Q. Besides the obvious, what are the main differences between cardio training and weight training? And is one always a better choice than the other if you’re short on time?
A. A weight training session is a form of strength training that involves resistance. This stresses the muscles, which causes them to adapt and become stronger. Cardio training is any tough of activity that elevates your heart rate for an extended amount of time. The benefits of this exercise are greater stamina, improved fitness and high calorie burn.
So which is better? It’s tough to answer that without a clear understanding of someone’s personal health and fitness goals. If you’re trying to shift the numbers on your scale, a cardio workout will burn more calories than strength training. But if you’re looking to improve your health overall, you can’t ignore your muscles. Strength training is the best way to build muscle, and for every three pounds of muscle gained, you’ll burn an extra 120 calories a day – without doing a thing.
Regular cardio sessions – jogging, hitting the elliptical or rowing machines, biking, playing sports or swimming, for example – are great for your heart and lungs. But the repeated impact of some of these movements can actually create muscle imbalances over time, leading to join problems. Ideally, your cardio workouts should supplement a consistent strength training regime. As a general rule, shoot for three to four lifting days and two to three cardio days a week.
If you’re really pressed for time and you have to pick one or the other, hit the weights. If you perform an intense circuit – moving from one exercise to the next with challenging weights and minimal rest between sets – you’ll enjoy what’s known as EPOC, or “excess post exercise oxygen consumption.” This is the after burn that keeps your body in an elevated metabolic state long after you finish lifting.
A customized plan tailored to your ability and your goals is as easy as a free consultation with one of our trainers. Let us share our expertise and experience, and learn more about whether working with a personal trainer is the right move for you in 2016.