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The difference between cardio and resistance exercise.

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The thought of wanting to lose some weight and in some cases that you need to lose weight because of health issues is terrifying. You know you´ll need to make some changes, you know that exercise is important but that mental fear paralyze you more than your body hurting. 

Before you even start doing some physical activity there are some points you need to understand and one of them is the types of exercise you can and most do to improve your overall health and lose weight. We will keep it simple so we´ll only talk about cardio and resistance exercises.

I know a lot of people who like to go for long walks or jog around 60 minutes almost every day, since all of them have a 9 to 5 job they go for this long runs or walks on weekends or when they don´t have to work. The reason they do it is not because they like it, it´s more because of health and weight reasons. I can´t deny that physical activity is great but, too much cardio can have a negative impact on your weight and health thanks to the signals it sends to your body.

Many of us think of cardio as the way to lose weight we think we need to do it even when those sessions are long and boring. We think this because that what the industry has told us and made us believe but this is not completely true, cardio is not the best way to lose weight and keep it off, you can actually skip cardio completely and if you do resistance exercise you´ll be fine, you´ll lose weight and keep it off. But cardio has so many benefits for health and it still has its place.

The reason why many people in the industry make you think that cardio is a great tool for fat loss is this, there are research that shows that one hour of cardio compared to one hour of resistance training burns more calories while you are doing it so, thinking about weight loss as calories in and calories out if you want to lose fat  you need to do cardio to burn more calories right?

Not so fast, … with all types of exercise you send signals to your body and your body will respond accordingly to that signal. With cardio you are sending the message to your body to become more efficient at using calories.

If you´ve been spending the last years without doing any exercise, the moment you start exercising it will feel like hell, you´ll be so tired and you´ll burn a lot of calories but with time if you continue doing the same exercise, for the same amount of time at the same intensity it´ll become easier and easier and your body uses less energy and it burns less calories every time you do it, your body adapts. If you increase the intensity and time you can start losing muscle mass because your body needs to become efficient at that activity and muscle needs a lot more energy and in an activity focused on endurance muscle mass is not needed in fact is counterproductive to have so much muscle. You can see this in marathon runners.

After following a weight loss program based on cardio for a long period of time we´ll need to do more exercise and eat less to sustain your results this is why  it´s almost impossible to maintain the results when you stop the program.

With resistance exercise the signal you are giving to your body is to get stronger, when you are doing resistance exercises you are giving a stimuli to the muscles and that stimuli let your body knows that it needs those muscles so it needs to get stronger and grow to be able to make it through the next workout.

We talked about the importance of improving body composition in a past post (click here to read it) and the way to do it is by focusing on resistance exercises to build muscle and add some cardio. This does not means that you will get big, it only means that you focus on improving your health and weight considering lean muscle mass and body fat.

Now you may be asking how do you start with cardio or resistance exercises. It all depends on where you are now, how much you can do, just by taking a 10 minute walk first thing in the morning before breakfast and another 10 minute walk right after dinner, doing 10 squats and 10 pushups is all you need. You can start with easy versions or levels of squats and push ups like using a chair for the squats and a wall for push ups.

Your goal is to focus on doing this two 10 minute walk, the squats and push ups every day. What you want is to develop the habit of increasing physical activity and exercising. Do this for a couple of weeks and let us know your results, how you feel and what you´re struggling with by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

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Pam

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