If you want to be lean, toned and shed fat it’s Strength Training you need to prioritize over Cardio.
NO you won’t get bulky!
High intensity (Both heavy strength/ weight/ resistance training and high intensity cardio like HIIT or intervals) increase key hormones that elicit fat release and burning, muscle maintenance and muscle synthesis. 🎯 Testosterone, 🎯 Growth hormone, and 🎯 IGF-1 are the players here and your best friends.
What’s important to know about Growth hormone is it boosts collagen synthesis and IGF-1.
📍increases protein synthesis for building lean muscle.
📍reduces muscle breakdown that happens when there’s high cortisol
📍acts on fat cells to release stored fat for ... Fat Loss!!
All of which are important if you want a healthy metabolism and a lean fit body.
On the contrary, endurance exercise, long duration cardio, and any longer duration moderate intensity exercise has opposing effects. Growth hormone actually is Lowered during aerobic exercise and therefore IGF-1 is too.
Sure, during both types of exercise cortisol rises, however IGF-1 is lacking during endurance and long duration moderate exercise, which creates a fat storing muscle burning atmosphere instead of supporting muscle and burning fat.
Definitely NOT ideal if you‘re going for fat loss, a lean toned physique, and healthy a metabolism and hormones.
Have you ever seen a ‘skinny fat’ individual or athlete? Maybe some marathon runners or long distance cyclists? Are they all as lean and muscular as you may expect for all the ‘calories’ burned? Not always..
Additionally, for women testosterone and estrogen drop during cardio or long duration exercise creating a greater fat storing scenario. Those drops are even MORE significant post menopause.
So what do you do?
✅ Lift weights, and HEAVY ones. Go for that burning, heavy, and hard intensity where you HAVE TO REST in between. If you’re training hard, doing lengthy sessions will be unnecessary and also not doable without wiping you out. Depending on the individual anywhere from 2-5 days of weight training, resistance or strength training sessions are priority. Gauge your workouts on recovery, performance, biofeedback (SHMEC), and results.
✅ Limit your longer duration moderate to high intensity exercise. Of course there are individuals who can thrive on LSD cardio, but for many more, it’s only hindering results and having a suboptimal impact on the metabolism.
✅ Instead, do PLENTY of Movement - easy, light intensity, leisure activity. This is non negotiable. Aim for 1-2+ hours of walking or 10-20k steps that keeps you well below that breathless point. Movement also equals standing, hobbies, errands, fidgeting, burst or blitz exercise (1 min all out exercise interspersed during your day), enjoyable activities, housework or yard work, etc. Recovery activity, stretching, tai chi, and light yoga too.
✅ Balance your heavy resistance sessions with lots of recovery, rest, and sleep. You damage the body by working out. The way you begin to recover and actually SEE the results of the gym is via R&R. Allow yourself downtime.
✅ Possibly the most important ... DO NOT USE EXERCISE AS YOUR MEANS TO CREATING A CALORIE DEFICIT AND LOSE WEIGHT OR FAT LOSS. So so critical! You MUST address your eating, and your lifestyle and mindset. Exercise is an adjunct and necessary for muscle, strength, injury prevention, longevity, and performance, but in terms of calories it’s not the root of the issue.