Every day when I get to the gym (well, maybe not every day...sometimes life gets in the way), I see the rows and rows of ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills filled up with people dutifully pounding out their recommended 30-60 minutes of cardio.
This would be wonderful if the main reason why everyone was there was for heart health or stress-relief.
But I know this is not true. I can guarantee almost every single person pounding away on each machine is there for one main reason-- fat loss.
Unfortunately, years and years of exercise fads and marketing techniques have been embedded in everyone's brain, making us think that any form of long, drawn-out exercise in that 'fat-burning' zone on any cardiovascular piece of equipment is the absolute key to melting off that little extra jiggle around one's mid-section.
And ladies, I hate to say it-- we're the worst offenders. I think 80% of the people I see are women, all of which are usually reading some form of gossip magazine or watching some form of cooking show on the little mini TV so conveniently set up in front of each machine.
I'm not sure how much effect this will have on anyone, since one little blog post will not undo the years and years of misinformation the major gym chains have been feeding everyone, but alas, I'm here to try to guide you in the right direction.
This is not the way to lose weight. Let me repeat- 30-60 minutes of low intensity exercise on any machine in the gym will not melt off that mid-section wiggle and jiggle.
80% of what you look like is nutrition. Yes- 80%. That means the 30-60 minutes you did at the gym will not undo the cookies, or chips, or second serving at dinner, or ice cream sundae. The real key to being thin is healthy eating. Fruits, veggies, lean protein, portion control- you know the drill.
Now, for that 20% left-over- if you really want to make the most of your time at the gym, get off the cardio machines and start pumping that iron. Don't believe me?
Maybe this will convince you- the amount of calories burned during a gym session are tiny compared to amount burned the other 23 hours of the day.
Cardio exercise only burns calories during the time that you are doing it, and maybe for a very short time after. That means the 500 or so calories you burned are just that- 500 calories.
Strength training, however, is a completely different story. Not only do you burn calories during your session, but the majority of your calories from a strength training session are burned in the 24-48 hours afterward, while your muscles work to repair themselves. That means you're burning extra calories well after you are done working out- without having to do anything!
Who can argue with that?? And who can argue with the fact that 20 minutes of intense weight training or intervals is better for fat loss than 60 minutes of cardio? That's a solid 2/3 of your normal gym time freed up!
So, what do you think? Are you willing to change your exercise mentality? Will you be able to give up your trusty elliptical or treadmill for dumbbells? I'd love to know what you all think!