For years, weight training was like Rodney Dangerfield - it didn't get any respect. Weight lifters were viewed as weirdos or freaks. Athletes were encouraged NOT to lift weights. Even a few short decades ago, it was thought that weight training made you muscle bound, slowed you down and raised your blood pressure. At one time, even the medical establishment suggested avoiding weight training in favor of aerobic exercise.
Today, all world-class athletes do serious weight training. Every pro sports team has a strength and conditioning coach, and meticulously structured training programs have increased athletic performance to levels previously undreamed of. Physicians now recommend weight training for cardiovascular health, improved bone density and other health benefits. In 1990, the American College of Sports Medicine released a new position statement stating that weight training decreased cardiovascular risk factors and was actually good for your health all along. The bodybuilders had received their vindication!
It was great news for the bodybuilders when the scientific, medical and athletic communities began to support strength training, except for one thing. Many self-proclaimed strength training "gurus" are now taking the other extreme, suggesting that weight training is the best exercise for fat loss and aerobics is some kind of evil muscle-devouring monster. Let me clear this up for the record - weight training is an important part of a fat burning program, but weight training is not "the best" fat burning exercise. The best way to burn fat is the combination of cardio, weights and nutrition, all directed towards the achievement of a specific, written goal.
The increase in resting metabolism that comes from weight training is not enough to get maximum fat loss for most body types. It's important to realize that the primary fat burning effect of weight training comes after the workout from the increase in BMR and from the increase in post-exercise metabolic rate. During weight training workouts, you are burning primarily sugar. The increase in post-exercise metabolism from cardio, on the other hand, is relatively small (with the exception of very high intensity cardio). Cardio provides the majority of the fat burning benefits during the workout, because aerobic exercise uses oxygen and is therefore fat-burning in nature. That's why immediately after every 30 minute cardio workout you could accurately say, "I am now leaner than I was a half an hour ago."
All calories burned will have an impact on fat loss because overall calorie balance is what really matters in the long run. However, it's my contention that sustained fat burning, oxygen-utilizing aerobic exercise is critical for fat loss - especially in endomorph body types. If you're the type of person with stubborn body fat, weight training alone is never going cut it.
BFFM is, by definition, a weight training, nutrition and aerobic exercise program. If you're not doing all three, and you don't have written goals, you're not following the program.
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