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Cardio vs Weights

Which is better for me?

Over the last 10 years the question of strength vs cardio is always top of a client’s question list, followed by... ok - so which one shall I do first?

Well it depends what you are after! It’s hard to run a marathon just doing a hypertrophy program (growing muscle mass), likewise running 50km a week is going to do nothing to get the biceps bulging….

The information out there seems to be always changing. So let’s look at both cardio and weights and see what the benefits are, then give you some advice on which to do first, and whether there should be such a divide, as in - do cardio and strength together!

Weights

Weight training is a particularly effective form of training for weight loss. It tones your muscles which looks great, and doubles the effect by raising your basal metabolism. With the right program you will build muscle mass without any noticeable “bulking up”.

The extra mass is what helps burn the calories. This may not initially drop weight off at a weigh-in, but it will take flab and measurements down - fast! And you'll even burn more calories while you're sleeping - for as long as you maintain the muscle mass!

This is the big long term benefit of weight training – you will look trimmer, and burn more calories with just by doing what you normally do.

Cardio

Cardio training also has its role to play. Cardio (jogging, aerobics, boxing etc) will directly burn some calories as you work out, and tone muscle at the same time. Cardio will also increase your energy levels and hence your ability to burn calories – once you get past the initial training period.

Beware - prolonged more intense cardio (in excess of 20 minutes) actually burns muscle mass, which will lower your basal metabolic rate and hence daily calorie burn. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t do it, but be aware of the need to balance it with some weight training.

So what to do first?

Arguably, for weight loss, you should do weights first, mainly because this will deplete anaerobic stores so therefore when you hit the cardio you will burn more fat… additionally most, especially ladies find the weights harder and are more likely to do them first rather than after the exhaustion of cardio.

Personally I think do it in whatever order, for most of us the aim is to tone up and get fit…. So we probably need to do both. But new exciting evidence says we can combine them, the evidence on HIT body weight training…

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