"How many calories do you think I burned during this session?"
"What burns more calories - the treadmill or the elliptical?"
I get these questions all the time, and it still amazes me. Each and every day I see people come to the gym with one goal and one goal only - burn calories! Now don't get me wrong, burning calories is important, but should it be a goal? And is it really that important?
Burning fat calories outside the gym
There are 10,080 minutes in a single week which means if you come to the gym 3-5 or even 6 days a week with each visit lasting about an hour, your gym time will account for roughly 3% of your week. Doesn't seem like it could have too much of an effect, does it? What is your body doing the other 97% of the time? Is it working in your favor toward your calorie-burning goal, or is it resisting that goal?
Think about this … what if you could change your body so it is burning fat calories at a higher rate OUTSIDE the gym (which is where you spend 97% of your time)?
This is my #1 goal for all my clients and myself. Every single time I work with someone, my goal is to change their body so it is working more efficiently outside the gym. That is when you will see real change in your body and life.
So ... how do you do this?
The single most important thing you can do to make your body more efficient at burning fat during rest is gain lean muscle. Muscle is the largest organ system in your body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you need to burn in order to give your muscles the power to work. In other words, more muscle equals less fat. This is done through resistance training as well as consuming the appropriate amount of protein.
You can also improve how efficiently your body works by improving the quality of your movements. If your body is moving better, it wants to move more. And when you move more, your body wants to move better in order to make movement even easier. Your body does NOT want to have excess fat. Moving well and often is the key to an increase in overall calories burned.
In addition, cardio exercise should be incorporated into any good strength and conditioning training program. So what type of cardio should you do? Well, that depends on multiple factors that are different for each individual. Do you need aerobic cardiovascular work for overall health? Do you need anaerobic cardiovascular work to improve your ability to take in and utilize more oxygen?
Remember that burning calories should be a supplement to a good program that builds lean muscle and improves limitations that are holding you back from getting the results you want.
Ask Levo how you should incorporate cardiovascular work into your exercise program today!