If you're searching how to get a slim waist right now, you're probably using a combination of dieting and cardiovascular fitness to help reach your weight loss goals. However, don't skimp on lifting weights: you don't have to go to the gym and start bench pressing barbells to gain the benefits of resistance training.
Resistance training can mean anything from incorporating the best adjustable dumbbells into your cardio routine (pick up a set in this year's Black Friday weights sale if you don't already own some) to mastering bodyweight moves like push ups and squats. Resistance training makes you fitter and stronger, conditioning your muscles to perform better under load. However, it's also got great weight loss applications.
One study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology (opens in new tab), sought to find out whether lifting weights, cardiovascular exercise or a mix of both was best for weight loss. Unsurprisingly, when looking at total body mass, fat mass, and lean body mass, it was found a combination of the two exercises are most effective.
Resistance training is essential in building up lean body mass, which will make you fitter overall. Meanwhile, cardiovascular exercise helps reduce fat mass and total body mass, working with the resistance training to change the ratio of muscle-to-fat in your body.
The American Council on Exercise (opens in new tab) also shows how resistance training can lead to exercise post-oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Your body works overtime after vigorous exercise, consuming oxygen and increasing your metabolism. This burns lots of calories even after you're finished working out.
The ACE says: "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is a physiological phenomenon that increases the net caloric expenditure after a workout. In simple terms, you continue to burn calories after you’re done exercising." In addition, this process primes your body for losing fat and gaining muscle more efficiently.
The downside is a combination of these exercises requires an increased time commitment. To gain the benefits of both resistance and cardiovascular training in the same timeframe as somebody only adhering to one of these disciplines, it will take a little bit longer.
However, you are on nobody's timeframe but your own, and any amount of exercise is much better than none. If you can only manage a couple of exercise sessions a week, you can do some running or walking to lose weight on one day, and a HIIT workout in front of the television on the other day. The best elliptical machines also act as a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training.
HIIT training with dumbbells allow you to get the best of both worlds, offering a time-efficient way to get both your resistance training and cardiovascular exercise at the same time.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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