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Strength Training

Whats all the fuss about?

Here at Gym and Tonic we often get asked ‘which is better weights or cardio?‘ The most honest answer is often the most difficult to digest and that is ‘well it depends’, annoying right? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) training has often been advocated as the best and most efficient way to loose weight, and the truth is that this just isn’t the case. Saying that, HIIT can be hugely beneficial for improving cardiovascular function as well as eliciting fat loss. EPOC or excess post exercise oxygen consumption is what has historically driven HIIT as the go to option for those seeking rapid weight loss. However fat loss will only occur if we create a caloric deficit, (use more energy than we consume), so the question we need to ask ourselves is: 

Does HIIT training result in increased EPOC and subsequently elicit greater energy expenditure?Yes…but not as much as you may have hoped.
The interesting caveat to this however is that HIIT training and hard exercise bouts, are not the only method of eliciting EPOC. Heavy resistance training has also been shown to cause the same effects when the intensity of the weight is high enough. Interesting right? 

Now further to the effect of EPOC from resistance training, hypertrophy (muscle growth) occurs due to weight training. Now I hear some people saying, ‘I don’t want to put on muscle, I bulk up really easily’. I have come across very few people in my career and even fewer in general life who I would describe as having too much muscle. Gaining muscle is not easy, and if it was, athletes and obsessed Gym goers would not have been seeking the help of anabolic steroids for the best part of 60 years. The truth is we could all do with gaining a bit of muscle mass, and weight training is the best way to achieve this, you won’t get bulky, or injured. Contrary to that belief, the opposite is true, resistance training is the secret to fat loss and is the bench mark of all injury rehab programs.

How is it the secret to fat loss? The secret lies in our own physical make up. The more muscle mass we have, the more metabolic we become, therefore the more calories we burn at rest. How awesome is that? Burning calories at rest. The fact is, muscle requires a lot of energy to maintain, therefore your body needs more fuel to retain it. So what’s my take home message? I guess what I’m trying to encourage you all to do is lift a little more. The benefits of strength training, not only to fat loss goals but also to general well being be that bone and joint health, flexibility, and injury management are unrivaled. So pick up those weights and get lifting!! 

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