Friday, October 02, 2009

Weightlifting vs Cardio Which is better?

This is the age-old question! Those who love to lift say it is the best … while others who love cardio, think that the only way to lose the fat is to move as fast as you can for as long as you can. Personally I think both are equally important.

First let me address some misconceptions;

~To lose weight then only do cardio. Yes, cardio is a great way to lose but if you want to lose at a faster rate, then add weight training to your regime. Using weights cause your muscles to tear and create new muscle fibers. The muscles are the engines, which burn calories for fuel, while you are doing most anything that requires energy. Cardio, walking, cleaning, gardening, etc …
So the larger the engine, the more fuel it will need. That is probably why men seem to be able to lose fat quicker than most women… So remember, sustained cardio will help you lose weight, but you will lose at a quicker rate if your muscles have increased in their muscle fibers through a weightlifting program.

Which brings me to misconception number two;

~Women’s muscles will bulk up while on a weightlifting program. Muscle size depends on the amount testosterone one’s body secretes. Women have lower levels of testosterone than men, so that means that they should not have large muscles. Personally my muscles are probably denser then most women’s. I need lots of exercises to lengthen the muscle fibers. Stretching and Pilates are two types of exercise that help me personally in that area. If you find that this is a concern of yours then you may want to add more stretching to your fitness routine.

Cardiovascular exercise will help you burn calories but only while you are in the mists of participating in the activity. Weightlifting will burn calories long after the work since the muscles are repairing the torn fibers. Combined, the body is most efficient in using the maximum amount of calories.

If weight loss is the main concern then you would want to increase your cardio sessions, adding weightlifting as a separate session but also as part of the cardio sessions. Remember muscles need 24 hours to repair and ready to train the specific group again, so if you are going to lift everyday make sure you alternate the muscle groups from exercise session to session.

If you are toning and strengthening your muscles then you would want to increase your weightlifting sessions and the amount of weight used. Again remember to rest the muscles 24 hours between sessions for a complete recovery. And always, to get the full benefits of weightlifting, the exerciser must use proper form or they can cause harm to the muscles and joints.