Why Cardio Is Just Not Enough

Skinny fat! What is that exactly? This is when someone is thin, but still lacks the definition that comes with building muscle. If you think of a runway model mostly that is just skinny, but it could be labeled skinny fat too. Skinny fat happens when cardio is the only form of exercise that is done. This is when the fat is covering up the muscle so all the hard work and effort is not really seen. Think about it like this. You have an apple and you put a paper towel around it. Do you think you would be able to see the apple through the paper towel? Of course you would. The paper towel represents your fat that is covering your muscle. A paper towel is thin so you can see through it. Now lets take a dish towel and wrap it around the apple. Can you see the apple now? Most likely you can’t because the dish towel is thicker than the paper towel.


If you have fat covering your muscles you are never going to see them. For a man to have muscle showing on his stomach or a six pack he needs to get down to about 10 percent body fat.  A women is more like 18 percent. I am not exact on these figures so please do not hold them against me.  I have mostly witnessed skinny fat on women, but men can have this problem as well. The reason this is mostly seen in women is because many women have the misconception that lifting weights is going to make them bulky and big. Back when I was training I would have female client after female client tell me she did not want to get bulky from lifting weights. After banging my head against the wall a few times I would explain the simple concept that even after going over why this is not really a possibility, it would still come up during our workouts.

So why should this not be a concern of women. The main reason is women and men are built differently. Women produce estrogen and men testosterone. It is the testosterone that allows men to get big muscles. Women do not have the testosterone so they won’t get big and bulky. If you really wanted to get bulky as a female you would have to lift way more than you are lifting now. The women you see that are really big are mostly likely taking hormones or steroids to get that way.  Gaining large muscles is hard enough for many men to do as it is.

I never trained my female clients any differently than my male clients. The reason is building muscle is the best way to burn fat and it is denser than fat. That means it takes up less space than fat and you will have a leaner more shapely body if you put some muscle on it.  Just take a look at fitness models. Many fitness models look lean and healthy. They did not get this way by lifting two pounds. Instead they go through workouts that are hardcore involving, endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power. Now take a look at a women who only does cardio. They going to look more thin because they do not have the muscle tone and this is not as desirable a look, well at least in my opinion for whatever that is worth.

Another problem with just doing cardio is once you are done doing it no more calories are being burned. The only calories burned are the time you are doing cardio after that nothing. Weight weight training you can be burning calories for up to 48 hours after your workout. Can you see how this can benefit you if you are trying to lose weight? If you goal is to look like a runway model with very little muscle and just skin and bones then continue to just do cardio and eat like a bird. If you prefer to have a lean healthy look that is attractive then add resistance training to your routine.
If you need assistance planning a program or getting started please don’t hesitate to ask me a question. Also feel free to check out my free online gym. This allows you to track your workouts and be part of a community of other people that are going through the same struggles as you. You are much more likely to succeed if you do it as a group than if you do it alone.
There are many ways to get fit and healthy. Pick something you enjoy doing and do it. Change your routine up so you don’t get bored and your results continue.

Paul Farmer CES, PES, CPT









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