When planning a fat loss routine, most people realize the importance of cardiovascular training, and often include running as a staple exercise. Running can certainly help to boost fat loss, but weight training, specifically full-body workouts can be just as beneficial too. Both full-body workouts and running should be included as part of your training plan if you want maximum results.
Calories are the main factor in your fat loss results. To lose fat you must burn more calories than you consume. According to Harvard Medical School, 30 minutes of vigorous weightlifting burns between 180 and 266 calories depending on your weight. In comparison, 30 minutes of running at five miles per hour burns between 240 and 355 calories, while running at seven and a half miles an hour burns from 375 to 555 calories.
While you may burn more calories running for half an hour than lifting weights, weight training has a bigger impact on your metabolism. Your metabolic rate is the speed at which your body burns calories, and the higher it is, the quicker you lose fat. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training revs your metabolism and increases weight loss. Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico notes that high-intensity weight training places more stress on your muscles and nervous system, and takes more energy to recover from than steady state cardio work, leading to an increase in metabolic rate.
When it comes to burning fat, the more muscles you can work at once, and the harder you train them, the quicker your results. Running is a primarily lower body activity, and doesn't result in much muscle growth or strength increases. Weight training, however, targets all your muscle groups. A full-body workout is superior to a bodybuilding-type split that focuses on individual muscle groups, says Chad Waterbury, author of "Huge in a Hurry," as the metabolism boost is far higher.
Use both full-body workouts and running to get the best results. Train with weights twice per week. Waterbury advises choosing multi-joint free-weight exercises such as chinups, dips and deadlifts, each performed for 10 reps, resting only 15 seconds between exercises. Add in two runs per week as well. One of these should be a longer duration steady state run of around 30 to 45 minutes, and the other an interval run, where you alternate short bursts of high-speed running with longer periods of moderate intensity jogging.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.