I admit, I’m not exactly up on current events, but I have a good reason.
Every time I open my browser I am immediately hit with news that makes me want to drop everything and build an underground cement bunker, and then run to Costco to fill it up with cans of beans, flashlights, and other non-perishables.
And some days that’s just from reading Facebook.
It’s particularly disturbing because I consider myself an optimist. I imagine all the pessimists are already underground, stockpiling toilet paper and painting pictures of flowers on their fake windows while they still remember the look of an un-scorched earth.
Problem is, it’s part of my job as a writer to know the latest and greatest developments in the fitness world. So I hold my breath, scrolling super slowly, inching my gaze down the page through squinted eyes, prepared to immediately leave the page if a disturbing headline rises above the bottom of my screen.
Sadly, that’s often enough to ruin my day. I don’t need details because my brain instantly creates the scene for me, and that’s never good.
But then, once in a great while a headline pops into view that I know I must not only read but pick apart and decide if it’s worthy to report to my loyal followers who rely on me to wade through the noise and speak the truth.
That happened this week.
Here’s the thing: Every fitness/weight loss/dietary headline sounds as if readers will read it and say to themselves, “Finally! Someone figured all this out and I will never have to read another fitness or weight loss article the rest of my life. Now I can go back to watching binge watching Stranger Things.”
But such is not the case.
Examples of headlines that promise to solve your most pressing problems (and some you didn’t know you had) include:
Okay, I may or may not have made these up.
But admit, it. You’d be hard pressed to scroll past these articles, even merely out of curiosity. What if eating red grapes cut back on your weekly underarm hair removal costs? You’d be totally in – who wouldn’t, right?
So when it comes to exercise headlines, I’m always more than a bit leary.
Case in point, an article that originally appeared on Health and was featured this week on the front page of Yahoo.
A new study by Duke University tracked approximately 120 overweight and sedentary volunteers for eight months. Some performed resistance exercise while others did cardio (aerobic) exercise or a combination of the two.
Who do you think lost the most weight?
The winner: cardio exercisers. The aerobic exercise group lost about four pounds, while those who did only strength training gained two. (Granted, muscle gain was behind the gain, but if you’re looking only at the numbers on the scale you won’t feel as if you’re making progress… more on this in a bit.)
Holey moley! Clearly this means you need to drop those weights and do only cardio if you want to lose weight, right?
No, no, and N-O.
As I expected, the study researchers gradually peel back the layers of the results, which reveals a truth that somehow got lost in all the excitement of this “new” discovery.
In other words: Let the back pedaling begin!
Okay, so the first conclusion you come to when reading this article is: In order to lose weight the fastest, you need to do cardio only. Anything else will not work as well.
Glad that’s settled. At this point you may have closed your computer and moved on to other, more important things, such as clipping the cat’s toenails.
But wait. There’s more.
One of the researchers quoted in the piece adds: “That’s not to say that you shouldn’t lift weights, especially as you get older and start losing muscle mass. Resistance training is important for maintaining lean body mass, strength and function, and being functionally fit is important for daily living no matter what your size.”
Say what? You mean we’re not done here?
Sorry. If only it were this easy.
So even though you burn the greatest number of calories per minute while doing cardio, you still need weight training for the aforementioned reasons.
Or, to put them in my own terms, you need resistance training if you want to achieve a fit, firm and ageless body.
Who knew? YOU did, if you’ve even read one, single blog post of mine, you smarty pants.
So your next conclusion (after you thought you had all this in the bag): You also need to work out with weights.
Alrighty. That leaves us with cardio and weight training.
Then yet another researcher hops on the bandwagon and reminds people that “exercise by itself won’t lead to big weight loss. What and how much you eat has far greater impact.”
Oh, so now we not only have to do cardio PLUS weights, but we also have to watch what we eat???
Stop the insanity!
In essence, what started out as a single, eureka! moment has now turned into something you knew before you even read this startling revelation of a news flash: You need cardio, resistance training and a clean diet to lose weight for the long haul.
Here’s the thing: There’s no One Solution to any of this, although it doesn’t stop us from hoping someone will someday come up with a weight loss cure worthy of a Shark Tank episode.
Until then, your best approach is to take a multifaceted one:
NOW YOU… How often do you do cardio and strength training weekly? Let me know in the comments section below — and please forward this to your friends on social media and via email! I would be forever grateful. ♥
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Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.