WEIGHTS OR CARDIO?

“Weights or cardio?” For most people who are training without a sport or event specific target in mind, i.e. someone who is training only to look good, and get generally fitter, stronger and healthier, there is only one answer for me: weights. One thing I will say, is that balance is very important. Sticking to weights or cardio exclusively won’t get you the best results. However, if you were to stick with only one, weights would be your best option. When you train, make the majority of your session weights based. Then try doing a related cardio ‘finisher’ at the END of your session. This way you’ll get the most out of your session and you’ll get the best of both worlds. So why should you do weights in order to lose fat and change your body shape, over doing the ‘holy trinity’ of what normal gym goers assume as best. The “I do 20mins on the treadmill, 20mins on the cross trainer and 20mins on the exercise bike” crowd are not people you should be taking health and fitness advice off. These people will never look any different to how they do now and they tend to be superb examples of the ‘all the gear but no idea’ stereotype. So, here are some reasons why you should prioritise weight training in your exercise regime: 1. It’s essential for fat loss. When you weight train, you’ll build lean muscle tissue. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate is, therefore you’ll burn more calories across the day. This equates to more efficient fat loss. 2. It’s fun. There is an incredible amount of variations for lifting weights, means you’re unlikely to get bored. Unlike slogging it out on a bike or treadmill for ages and not seeing any results. 3. It’s time efficient. If you do solely cardio, you’ll have to exercise for longer to get any benefits as your body adapts to the stress your putting it under. Weight training will take the same amount of time as when you first start out. As you improve you can simply make the weights heavier, adjust the tempo/intensity of your workouts or incorporate supersets in order to get a great workout in the same period of time. 4. You’ll get stronger and more athletic. Weight training can help adapt the body to daily stresses and strains of everyday life. Carrying the shopping, walking the dog or going up the stairs will never have felt so easy. Plus, because you’re building muscle, you’ll also look more athletic, fitter and stronger than someone who spends hours a week just doing cardio. 5. You’ll feel great. As you get stronger, the weights you lift get heavier and your body shape changes, your confidence will go through the roof. Results are addictive, and once you weight train properly for a period of time, you’ll see the results and will wonder why on earth you ever wasted your time going to cardio classes or beating yourself up about hating going the gym and running for an hour. 6. It helps prevent injury. This is a factor that people who only do cardio need to understand as it will undoubtedly help them with their favoured exercises. When you lift weights, you also strengthen the ligaments and tendons that keep your body moving well on a daily basis. Strengthening your tendons and ligaments will help you continue to operate in peak condition and protect your body from injuries. So there you go. It’s very frustrating as personal trainers, who have clients best interests at heart, when people who have literally no idea what they are taking about preach to you about how they are doing this class or this exercise and it turns out all they are doing is glorified circuit training. Doing a few star jumps and some skipping won’t get you the body you want. Remember that. Make the right choice. Be all you can be. Sean

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