Exercise 201: To Run or To Bench That is the Question

Young Woman Measuring WaistThere are some debates that go on for decades. Which came first, chicken or the egg? Taste great\less filling. And the one that has boggled the mind of experts for centuries all over the world…what is the best ratio of cardio to strength training to lose weight. The key to the answer lies in the answer. If you’re not doing it to lose weight but rather stay fit and maintain, I would argue any ratio you want will work. Your body needs both to work well.

The cardio is great to train your blood vessels to move blood through the system efficiently. Has our body’s age arteries can become weak and don’t contract as well to push blood through. The capillaries, connects arteries to veins, need to most “practice”. The cardiovascular system (arteries, veins, heart, lungs) get stronger and stay healthy through cardiovascular exercise. Walking is great for this reason. Our bones require load-baring exercises to remain strong. That’s why women are told to lift weights, it helps ward off osteoporosis. Also, building muscle burns more fat. Again, if you’re happy where you are any mix of cardio and strength is good in my opinion. If you want more definition and tone, lift more weights.

If you’re trying to lose weight there is a different mix. First, I’ve said it before, is what you put in your body. Nutrients and protein! If you’re putting the wrong foods in your body your mix doesn’t matter. One camp says cardio doesn’t help you lose weight another camp feels the exact opposite. I fall in the cardio doesn’t help you lose weight and neither does strength training. WHAT???? If you look at the trainers with the best client outcomes it is a combination of doing both simultaneously. Stressing your body in both ways helps your body burn more calories. I’m not a trainer, but there is evidence to support this and I’ve seen results with this myself. You really need to know your body. I did P90X once and built a ton of muscle and didn’t burn an once of fat. For my body P90X was too strength training intensive.

Have you heard of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts? Professional athletes do this type of workouts. The traditional method of working out is to go long periods at a high rate with short “breaks” at lower rates. HIIT is the opposite you go long periods at slow rates with repeated bursts of high energy activities. It actually has an after burn effect where you continue to burn calories at a high rate for several hours. Some add weights to this. I attend Barry’s Boot Camp it is an hour of up and down/fast and slow on the treadmill with weights in between. I’ve seen much better weight loss results with this method. There are several at-home DVD sets such as TurboFire that I’ve used. If you ask me nicely I may do a product review of it 😉 This and a combination of getting my hormone levels right I may be dropping my 20-30 extra pounds very soon!

The caveat is higher intensity workouts can lead to injury if you’re not careful. Seek the help of professional if you aren’t used to moving your body this way.

If you haven’t done so yet, check out HIIT. If you like to use a trainer investigate their style to see if they do the traditional cardio day and weight day. Don’t be afraid to do some rope work and tire-flipping.  That strategy has it’s place, but if you’ve been doing that and it’s not working TRY SOMETHING NEW!

I’m just keeping it new.

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