The debate has raged for years – which form of exercise is better – weights or cardio? Weights can sound scary, I personally prefer to call it strength training – because you actually want to get stronger – weights are just one form of strength training, like running is one form of cardio. There is a lot of misconception out there about strength training – especially with regards to females “bulking up” so they need to do more cardio. Well right off the bat that is BS.
Cardio – short for cardiovascular training – is about elevating you heart rate, and improving the function of heart and lungs. Cardio usually revolves around a repetitive activity such as running, cycling, x-trainer and can be done for a set period of time – usually 20 minutes plus. During cardio training our bodies utilise oxygen as the primary source of energy, when oxygen is no longer sufficient the body then breaks down muscle proteins, then fat to use as fuel.
Strength training – is predominantly anaerobic training, it uses the ATP-PC system (Adenosine triphosphate – creatine phosphate) as well as muscle glycogen and the activities (sets) last between 10 seconds (ATP-PC) to 2 minutes (glycogen). Strength training increases lean muscle mass (muscle tone), which increases your metabolic rate (the rate @ which your body burns energy) therefore you burn more calories every minute of every day – meaning you achieve your goals sooner.
Most people who want to lose weight decide that cardio training is going to be the best method of losing weight, but that isn’t really correct – cardio is also a catabolic stressor which means it breaks down muscle tissue and stores fat. This is not what most people want when their training. Strength training on the other hand is anabolic which means builds muscle; strength training actually causes little tears in the muscle fibres which are then repaired by proteins while we sleep making them stronger.
So for mine Strength training is better. But in saying all that a well designed strength training routine is paramount, everyone’s has different goals and different needs and these must be addressed when designing a routine. If weight and fat loss is a goal then nutrition will also plays a major role.
Cardio training does have its place but it is not as important or as effective as it is made out to be. The key to training full stop is to continually change what you do – cardio doesn’t have to be slow long jogs – try intervals, sprints or some of these workouts.