This is all good and well but perhaps you’re wondering if any of what we’ve discussed so far applies to you… Specifically, if your objective is to lose weight, then what use is the bench press? Or any of other principles for triggering mass muscle growth? Actually, everything! If you want to lose weight, then one of the very best things you can do is to train with weights.
Not only does this burn a lot of calories and carbs in its own right but it will also help to change your metabolism and help you to burn even more fat even as you’re resting. This is simply because it takes a certain amount of energy for the body just to maintain muscle. The more muscular you are, the more fat you burn as you walk around and even as you sleep!
What’s more, is that muscle helps you to appear more toned and athletic. This is a big factor for a lot of people and is actually often more important than weight loss. Let’s say for example that you have excess cellulite on your legs: should you burn calories or tone muscle? The answer is tone muscle, which will be far more effective at removing the appearance of the cellulite and helping you to look leaner.
A lot of women shy away from resistance training because they think it’s going to make them suddenly appear muscular and manly. Even some guys will shy away from it because they don’t want to look ‘too big’. But in reality, it is actually very hard to get to the point that a lot of people think of as ‘too big’.
No one accidentally ended up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, it takes a lot of hard work to build that much muscle. And as for women, lifting weights is one of the best ways to get a toned, feminine physique. Just try searching ‘women who lift’ in Google to see what I mean.
In order to bring about these impressive weight loss changes, you need to do more compound exercises in particular. These are the ones that utilize the entire body, so those bodyweight moves and also things like the kettlebell swing. The kettlebell swing will use the shoulders, the legs, the core, the back and more and that makes it an incredible tool for burning calories and building muscle.
But what the kettlebell swing also is, is an example of cardiovascular training. The fact that you’re swinging a kettlebell means that you’re maintaining a high and consistent level of exertion. This allows you to burn calories but because you’re using muscle at the same time to shift such a lot of weight, you’re burning even more muscle and flooding the body with growth hormone as well.
In this way, you can use kettlebells like running and maintain output to burn lots of calories. The difference? A) you’re working harder because there’s weight involved B) this also prevents the body from catabolizing the muscle and C) you’ll be able to do it from the comfort of your own home!
Perform 200 kettlebell swings and you’ll burn a LOT while at the same time building up a lot of strength. This is especially true if you accomplish it using a drop set, so that you can start with a hard weight.
Best cardio to lose belly fat: HIIT program
Another way you can take this even further is to use the kettlebell as part of a HIIT program. HIIT stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training’. This means that you’re going to be exerting yourself 100% for short durations, then taking brief spells of rest in-between by performing at a lower intensity. So you might swing the kettlebell for 1 minute at full-power, then stop to jog lightly on the spot for 2 minutes, then return to swinging the kettlebell.
This allows you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than regular ‘steady state’ cardiovascular exercise. Better yet, it has also been shown in studies to help increase your mitochondria – the energy factories in your cells that allow you to exert yourself for long periods. But the real power of HIIT lies in the way it helps you to burn more calories subsequently.
That’s because going at 100% exertion (that’s 90%+ of your max heart rate) causes the body to work faster than it can get energy from your fat stores. This is called ‘anaerobic training’ and it forces the body to rely on energy stored in the muscles and the blood. When it does this, that then means that when you perform the slower exercise in-between, you only have the fat stores to draw on.
Burning more fat
This means you end up burning much more fat in the long term. This process then continues even once you’ve finished training and you begin going about your regular business. Using 10 minutes of HIIT a day, you can nicely cut off any fat you’re worried about and increase your calorie burn. This is recommended as part of a ‘finisher’ – a routine you use to cap off a resistance workout and to increase your overall calorie burn.
Steady State Cardio
But that said, you shouldn’t write off steady state cardio just yet – be that performing 200 kettlebell swings, going for a 5 mile run, or just skipping for an hour. When you do this, you will burn a lot of calories due to the sheer amount of time, and this will certainly be more than you’ll get from 10 minutes of HIIT. Think of HIIT as being useful when you want to work out in a shorter amount of time, it’s more efficient, but you can only keep it up so long.
It’s also brutal and not for beginners. The other benefit of steady state though is what it does for your general fitness and your energy levels. If you can maintain exertion throughout a steady state workout, then you will be taxing your heart a lot. This is good because it will allow the left ventricle to enlarge, just as any other muscle responds to training.
When that happens, it means that you’ll be able to move more blood around the body with each pump. This is very important because it means in turn that you’ll be able to more efficiently deliver blood, nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. It also means that when you’re not training, your resting heart rate will be lower.
This can actually benefit hypertrophy when you’re resting and it will help you to sleep far more efficiently so that you wake up feeling more rested and better able to tackle the day ahead, workout and all! Just running 4 miles a week is more than enough to see your resting heartrate and your VO2 max improve.
This will not only burn a lot of calories but it will also help to support an active lifestyle and especially when it comes to training. This is recommended for everyone. But if you want to lose more weight, then you can of course increase the ratio of CV to lifting. That might mean that you add in lots of HIIT sessions, or it might mean that you maintain your steady state for much longer.