by Christina Perinhas …

Most people who want to get a hard, fast fat-burning workout that brings quick results are usually thinking cardio, cardio, and more cardio. Sure, running on the treadmill, taking a spin class, and other calorie burning classes definitely have benefits: you’re shedding those calories steadily, getting rid of fat, preventing heart disease and high blood pressure, avoiding type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, even helping to prevent stroke and certain types of cancer.

However, resistance training just twice a week can help prevent another kind of fat–intra-abdominal fat, the kind that wraps around organs and constricts blood vessels. Resistance training also gives your metabolism a spike after a workout, because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover. Building up your lean muscle tissue, rather than solely shedding your fat by doing cardio, actually helps your body burn more calories in the long run. On average, you burn an extra 120 calories per day for every 3 pounds of muscle you gain.

Strength training will also help keep you off the sidelines, helping to prevent injuries before they happen. The repetitive nature of cardio puts serious pressure on your joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons and even the cartilage between. If there is a weak link somewhere in your body, the chances of becoming injured from that cardio workout routine increases. Functional strength training teaches your brain to allow muscle contractions that are quick enough to prevent or minimize injuries; you’re also strengthening key muscles that protect your spine and joints. Strength training has tremendous benefits, including making your cardio better–so don’t skip that resistance training during the week!