Grace and I go to the gym every day. She either plays or has her Mighty Mites fitness class and I go run. Every time that I take her to class we walk through the “gym” which has, on the left, row after row of treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals and TVs on the walls and on each piece of equipment and on the right multigyms and rack after rack of free weights. The first time that we walked through I realized why most people are not losing weight. The ratio of people doing cardio to people doing strength training is about 10 to 1. Whereas virtually every piece of cardio equipment is in use, just a handful of people are doing strength training and that is a big mistake. Why? Cardio burns calories while you are doing the activity and for a short time afterwards while your metabolism is elevated but muscle burns calories continuously just to exist. The more muscle that you have, the more calories that you will burn.
But, you say, it isn’t fun, I don’t have a gym membership, I don’t have the equipment, I don’t know what to do, etc.. I say, get some free weights (dumbbells) or resistance bands and get a personal trainer. What, you say, I can’t afford to spend a lot on equipment or a personal trainer. If you want to lose weight and look thinner (muscle takes up less space than fat, so if you have more muscle and less body fat you will look thinner), spend between $35 – $50 on free weights or resistance bands. If you can’t afford a gym membership or personal trainer (which is very understandable) then get a workout DVD. I have a personal trainer that I see five days a week and his name is Tony Horton. Yes, I use P90X and even a former personal trainer like me is thrilled to have someone else telling me and showing me what to do and motivating me through a workout. I put a DVD in the player, warm up with him and his friends, stretch with them and then he decides what exercises I am going to do on any given day and I do it with them. Maybe your personal trainer would be Debbie Siebers or Kathy Smith or another one of Tony Horton’s programs like Power 90.
The bottom line is, if you really want to lose weight and look better you cannot just rely on cardio (and, of course, good nutrition). You have to do strength training to add muscle because muscle will work for you, in many ways, all day long (and night, too) and it is the true key to overall and long term success