KIMBy Kim Duke

NETA & AFAA Certified Trainer

If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading.

When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups – a no exercise group, aerobic exercise only and an anaerobic exercise and weight training group – all participants lost about 21 pounds, but the weight lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron.

Other research on dieters who don’t weight-train as they diet shows that while they are losing fat, they are also losing muscle.  If you weight-train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.

The term cardio shouldn’t describe only aerobic exercise.  Circuit training with weights typically raises your heart rate at least 15 beats per minute higher than if you were to run at 60-70 percent of your max heart rate. Attend any Cross-fit class or HICT class and you’ll be challenged to breathe as you are building valuable muscle mass.

Lifting also increases the number of calories you burn while your butt is parked on the couch! That’s because after each strength-training workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibers. In fact, researchers found that when people did a total-body workout with three big moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward. They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared to those who did not lift.

Lifting gives you better burn during exercise, too. Doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) will expend 160-230 calories. That’s about what you’d burn if you ran a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.

So, during this season of resolutions and pre-spring dieting, add some weight lifting to your routine.

If you are a beginner to this type of exercise, there are fitness classes available that will help to teach you routines and motivate you, as well.  So, what are you waiting for? Get fitter than you ever thought possible by adding strength training to your weight loss routine.

Starting February 24, Core Performance Fitness and Training at 33 Bristol Lane in Ellicottville will be offering classes on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. that are geared to the beginner strength trainer.  Call (716) 698-1198.