If your goal is to try to lose weight, you might want to consider doing cardiovascular exercises as opposed to weight training. Cardio training is important for burning fat and losing weight, whereas weight training helps to tone and maintain muscle mass. Cardio work that increases the heart rate and breathing is more effective at burning fat than is adding muscle.
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A common mistake made by lots of cyclists who want to lose some weight is going out and riding at a low intensity in the so-called “fat burning zone”. Yes, at lower intensities, our bodies will draw predominately on fat reserves for fuel but, because the effort is so low, total calorie burn will be low also. It doesn’t matter what form, fat, carbs or protein, those calories take, if the balance is negative, you will lose weight. So, if you are looking to lose weight, forget about the fat burning zone.
A lateral trainer is similar to an elliptical machine, but you move your legs side to side instead of forward and back. Since cardio machines commonly promote a forward-and-backward motion, shaking up your workout with a sideways motion amps up intensity, so you end up torching extra calories. Plus, you’ll likely target and strengthen muscles in a new way: “Lateral movement, such as what you get with lateral trainers, can really ‘wake up’ the glutes,” says Kups. (Psst: You’d be surprised at what actually counts as cardio.)
Yes, you lose weight when you cut calories, but pounds lost aren’t always fat. Some of your weight loss may also come from muscle tissue. Cyclists that diet often end up thinner, but risk becoming slower and weaker on the bike. As pioneering diet expert Covert Bailey once wrote, “When someone says that they lost 20 pounds, the key question is: 20 pounds of what?” Some dieters can end up having a higher percentage of body fat even as they lose weight. And don’t forget that muscle burns calories. The more muscle volume you have, the more calories your body can burn—even when you’re just lying on the couch.