You've seen these folks at the gym. They're the ones strapped to treadmills and ellipticals, trying to sweat off pounds through cardio. The problem? "The metabolic cost of cardio adaptation is very small," according to Dan Trink, strength coach and nutritional consultant at TrinkFitness.com. Performing the same cardio routine over and over again won't necessarily make your body better at burning fat; it will simply make you more efficient at moving your body across the specified distance. Over time, that improved efficiency means your body will expend less energy during the activity. You'll have to run more to get the same results.
Overcome It: Building muscle through strength training puts greater demands on your body, because a person with more muscle has a higher metabolic rate. Trink says, "Simply put, improving your cardio abilities doesn't cost your body much—it's cheap." But when you hit the weights, "your body needs more energy to build muscle, which is great for fat loss, and will do more to make sure you keep that muscle."
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