Everyone knows cardio & weight training help you lose weight right? Stupid question… but is it really the workouts or is it our diet?
It is absolutely true, cardio and weight training are good for you. Our bodies are meant to move and when we don’t we feel achy, tired and sometimes even depressed. At the same time keeping your diet under control makes all the difference.
Some of the benefits of CARDIO & WEIGHT TRAINING:
- less body aches
- stronger heart & lungs
- lower stress, anxiety and sometimes less depression
- better sleep
- some connections have been shown with reducing diseases including cancer
- and yes, you might burn some of those calories off too
An additional benefit of weight training?
- Muscle burns SUGAR! Yes, that noxious substance that seems to be in everything you eat? That horrible additive that is blamed for contributing just a multitude of diseases especially diabetes? Yeah, that one. Muscle burns more of that sugar you may be putting in your body.
- Additionally muscles burn calories as it builds itself up – long after your workout is over. Some experts claim up to 200 extra calories come from muscle repair after a strength workout.
A new way of thinking about your cardio and weight training.
I would like you to start thinking of your exercise as what allows you to maintain a healthy diet.
Yes, I mean exactly what I said. It is the workouts that allow you to continue to eat healthy.
- Even when following a good nutrition plan it is super easy to over eat by as little as 100 calories a day. 100 calories x 365 days = 10.4 unwanted pounds a year! Your workouts will likely BURN those 100 calories out of existence just with the Afterburn effect.
- The harder you workout the less likely you are to sabotage your diet. Since it was crazy hard to just work off all those calories you just did making you might just behave better.
- Also your body will be craving real healthy food after a good workout, not crap (usually.)
- The muscles you are building will help burn off the excess sugar you may be consuming
- A good workout helps you sleep better and the better you sleep, the less you crave junk food.
Dieting without Exercise
For people who are extremely overweight a slight shift in their diet can make a big dent in weight loss. I highly encourage this as well as consulting with a doctor to formulate a plan tailored to your needs. Eventually however, dieting alone may no longer work. You body gets used to less calories and starts to hold on to the status quo.
All you can do when you hit that plateau is to eat even less calories to hopefully budge that scale a bit more. At some point the measly amount of calories we would be allowed to have to maintain our healthy weight would not be doable for the average person.
But there is a fix that actually allows you to eat MORE!!
That FIX is cardio and weight training! The harder you workout, the more muscle you build, the MORE you get to eat (within limits of course.)
Take myself for example. I am 5’3″ and have a medium build. My family history is such that gaining weight is ridiculously fast and easy. Here is what I get to eat without exercise:
If I were trying to lose 5 pounds with ZERO workouts I could only eat around 1300 calories a day. And as I lost more muscle from not exercising that number would go down as years went by. This to me is nearly starving!
If I were trying to lose 5 pounds with exercise, think 3-4 WEIGHT training days and 3 CARDIO days a week, I can eat close to 1800-1900 calories a day. I also get an additional calorie buffer of “after burn” as well as my rebuilding muscles sucking up any accidental extra sugar in my system. In fact, if I weight train hard enough, I probably need to supplement my sugar intake with a balanced recovery drink (that contains, yes, sugar!)
So here is my observation about all this diet and exercise stuff.
As far as I’m concerned, only a saint could remain successful eating 1300 a measly calories for the rest of their life. And I’m no saint!
Besides the added benefits of exercise, I believe that cushion of being allowed and extra 500 calories a day is where success lies. It may not seem like much, but healthy balanced eating is a plan for life, not just until a desired number on the scale is reached. I know for me, those few calories mean I can eat when I’m hungry and never have to skip a meal.
These extra calories allow me to stay the course and stick with a healthy lifelong plan!