Salads and Cardio Not the Way to Get Lean, Personal Trainer Says


If you’re looking to lose fat and get in shape, you might be thinking you need to spend every evening pounding the pavements, slogging away on the cross-trainer or trying to survive a spin class. And then go home to eat lettuce with a side of broccoli.

But this could not be further from the truth, as one personal trainer and fitness expert has explained.

According to Australian certified PT and performance nutrition coach Camilla Akerberg, doing lots of cardio and mainly subsisting on leafy greens will leave you looking “skinny fat” rather than the lean, toned physique most of us desire.

“To lose weight and tone up you do not have to do intense cardio five times per week to get results,” Akerberg told the Daily Mail.

“If you don’t already have a good muscle volume - this method can leave you looking skinny-fat rather than the desired toned and fit look.”

- So what should you be doing instead?

Akerberg recommends incorporating weight training in your workout regime to help build lean muscle mass and also burn the layer of fat covering your muscles.

She advises using heavy weights and doing each movement for eight to 12 reps to ensure your muscles are under enough stress to reap the benefits of hypertrophy (the increase in size of the muscle due to the enlargement of the cells).

When your body has more muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate will be lifted meaning you’ll burn more calories all day long.

What’s more, you may be surprised to find yourself sweaty and out of breath when doing weights-based exercises too, so you’ll be improving your cardiovascular fitness without even trying.

If you have a lot of fat to lose, Akerberg says a combination of weight-training and cardio is the best way to go - she recommends HIIT (high intensity interval training) as the most efficient form of cardio.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is of course essential if you want to see results - but this doesn’t mean simply endless bowls of greens. You need to make sure you’re eating lean proteins, healthy fats, carbs, fibrous vegetables and fresh fruits.

And don’t be too strict with your diet, as that just isn’t sustainable and will likely lead to bingeing and giving up.

At the end of the day, if you’re trying to burn fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, but this should not be too extreme.

“A small salad a day and an overdose of cardio seems to be a common perception of what you need to do to see weight loss results,” Akerberg said. “Getting leaner, or maintaining a toned physique is NOT about not eating.

“It’s about eating the right nutrition in the right amounts that suits your body and your goal. Food is not the enemy, but the key to a healthy body, a fast metabolism and the ability to get results.”

Focus on eating unprocessed foods and try to cut down on alcohol, but let yourself have a little of what you fancy from time to time.