Toning muscles, losing weight, increasing energy and bulking up are common fitness goals. A debate for decades has people questioning, “What should I do? Cardio or strength training?” Although both components have benefits of their own, it is essential to incorporate both whether you are a beginner to exercising or an experienced athlete.
The body is comprised of lean body mass and adipose tissue, commonly known as “fat”. Lean body mass consists of the muscles, organs and bones within the body. One pound of body fat consists of 3,500 calories. Most people have a false impression that weight loss is only fat loss. However, the goal is to increase lean body mass which reduces fat. Drastically cutting calories or excessive working out is dangerous and can cause burnout. Healthy food choices, sensible portions and incorporating moderate to vigorous cardio and strength training sessions will facilitate fitness goals.
Cardiovascular fitness refers to the health of the lungs, heart and the circulatory system. Sustaining the heart rate for a prolonged period of time builds cardio endurance. During a cardio session, high calories are burned which decreases body fat storage and cholesterol. A 150 pound individual who jogs at 6.0 mph burns approximately 12 calories per minute.
Cardiovascular activities that keep the heart rate “up” include biking, hiking, swimming or running. “Runners high” was not invented for nothing. Cardio can squash stress and anxiety and improve energy and mood. Cardio also builds a strong heart which can add years to a person’s life. Weight loss or weight maintenance requires sixty to ninety minutes of cardio three to five days per week without exceeding the caloric intake. If this sounds too extreme, aim to get about 300 minutes of physical fitness per week (includes strength and cardio activity).
Strength training is needed to increase muscle fiber size and bone strength and enhance our body’s physique and metabolism. Women also have a misconception that their muscles will get “bulky”. Trust me women, you need strength training and you will not get bulky. For example, a 114 pound person who contains 27 pounds of body fat weight trains and adds four pounds of muscle. She will still weigh 114 pounds but with only 23 pounds of body fat. The initial weight remains the same, but physical appearance is leaner with more muscle tone.
An increase in muscle tissue will increase the metabolism. This is the same when there is a decrease in muscle tissue the metabolism decreases. With muscles being responsible for our calorie use, when non-training individuals age the body and muscles requires less energy and stores unnecessary calories as fat. Therefore, strength training sustains the metabolism as people age. In a workout session, cardio burns more calories than strength training; however, the resting metabolic rate is higher after strength training than cardio. Research has shown that for every three pounds of muscle gained; over 100 extra calories per day are burned.
Beyond knocking out fat, strength training also builds sturdy muscles and joints which reduces the risk of injury as a person ages and aids in achieving cardio goals such as 5ks, marathons or triathlons.
Combining these two components of exercise can blast calories, spike the metabolism and find the pant size that suits your body best.
Looking for a workout facility near you? Facilities range from various sizes and features, it best to Google Map keywords of what you are looking for in your specific driving radius. Many online gym searches do not contain information for smaller towns or cities. Therefore, if you are looking for a “Yoga”, Google Maps does a good job of selecting studios or gyms that offer that service based on network, keyword searches.