So you want to lose weight and you have been doing tons of cardio but it just doesn’t seem to be working out for you? Well here is a simple revelation: exercise is a tool and like any other tool it must be used correctly otherwise you will not get the results you want. In fact you must make sure you use this tool in the right way or else you may end up hurting yourself.

The common mistake most newbies who want to lose weight make is they focus on doing a lot of cardio and expect it to work wonders in weight loss. They spend countless hours on the treadmill and just don’t seem to get the results. Eventually they get frustrated and slip back into old unhealthy habits.

In order for you not to fall into this trap this article will attempt to explain, clarify and simplify a few facts related to using exercise to lose weight.  A very good starting point is for you to realise, appreciate and understand that exercise will not make you lose weight. What will make you lose weight is a state that is known as a caloric deficit which simply means you are burning more calories than the ones you are consuming.

To lose weight effectively, you must keep an eye on your calories and make sure that you are burning more than you are consuming in your diet. You must watch what you are eating, by just cleaning up your diet and eating more healthy nutritious food you will get better results than an extra hour spent in the gym or on the treadmill.

In order to burn more calories, you must increase your metabolism. The only way you can do this is by learning and understanding how to use exercise to create a caloric deficit. Your exercise plan should create a sustained increase your metabolism even at rest; this is known as the ‘afterburn effect’ and to create the ‘afterburn effect’ you must build muscle.

OK … some of you are already thinking “Build muscle? I don’t want more muscle, I want to lose weight!”

Yes I know that but here are some interesting facts about muscle, muscle is not a bad thing, it is actually a very good thing.

Firstly, a pound of muscle takes up 20percent less space than fat so by gaining muscle and using it to replace fat you automatically look thinner.

Secondly, the more muscle you have the higher your metabolism and the higher your metabolism the more calorific deficit you create. This will enable you to able to burn fat at times of rest and I will explain this in more detail later.

Finally, more muscle increases your functional strength and stamina making basic tasks like carrying things much easier.

I am not saying you must become a body builder since I already know most women do not want this.  I am just saying to burn fat and lose weight you need to build good muscle. The more lean muscle you build, the faster you will lose weight. Remember most body builders are on steroids, that’s why they look so masculine. A normal woman will never look like a bodybuilder because they have low amount of testosterone in their body. To put it simple, more testosterone (steroids) means more muscles so do not worry about this.

Now that we know muscle is good, you now need to know how to exercise effectively. The primary goal of any exercise targeted at losing weight should be to burn fat and replace the fat with muscle, while improving your overall health and fitness level. It is important to note that cardio is a great way to burn calories as long as you do not overdo it. But cardio will not make you lose weight. A good thing will be to mix up cardio with resistance training. This is one way you can achieve the ‘afterburn effect’.

Studies have shown that resistance training exercises are much better than conventional exercises like jogging, riding a bicycle and the treadmill when it comes to burning fat and building muscle.  Resistance training exercises make use of your body weight (and /or other weights) to put resistance to whatever activity your muscle is doing. The resistance puts strain on your muscle and causes tinny tiny microscopic tears in your muscle fibres!! This is a very good thing as it creates the necessary physiological conditions that will result in an ‘afterburn effect’.

Let me go into a bit more detail here so you really understand how this ‘afterburn effect’ literally comes about. When the muscle fibre develops microscopic tears, it has to repair itself through a process called protein synthesis. During protein synthesis the muscle tissue uses amino acids (from protein in your diet and other sources) to repair the microscopic tears which results in new muscle tissue being produced along with and a sustained spike in your metabolism. This spike in your metabolism is the ‘afterburn effect’ and it may last for up to 48 hour after exercise.

There are many types of exercises you can consider using to lose weight as long as they can produce an ‘afterburn effect’. For example you can use traditional weight training as an option or you can do High intensity Interval training (HIIT).

You can use also do exercises that utilise plyometric movements like high knees, mountain climbers, burpees and jump squats and pump up their intensity to the maximum, consequently shortening the length of the exercise considerably. This will result in an afterburn effect and more effective weight loss

So to next time you find you are doing tons of cardio and not losing a single pound of weight just remember  exercise is not the solution to weight loss. It is rather a tool that must be used correctly in conjunction with proper diet to create a caloric deficit. A caloric deficit will result in weight loss.

Exercises that produce an ‘afterburn effect’ are much better than conventional exercise at weight loss. Always mix up cardio with resistance training and 30 minutes of hard cardio 3 times a week is more than sufficient to keep you healthy as long as you keep your cardio sessions short and hard and maintain a caloric deficit. Finally, once you are done exercising, go about the rest of the day like you normally would.

If you did all these, the Kilograms will drop off your body in no time at all.

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