For years we heard that if you wanted to lose weight you should do cardio or aerobics. This advice was given to us in the '80s and' 90s and even at the beginning of the '00s. But in recent years, some research studies tend to suggest that weight lifting may provide many of the same benefits as cardio. Moreover, the argument has been made that adding muscle can actually increase your metabolism's burn rate and the result is that you end up burning more calories 24 hours a day.
But which is right? We may never have a comprehensive answer but what does seem to be true is that when these activities are done with high intensity and in intervals, fat burning may increase. Perhaps the best news of all is that these physical changes can occur in a reliably short period of time.
One study that was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology (JAP) indicated that after a mere 14 days of interval training, 75% of the college men and women doubled their endurance. This was measured as the time they could ride a bike at a moderate intensity before they had to succumb to exhaustion. A control group showed no improvement.
As far as fat burning goes, another study in the JAP had 8 women in their twenties completed 7 intense interval cycling training sessions over a period of two weeks. At the end of that period, they performed an hour of moderate cycling and it was found that their rate of fat burning had increased by a whooping 36%. In addition, their cardio vascular fitness had increase 13%.
What was also very interesting about this study is that it did not matter what shape the women were in before they started. All shown significant improvement in fat burning. That's good news to those of us who are not pro athletes.
But to come back to the question we started this article with, what does this mean in the weight lifting vs. cardio debit? Adding in some interval training no matter which type of exercise we prefer is likely to help us lose more fat over time. And that can only be a good thing.