears to be quietly and calmly pushing a few weights. You would naturally think the person doing the cardio exercise is burning more calories.
This is true, you would generally burn more calories doing a HIIT (High Intensity, Interval Training) cardio session. Doing HIIT (short periods of exercise and short periods of rest) burns more calories than doing a weight or strength session.
Now, you may be confused as I have said before that strength training burns more calories than cardio exercise. And it does in the long term. However, during the exercise session itself, cardio wins the battle hands down.
Confused? Simply said, a body that is more muscular (not necessarily resembling a bodybuilder) has more densely packed muscle fibres that will burn more calories at rest than a non-toned or weaker body.
Now, I apologise in advance if you have heard this analogy before, but here I go again. Picture this, two cars sitting at a set of traffic lights.
One car is a V8 muscle car, and the other is a Mini-minor. Both cars are sitting there just idling not moving at all.
Which one is burning more fuel? The V8 muscle car, of course!
The bigger engine at rest requires more fuel/energy to keep it going. Without getting too technical, when our muscles become firmer and stronger, we have more of the cell organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell.
These microscopic components of our cells multiply after regular weight/strength training and they have a greater energy requirement (glucose) to keep them going. This is why with consistent regular training we develop more mitochondria and have more energy!
So, does weight training burn fat? Yes, it does, but not as much as cardiovascular exercise when the training itself is being conducted. But weight training will make the body burn more fat after the training has finished.
Not only are both forms of exercise an important component of a structured and balanced exercise program, but are also necessary for optimum physical fitness and performance.
Besides, they are required for lean muscle mass development and body composition (muscle/fat) management, along with a healthy, controlled diet.
Heath Jones is the founder of Active & Ageless and has over 20 years’ experience in the Health & Wellness space.
He holds the following qualifications:
Bachelor of Nursing
Postgraduate in Exercise Science
Diploma of OHS
Cert 3 & 4 Fitness
Cert 4 Training & Assessment
Older Adults trainer