If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand running on a monotonous treadmill or elliptical for more than a few minutes at a time…it’s just so boring! Well fellow treadmill haters there’s good news for you and I because a recent study published n the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that games such as recreational soccer was far more effective at burning fat and building muscle that running.
The study took 36 healthy untrained men and split them up into 12 groups of three; a soccer group, running group and a control group. The training regimen was one hour long two to three times per week for twelve weeks.
At the end of the study the soccer group lost 50% more fat than the running group. The soccer group also gained more of an increase in lean body mass (3.75lbs), a greater decrease in cholesterol, and in increase in fat oxidation while running. The running group did not see any notable changes in the latter 3 categories.
This study shows that high intensity interval type of training is far more effective in every way than performing low intensity moderate cardiovascular training. The reason soccer is more effective is because it involves short bursts of high intensity running, kicking, and muscle manipulation. Performing short bursts of high intensity cardio burns more fat and dramatically increases oxygen uptake into your muscles resulting in more calories burned.
Soccer also builds more muscle increasing the body’s ability to burn more fat. Muscle fibers and vascularity also increase because soccer involves many more muscle groups than running and it also hits the muscles from several different angles unlike running, which is the same repetitive motion over and over.
Also, when you look at the physiques of the best soccer players compared to long distance runners the soccer players are far more muscular than the runners. I don’t know about you but I’m not really interested in being built like a long distance runner with noodle arms and legs. I like looking strong and athletic -and I’m pretty sure you do too.
So skip the boring treadmill workouts and boring jogs and get your friends and family together for a game of soccer. Keep it up, and you’ll be able to watch the fat melt off and the muscles pile on. Goaaalll!