Your face is dripping. Your fight-or-flight response has kicked in. Here’s how your body benefits when you push it to the limit. Oxygen is the ingredient muscles need to convert carbs and fat into fuel for muscles. The harder you go, the more oxygen it takes to remove carbon dioxide, a waste product made by muscles. To get more air, you start breathing faster, going from 12 to 15 breaths a minute at rest to up to 35 to 45 at max effort levels. Tell yourself it’s all good because the harder you go at it, the faster you’ll burn off calories.
No disrespect to cardio, but if you want to blast fat, get in shape, and rock everything that comes your way—both in and out of the gym—strength training is where it’s at. Here’s why. Forget that “fat-burning” zone on the treadmill, strength training is better at helping people lose belly fat compared with cardio. While aerobic exercise burns both fat and muscle, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat. Your bones also become stronger and more dense. Stronger muscles mean better performance—period.
A quick stretch before you sweat has its benefits throughout your workout—it primes cold muscles for the exercises ahead, increases your range of motion and flexibility during the workout, and aids in the recovery process well after you’re done huffing and puffing. Skip those stretches and you not only put yourself at risk for tearing a stiff muscle, but you won’t see the results you should. We’re not just talking about cardio, either—this goes for all your grueling workouts across the board.