One of our great listeners Kristina asked us a question “I’m training for a long endurance marathon but how do lose weight and gain muscle?”
One of her main concerns stems from her cardio workout, although she is losing fat, she is also worried that she may be decreasing her muscle mass from her cardio workouts.
I once heard in the gym that the best method to lose fat/ lose weight was to focus or weight/ strength training. I would mix it up at least 3 days for strength training and 2 days are active rest days doing cardio.
My reason for a more strength based approach for training towards a marathon is that when muscle training you will burn more fat and gain muscle and gather more benefits as opposed to a more cardio based program.
With a cardio workout you’d have to burn 3600 calories in order to burn one pound (0.45kg) of fat however to achieve this would mean having to spend a long time during cardio giving boredom a chance to set in. It’s also worth noting that prolonged cardio exercises lead to higher levels of cortisol being released by your body. What is cortisol? I hear you ask…well cortisol is the primary hormone that encourages lean muscle mass loss, thus creating a catabolic effect on your lean muscle mass. With strength training although you won’t burn as many calories during the workout the beauty begins to come through post workout since your body will still burn calories after your workout is completed.
Strength training and increased metabolism
This leads to increased metabolism as it receives a boost for up to 36 hours and as long as you maintain a strength weight/strength training program with some cardio training you increase your long-term metabolism.
Weight Training and Total Body Reshaping
Had to grab this from Bodybuilding.com since I could not have phrased this any better:
“Another big benefit that weight traininghas over cardio training is that it will completely allow you to reshape your body. Cardio training generally will help you lose weight, however typically this weight loss is going to be a bit of a combination between fat and muscle; therefore what you’re left with is a smaller version of your current self.
When you are performing resistance training instead while following a hypocalorie diet, then you stand a better chance of losing strictly body fat, while helping to enhance the natural curves of your body.”
Performing compound exercises such as squats and deadliest will increase your core strength. By strengthening your core you will help prevent back pain, compound exercises have shown results where they’ve improved the transfer of power from the arms to the legs thus enabling you to run faster.
Don’t Rule out Cardio
Just as the title says, don’t rule out cardio entirely from your workout as cardio training will improve your cardiovascular health.
You still have a year of training before the marathon Kristina. Why not give strength training a go with some light (not too light) cardio work, I believe after knowing this your dream isn’t much of a dream after all and you will still be able to gain lean muscle whilst losing body fat.