Some time ago, almost everyone was clear that exercising “cardio” was the best way to burn calories and lose overweight stomach. However, muscular strength exercises, in light of scientific evidence, seem just as good or better.
Deciding to start an exercise program is the first step in becoming an improved version of yourself. But what type of exercises will give you the best results? Is it better to focus on the cardiovascular or should you do muscular strength exercises for overweight stomach loss?
Most people consider cardio to be the best exercise for overweight stomach loss. But on the other hand, some people consider muscular strength exercises only serve to build muscle bulk. For this reason, in this blog. We will explain the difference between these 2 types of exercises. In order to clear up doubts as to what is best for overweight stomach loss.
The issue is no longer limited to just calorie balance. There is a complex set of physiological phenomena that can define a metabolism. We will begin to understand the phenomena. What does science tell us about it?
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Cardio as an immediate burner for overweight stomach
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, cardio, or cardiovascular exercise:
Is an activity that increases the heart rate and respiration by using large muscle groups in a repetitive and rhythmic way.
Therefore, this method acts immediately on the body, that is, when doing cardiovascular exercises your body will begin to burn calories at the same time that the activity is being practiced.
However, it has to be practiced in a moderate way, with a heart rate of 60%, approximately of maximum performance. Since in that range your body will eliminate energy reserve to a greater extent, that is, fat, instead of muscle glycogen.
But what can be the downside of losing overweight stomach through cardio?
Very simple, when a person begins to perform cardio or aerobic sessions, the fat burning at the beginning is more than remarkable, but this changes with the passage of time.
Once you are taking shape, if you want to continue burning the same amount of calories. So, it will not be enough to train cardio the way you have been doing it from day one. As you lose fat, if you apply the same intensity of cardio, your body maintains but does not progress, it remains stagnant.
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To continue with the overweight stomach loss, you will have to significantly intensify the aerobic or cardio sessions in distance or intensity, which would result in excessive exhaustion. And at a certain moment, it will be difficult to continue increasing that “burn”.
What about muscular strength exercises in overweight stomach loss?
With muscular strength exercises, the opposite happens, in a session the calorie burning is probably not too much, since being an anaerobic exercise, glycogen (the way in which our body stores carbohydrates at the muscular level) is the main fuel that it begins to be used as the muscle begins to work.
But that’s not all. To understand it, you must be clear about two concepts. On the one hand, the increase in EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, for its acronym in English), which is the way in which the body burns extra calories to recover the muscles as an effect of the great amount of oxygen consumed in training.
The basal metabolism
And on the other hand, the basal metabolism. According to the WHO “The human body requires energy for all bodily functions, including physical work, maintaining body temperature and the continuous work of the heart and lungs (…) Energy is also necessary for fragmentation, repair and training of the tissues. These are metabolic processes. The rate at which these functions are performed when the body is at rest is the basal metabolic rate (BMR). ”
During the period of high COPD, oxygen consumption after resistance training will increase considerably and this increase is directly related to energy expenditure (fat). It can also be achieved through a HIIT cardio session, with high intensity intervals, but without the same effect. Then the second concept that we have mentioned comes into play, the basal metabolism.
The basal metabolism of each person is directly related to the amount of muscle they have, the more muscle, the greater the metabolism, and that is where the key lies. Thanks to muscle and that increase in basal metabolism, you will be able to burn fat for a longer time, not only at the time of training but also in a resting state.
Therefore, you will achieve muscle gain only through muscular strength exercises, since if you only practice cardio you will get all the opposite: Catabolize the muscle and lose amount of it.
If you are looking to burn fat at a specific time, moderate cardio can be an option, even with HIIT cardio because it allows you to raise your EPOC. But if you’re looking to burn fat more effectively and for a longer time, muscular strength exercises are the right choice. You can even go further and do a combination of both.
Why should we train muscular strength exercises when we want to lose overweight stomach?
There are people who, when they want to lose fat, have a much higher esteem for cardiovascular exercise than muscular strength exercises because the former is “more gratifying” when it comes to expending calories, and they are right, but not everything is so easy.
Undergoing a caloric deficit in the medium and long term can cause loss of bone mineral density and loss of muscle mass (Source), something that we are not interested in, whether from an aesthetic or health point of view, especially if we want to age well and enjoy independence in life.
The good news is that engaging in this calorie deficit process with strength training greatly mitigates these unwanted effects. Source.
Cardio exercises vs. muscular strength exercises
Before continuing, we must clear up an unavoidable question, how are cardio exercises different from those known as strength exercises? Although there is no kind of exact and precise definition, it is understood by consensus that these two large groups of exercise exist.
The first aim to produce a fat burning calories through a rise in heart rate in exercise longer or shorter: a race, jump rope, jumping jacks, burpees, squats….
Rather, strength exercises are intended to build muscle. This can result in a definition or hypertrophy (the appearance of highly developed muscles).
In a “traditional” way, outside the more specialized circles, it has been understood that cardio exercises are more appropriate to lose weight, while strength exercises can even make you gain it due to the greater weight of the muscle. However, this is not so straightforward. Furthermore, the matter should not be simplified into a mere amount of weight or mass.
Working on healthy habits is designed to maintain a fit body and parameters that ensure well-being. This does not always go hand in hand with losing or gaining weight, nor should you limit yourself to doing one of these types of exercise, exclusively. Losing fat, something that is generally associated with a healthier metabolism, is related to the ability of our body to catabolize it as I mentioned above. In other words, it must be “activated” for this tissue to be processed.
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So what do I do to lose overweight stomach?
We know that, almost, and taking into account that the numbers may vary:
In a 45-minute session of cardiovascular exercise at a speed of 9.6 km/h, we can be burning around 450 calories.
These data are based on direct measurements in athletes. However, this value is unrealistic when spending a lot of time on cardio. This is because at the beginning of cardiovascular exercise, our body burns more. But, as time goes by, the total number of calories burned decreases due to metabolic adaptation. Following the calculations, it is estimated that with 20 training sessions our body will be burning 400 calories at the same time that we previously burned 450. So we need more time to get the same results, and this is in crescendo.
On the other hand, there are no specific data on muscle training since it is not a matter of fat burning, but rather a complex process of tissue reconversion. What we do know is that the greater the quantity, as we have already said, the greater the demand. And, in addition, this is a long-term bet and that is additive in any physical effort. So helping to generate muscle and maintain a cardio workout. In short, are the best way to maintain an adequate metabolic expenditure at the time to lose weight.
However, what all the experts reveal is that there are no magic formulas to lose overweight stomach in a healthy way. Neither strength training nor cardio or resistance training will be effective on their own and in isolation. In any physical approach, it is necessary to control the intake very well. Also, avoid seeking the rapid loss that usually reverses in the dreaded rebound effects.
Instead, to obtain a figure considered “fit” it is essential to seek healthy habits. This implies:
- Maintaining a healthy perennial diet.
- Some daily physical activity
- Implementing a good combination of exercises.
Cardio or strength? Well, the best is a combination of both.
Of course, resistance training helps us maintain rhythm and lead to more intense physical activity. As well as, muscle strength training is essential to stimulate our metabolism and generate a greater demand for energy.
But not only that: muscle workouts have many benefits, according to many studies:
- Bone maintenance.
- Diabetes control.
- Host of other physiological effects.
Ultimately, science points out that muscular strength exercises shouldn’t be neglected, regardless of whether we also train our cardio. And this is true both for people:
- Who want to reduce the amount of fat in their body.
- Who want to stay healthy for the rest of their lives.