Click here to go back to Articles

Successfully utilizing muscle training and cardio for maximum results

An exercise program that incorporates both muscle training and cardio will help you reach your goals.

At the beginning of every New Year, thousands of people make resolutions to lose weight.   And after a few months of trying without experiencing any changes, they give up.   Unfortunately, many of these individuals fail to see results because they do not have the "right" knowledge to help them reach their goals.   One important factor in burning fat and increasing metabolism is understanding the importance of incorporating both muscle training and cardio into your workouts.   Additionally, the order that you perform these two critical components helps determine the results you will see.

We loose approximately 1/2 lb of muscle per year through aging from 30 years old on.   The reason this causes weight gain is that we burn calories in muscle. Muscle is your fat burning machinery.   The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.   So it is important to have a muscle-training regimen as part of your exercise program in order to rebuild any muscle you have lost.   This doesn't mean you have to lift the heaviest weights in the gym.   Nor do you need to fear that "pumping a little iron" will automatically transform your body into that of a steroid chomping muscle "freak".   By lifting lighter weights and/or doing higher reps, you can tone your form, build muscle and burn fat without bulking up.   If you can't afford a Personal Trainer to set up a program, find a book or a magazine that can guide you with finding the right exercises and form.

Additionally, it is important that you perform your weight-training regimen before your cardio exercise because each activity has its own energy supply source.   Anaerobic exercise, such as weight-training uses stored glycogen (i.e. carbohydrates) as its energy source. So prior to engaging in anaerobic activity, it is necessary to fill the body's glycogen stores as much as possible in order to get optimal results during your weight training sessions. M any of you have done weight training on an empty stomach or no Carbs, believing that your body would use fat stores for it energy source.   Unfortunately, this is not how it works.   It is not possible to burn fat alone without the presence of glycogen.   Cardio exercise necessitates the utilization of both glycogen and fat stores for energy. At the onset of cardiovascular activity, your body will rely primarily on glycogen stores for energy. Carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of fuel. Depending on your cardiovascular fitness, your body will burn its glycogen for energy for the first 5-25 minutes. This is why it is important to have a glycogen deficient state prior to beginning your cardiovascular exercise (i.e. post weight-training).   A significant amount of both glycogen and fat stores are depleted during cardiovascular activity. If you begin your workout with cardio you will have exhausted a substantial amount of your glycogen stores. As a result, when you begin your weight-training routine you will not have the energy necessary for an optimum and productive workout.

By understanding the mechanics of how the body burns its "fuel" and fat, you can set yourself up for success and exceed the expectations you have set for your "New Year's Resolutions."

For more information on aerobic and anaerobic training and assistance with determining your target heart rate during your cardio routines, click this link.