When you walk into a big box gym, 90% of the time the cardio equipment and the machines are full. As a trainer, I will never understand this but in my head, I know people go there for two reasons:
1. They think that will help them lose weight
2. They don’t know what to do
Yes, there are people who truly enjoy cardio and if that is you, more power to you. For the rest of you, I am here to let you know there is a better way!
Unless you have hours to spend at the gym (which let’s face it, most people don’t) you can get a much more efficient workout, in a shorter amount of time, and reap even more benefits without cardio, yes I said it!
So why is too much cardio a waste of time?
Let me be clear that cardio is good for heart health but if you want to lose fat or add muscle, this is 150% not the way to do it. You are basically just burning calories and most likely losing muscle….hello skinny fat!!! Your body is moving in the same plane continuously and not being challenged and therefore you will never see results.
I am a firm believer that something is better than nothing but my professional opinion is that the majority of people would get much better results if they steered away from cardio.
Now on to why you shouldn’t use seated machines…
Here are 3 reasons:
- Limited range of motion
- Only working one muscle at a time
- Zero core engagement
Range of motion: You always want to get FULL range of motion during movements in order to get the best results and to avoid injury.
Working one muscle at a time: If you are a bodybuilder you can work one muscle at a time, but if not, you are doing yourself a total disservice. This is more time consuming and less efficient than working multiple groups at a time.
Core engagement: I hear all the time “I need to work my core” my response every time “everyone needs to work their core.” Your core is the base for everything you do..in and out of the gym. It is essential to include core work into your routine and it also helps to alleviate and help prevent back pain.
So what should you be doing?
Strength training… if it’s not already, it should be your best friend!
Choose movements that include either dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells. You not only work multiple muscle groups at one time, you are simultaneously building core strength & stability. You basically get more bang for your buck.
Also, when strength training, your body has to work to repair the muscles 24 or even 48 hours AFTER your workout which boosts your metabolism. Can I get a “hell ya?” So not only are you burning calories during your workout, you are still burning afterwards.
If you are going to take time to put work in the gym, make it worth your while. You deserve to look and feel great and I promise you, strength training will get you there <3