Cardio vs. Weights - What Should I Be Doing?

Ever wondered if your workout routine is actually accomplishing your goals? Are you really building strength? Is your endurance truly increasing? There are unique health and fitness benefits to both cardio and weight training, and when creating your ultimate workout plan your goals will determine how much lifting and cardio you do during a week. So what are the benefits of each?

Weight Training

Humans have 642 skeletal muscles, and weight training increases the size of your muscle fibers, making them larger and stronger. When you strength train, you’re essentially breaking down your muscle fibers and building them back stronger with increased glycogen.

It’s a common misconception that ONLY cardio equates to weight loss and fat-burn. While consistent weight training builds up your lean muscle mass, it also helps burn more calories. Studies have shown that after a weight training session, your metabolism stays boosted for several hours post-workout. If you’re aiming to lose fat, weight training should absolutely be included in your workout regimen because it will increase the calories you burn throughout the day.

Weight training also comes with the benefit of allowing you to focus on a particular body part or muscle group. Focusing on only cardio will definitely shed pounds, but you can also lose some muscle in the process. Weight training will also greatly improve your joint stability and make you less prone to injury.

Cardio Training

Cardio training is any form of exercise that elevates your heart rate consistently over a period of time. This can be anything like hiking, running on the treadmill, using the elliptical trainer or riding a bike.

Minute per minute, aerobic exercise does burn more calories per minute than weight training, but as soon as your heart rate goes back to resting, your workout will essentially be over. So where does cardio take the cake? Cardiovascular health and endurance. Your heart is a muscle, and to improve its strength, it needs to be worked just like all your other muscles. Remember that as you improve your cardiovascular health, the more endurance you’ll have for lifting or other physical activities.

The most effective type of cardio training for faster weight loss is HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. What is HIIT? HIIT is short bursts of intense moves (like sprinting), followed by longer periods of easy moves (like walking). HIIT is a quicker aerobic weight loss tool because it will keep your metabolism boosted after you’ve finished.

So, which one is better? The answer is… both. Both have their benefits to your overall health and fitness goals, and should be used together consistently for maximum results. You should craft a fitness regimen that is in line with your abilities and goals. No body is the same, and no workout plan will be exactly alike, either.

An Axiom personal trainer can put together a plan that balances weights and cardio to meet your specific goals. Remember, that the most important factor to any health and fitness goal is your diet. No matter what you do, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

Still have questions? Contact an Axiom Personal Trainer and set up a body composition assessment!

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