Client: I want to first lose weight then once I am at my "goal" weight, then I want to add in weight training.
Why is this not the most ideal approach yet many people think this is the right way to go about losing weight? I think it's because it has become super popular with trendy fitness magazines and fad diets that say you should be doing cardio for weight loss. Yet, they forget the importance of actually lifting weights which BUILDS your metabolism up by creating lean muscle mass.
The truth is, that if you want to lose fat optimally, then you NEED to make sure you're focused on your nutrition first. Next, you'll want to include some type of weight lifting or resistance training into your routine and THEN at the end is cardio as a tool. The truth about doing cardio is that it's catabolic, meaning it's eating away at your muscles. If you put this into perspective, think of a long distance runner and a sprinter's body shape and composition. A marathon runner will have little to no muscle size but be lean which for many people leads to skinny fat syndrome. However on the other side is the sprinter who is short duration and explosive movements built with muscle packed on their bodies.
Here is where many beginners go wrong in starting off with doing a ton of cardio. Naturally, you want to lose some fat, so this week, you start doing lots of cardio. Long boring cardio session on the treadmill, elliptical, and exercise bike. You sweat your butt off each session and you are BORED plus its something you are not looking forward to doing. One month later, you weigh yourself. You've only lost 1lb in a single month. This sucks, and it's why most people quit trying to lose weight. Why did this happen?
Your body adapted to the cardio you were doing. You see your body is amazing and is smarter than you can rationalize with. If you do the same cardio, say an hour on the eliptical, over the course of a month, your body adapted to that hour and now it's not working as hard as it was in the beginning so it stalls weight loss. So you increase your cardio to LONGER and then the cycle continues. Before you know it, you are doing 2- hours of cardio and your body still looks the same... HMMMM,. Sounds like you should be doing something different. However, now your body is stuck because without the cardio. you might gain weight. Hence the yo yo dieting issues we see often as trainers. You do so well then fall off the wagon fast when your body adjusts.
Instead of thinking of cardio as your training, use weight training to build muscle and cardio as a tool when you need it to burn fat. You do not want to be dependent on cardio for your weight loss efforts to be accomplished because you will need to wean yourself off of it at some point. Let's be real honest, no one wants to do an hour of cardio a day plus weight training the rest of their life. This is why progressive overload is so important in weight training. You challenge your body and you make changes happen.
If you want more information on how to do this and not be stuck in the cardio cycle, comment below and let's talk!