Weights or Cardio for You?

Weights or Cardio for You?

If you’re looking to lose weight, you might be wondering: Should I focus on doing cardio or should I train weight? Lets dig into it.

The important factor when it comes to boosting your metabolism and losing weight is recovering properly between workouts. This is why having a system is so important. Intense anaerobic training is stressful for your body. You need this stress to change your hormone balance, but if you over-stress yourself, it will lead to more problems.

Depending on their body type, people who easily put on muscle and people who easily put on both muscle and fat often find that they stay the same weight, or even gain weight, despite their shape improving. They gain muscle bulk, which explains why the scales haven’t shown a loss. Remember, the key to weight loss is to change your metabolism. While it’s easier to alter your metabolism through weight training than cardio, both will do it if the workouts are well designed.

It depends what you mean by “lose weight.” If you are in an epic battle with your scale, cardio is the way to go. If you want to look steamy under those fall sweaters, though, it’s time to cozy up to strength training. Cardio indisputably burns more calories than strength training, which could explain why compared to strength trainers, aerobic exercisers lose more weight in less time.

In one study, dieters lost 20 pounds whether they performed cardio or strength training. But for the cardio group, six of those pounds came from muscle, while the lifters lost almost pure fat.

Ask yourself what is the Goal

Your primary goal will give you a general starting point for figuring out exactly how to balance your training, as well as what type of cardio and weight training you should be doing. In addition to your primary goal, you will also need to take into account two other major factors:

  • Your Body Type – Are you naturally slim? Do you gain muscle easily? Do you tend to hold onto fat readily?
  • The Type Of Cardio Training You’re Doing – Is it high-intensity or low-intensity? Does it fatigue you for weights? Does your weight training fatigue you for your cardio?

Weights and Cardio Myths

We should debunk some popular Weights and Cardio Myths.

Weight Training Will Make You Bulky - During the initial stages of any kind of intense training, especially one you’re not used to, your body releases excess amounts of the hormone cortisol, which causes your body to retain water. Some people think this means they are bulking up when, in reality, it’s just the body adapting to the training. 

Cardio Doesn’t Build Muscle - Cardio is a term for any training that elevates your heart rate for the entire workout. Adding muscle increases your metabolism and that’s what helps you lose weight. Cardio does build muscles.

Training To Gain Muscle vs. Training To Lost Fat

If you’re training to lose fat, you’re going to need to do more cardio than someone who is training to gain muscle. A good starting point is three times per week, 20 to 30 minutes per session. Depending on the other factors we’re going to discuss, you may need more or less than this. Weight training three times per week should be sufficient to maintain and even build muscle mass.

With fat loss, your primary goal should be burning calories while sparing as much muscle as possible. Since you’re most likely eating fewer calories, your body is not going to be eager to add muscle, therefore it’s best to focus on keeping what you’ve got. If you’re training to gain muscle, you will need to do less cardio training. Too much cardio can actually hamper your muscle gain by slowing recovery and burning up calories that your body needs for the process of building muscle.

Summing it up

Whether your exercise routine is focused on cardio or weight training has very little to do with whether you’ll lose weight. The best training programs have elements of both aerobic and anaerobic training. For a well-rounded, fat-busting workout routine, your best bet is to swap the treadmill for resistance training. Strength training moves like dead lifts, squats, pull-ups, push-ups, and lunges should form the basis of your workout. If you hit the gym three times a week, focus on total-body strength training your first two days and cardio on the third.

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