I Crown You “Cardio Queen”
By Angel Stone
Are you a skinny-fat person? Do your size 2 thighs feel like pre-packaged cookie dough? Do your triceps continue flapping long after you’ve stopped waving goodbye even though you spend 45 minutes a day on the elliptical? If so, this is for you.
Before you start drafting the hate email, let me be clear: I don’t have a problem with skinny people. They make the best airplane companions. No, I’m after the skinny-FAT people, the little ones who can’t drop it like it’s hot without getting a leg cramp. Not only are they weak, they make horrible friends. Who’s gonna help carry your new loveseat up two flights of stairs? Who’s gonna save you in a stampede at the 9:30 Club?
Now that I have your attention, let me be serious for a moment.
Too many people are fanatical about cardio because of the notion that weight loss happens when aerobic activity increases. This is true, insofar as it goes. But what does that weight loss look like? People need to focus more on body composition (lean body mass vs. body fat) and less on body weight. If you have too much body fat, which is not reflected in the size of your jeans, you increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other depressing conditions. And believe it or not, a very thin person, who regularly engages in cardio, can still have high body fat.
Cardio does not increase lean body mass. In fact, when cardio is coupled with a restricted diet, 30%-40% of the weight loss is lean body mass. So you see, you will lose weight but almost half of it will be muscle tissue. This is what happens when you neglect strength training. To build your sexiest body, you need more than countless miles on the treadmill.
To increase lean body mass, you have to strength train. There’s no other way. Ditch the archaic idea that strength training is reserved for men and female bodybuilders. Muscles are sexy! And no, I’m not talking about the big, veiny kind. I’m talking about nice, cute muscles. Muscles that can both move furniture and the hearts of men. Mmmm…men.
Here are Angel Stone’s top 5 reasons why you should strength train:
1. Lose more weight. Because muscles burn calories more efficiently than fat does, strength training speeds up your metabolism. It helps you continue to burn calories long after you’ve stopped exercising. Therefore, the more muscles you have, the more fat you burn.
2. Strengthen bones. Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Did you know that you lose approximately 1% of bone mass each year and it can begin as early as the late twenties? The only way to slow this process is to engage in strength activities.
3. Reduce the chance of injury. The stronger your muscles are, the stronger the connective tissues around them will be. Strength training builds your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which leads to greater joint stability. Therefore, the likelihood that you will pull a muscle on the club dance floor is very slim.
4. Improve sport performance. If you don’t think Michael Phelps regularly hits the gym, then you are dumb. He does. And it makes him faster. Strengthening muscles that are specific to your sport will convert you into a fast, efficient force to be reckoned with.
5. Impress yourself. There’s something liberating about doing a real pull up (and having the entire gym as an audience). Being able to lift your own weight without effort makes you feel strong and proud. And it should: you’re reducing your body fat and your risk of heart disease. Now, that’s impressive.
There’s no chance you’re still reading this, so here are the real reasons you should strength train:
1. Tank tops and sleeveless shirts look better on brethren with toned arms.
2. You will have no problem pushing through crowds on Inauguration Day.
3. ‘Mom Jeans’ will never be in your future.
4. Uggs are less annoying when donned by girls with clearly defined quadriceps.