The first step to get in shape is the decision to really go for it and do it. Unfortunately, most of the people do the mistake to start with cardio training instead of strength training on their way of getting back in shape. Cardio training only surely won’t lead to success.
Cardio Training is contra productive
Cardio Training is contra productive when it comes to fat loss? You got it, it really is. Imagine you’re overweight and try to lose bodyweight and bodyfat. Now you decide to do some jogging sessions on a daily basis to lose bodyfat/bodyweight. My first thought goes out to your knee joint which is exposed to unnecessary impact due to overweight. Furthermore, your leg muscles are not well developed and as a result they can’t really manage to stabilize your knee joint. To make it short: Often than less this results in unwanted knee pain. I can see that a lot when people start working with me as their Personal Trainer. My task is then to not only take care of the strength training part for building lean mass and losing bodyfat, but also fixing the knee pain that occurred due to a wrong training approach. Remember: without building your muscles you’ll have bad joint stability and therefore an elevated risk of injuries when doing cardio training.
Another factor is the fact that extensive cardio training can lead to a decrease in lean mass. Imagine a 1L bottle of water. The bottle is your body and consists of water, fat, bones and muscles. The bottle or your body volume wise will always have the same size. I may now lose bodyfat when doing cardio training, but at the same time I lose lean muscle mass. The result: Less bodyweight and less fat mass, but also massively less muscle mass.
Did you really get in shape now? I guess not, because well-developed muscles have essential functions for your well-being. Muscles are responsible for walking upright, they stabilize the joints (knee, back, feet, pelvis, neck etc.) and they produce heat in the body. Therefore, our muscles protect us from joint issues and lead to a better posture. Since they enable us to walk and are responsible for the heat production they require energy. The more muscles, the higher the basal metabolism or the energy that we burn when resting. That’s why strength training is essential for fat loss and getting back in shape!
Strength Training for fat loss
Let’s go back to the 1L water bottle. What happens if you skip cardio training and start with strength training. Remember the volume of the bottle is given. If you start with strength training you’ll increase lean mass and the percentage of body fat decreases. In the beginning, it’s not difficult to build muscles, because your body will react to any kind of stimulation. Don’t forget though that the body gets used to it quickly and the result is a plateau sooner than later. Variation and more intense or different stimulations will keep you from landing in a plateau!
Often times I can see that those people that apply for a gym membership without individual care, afterwards get 1 or max. 2 training plans per year. After they got the new plan with 1 assisted training of an employee they basically train for themselves. In most of the cases these are standardized training plans which don’t take into account the needs and given problems of the client. To start with, 1-2 training plans per year are way too little, because most of the people that follow the plan will end up in a plateau. Moreover 1 assisted training after getting the plan is too little to ensure that people training correctly. Lastly, there is no liability to really improve since there is no motivator such as a coach next to you that pushes you to your next level. The result: 90% of the people without a personal coach end up in a plateau and train with bad form.
That’s why I suggest that everybody that really wants to get in shape invests in a Personal Trainer before training on alone. When practicing soccer, you’ll also learn the skills from a coach and do things based on your gut feeling, isn’t it?
If you consider working with me, you can contact me by using the contact form on my website or send me an Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m a Personal Trainer based in Zurich with the mission to deliver results, not empty promises.