Ditch the Cardio, Lift Heavy Things! - Sonia Jhas
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Ditch the Cardio, Lift Heavy Things!

Do you want the fastest route to results? Are you limited by the time you can dedicate at the gym? Do you want to invest in feeling strong, vibrant and supercharged (rather than depleted, exhausted, and all-round-shitty)? Well, today I’m going to be your tough-love coach. That’s right, this isn’t going to be a post about self-love (despite being 100% pro self-love, obvs). Instead, I’m going to get “real” about hard work and changing your physical makeup to get the results you so badly want!


Let’s start with this one black-and-white factThe more muscle you have = the faster your metabolism = the faster you burn caloriesYes. It’s a FACT. Sometimes I laugh at how complicated we make this whole bod-thing, when really, in some ways, it’s very simple and straightforward. If I have one fitness tip, if you do only one thing, if you’re looking for the most direct route to results, it’s this: Lift Heavy!


How many of you have said to yourself, “I’m going to shed the fast first with cardio, then build the muscle later with weights”? Ummm.. there’s no polite way to say this, so I’m just going to say it: You’re totally freakin’ wrong! In this post, I’m going to reveal a few game-changing truths on the subject of lifting heavy.


TRUTH #1: You cannot convert fat to muscle. Fat is fat. Muscle is muscle. You can’t convert one to the other.


TRUTH #2: Steady-state cardio is not better than resistance training for fat loss. Heck, in most cases it’s less effective than ANY kind of resistance training, even light resistance bands. (And I love my resistance bands!)


TRUTH #3: Although any kind of heavy lifting produces great results, the biggest bang for your buck is through compound movements. What are compound movements? Exercises that utilize multiple joints at a time – deadlifts, squats, chest press, pull ups, rows, etc. like my sequence below. The majority of your workout should be made up of these sorts of movements because they recruit the largest amount of muscle tissue, which in turn burns the most amount of calories, which in turn burns the most amount of fat over time! Yay! Seriously, even if you only have 15 – 20 minutes, spend your time doing heavy compound movements and you’ll be pretty amazed by the results you’re able to achieve.



TRUTH #4: Machines AREN’T better than free weights.

Most machines limit natural movement and recruit less muscle tissue than free weights. Aside from cable machines, most gym machines actually do a lot of stabilization work for you, thereby reducing the stimulus to your muscles. Net, net? You’re not working as hard as you should be. Unless you are limited due to an injury where your health care provider has suggested you use a machine, opt to do compound exercises with free weights.


TRUTH #5: You should be putting in enough effort to feel exhausted.

Don’t get me wrong, I want you to enjoy working out, not hate it. And I certainly don’t want you to push yourself to the point of injury. Having said that….

  • You should not be lifting weights that feel easy – push yourself hard so long as you can maintain good form and technique!
  • You should not be taking long breaks between sets – keep your rest periods short, like 30 – 60 seconds between sets
  • You should feel totally SPENT after your workout.


So… what I’m really saying is this: Ditch your elliptical session where you casually flip through a magazine the whole time. You’re wasting your time.


Bottom line: If you want to become strong, see your body change and still be able to eat while dropping fat, then heavy lifting should be your major priority! It will increase your metabolism, shape your body, reduce insulin sensitivity, and burn more total calories over time. Who’s in?