Probably the most frequently asked question we get asked at the gym, and a good one at that! What is the fastest way to get in shape? Now, not to be the bearer of bad news, but there really isn’t an overnight way to get in shape. It does take time, for some more than others. But nonetheless, there are ways to accelerate the process!
Is cardio the answer?
Traditional cardio is an amazing form of exercise, let’s get that straight! There are millions of benefits that put cardio in the top spot when starting a fitness journey. It lowers blood pressure and strengthens your heart, boosts your mood and helps you sleep better, but… It’s not the only way to do it!
Compound exercises or Multi-joint exercises, are exercises that involve the activation of more than just one muscle group to complete a movement.
Some examples of compound exercises are: squats, deadlifts, pushups and pull-ups. These are very basic examples, but the possibilities are almost endless here. Other variations can include – Jump rope, squat jumps, kettlebell swings, battle ropes, thrusters and renegade rows just to name a few.
Obviously not all compound exercises will impact your physical performance the same way – some will be more taxing on your muscle, making you much stronger. While others will target your cardiovascular system more, resulting in increased “fitness”.
Why will compound exercises make me get in shape faster than cardio alone would not?
There are 3 main reasons why compound exercises are in some respects better than standard cardio training.
- These types of exercises help you develop an attractive and evenly developed figure. When doing compound movements, your muscles all work together which naturally forces your body to develop proportionately.
- You burn a lot of calories while doing them. This is because you are activating a lot of muscles simultaneously. Even the smallest muscle that aids the execution of the exercise in some way, is activated. That ultimately burns more calories than an exercise that isolates a single muscle group.
- You build full body strength. Compound exercises help you build a strong foundation. This will aid in your performance of more demanding exercises. It will also help you complete workouts with a higher intensity which ultimately leads to greater fat loss and muscle development.
Studies have even shown that compound resistance exercise not only burns energy while you’re working out, but can burn calories up to 38 hours following a weight training session.
Just to be clear, in no way are we implying that cardio exercises are worse, all we are saying is that there are other alternatives that can be used to achieve your goals. Cardio is not the only tool in your fitness toolbox. As a matter of fact. If you combine compound exercises with cardio exercises like – cycling, boxing, sprints or swimming – you will reap even greater benefits.
Remember, doing exercise without proper knowledge or guidance may increase the risk of injuring yourself. We suggest you start with a professional if you are new to exercise. This will allow you to get the basics down and build a solid foundation upon which you can further improve. Following a well designed workout program will significantly improve your fat loss efforts.