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Cardio vs strength training – which will get you results?

Woman working out with dumbbells at home

By: Natasha Archary

 

For the longest time, cardiovascular workout routines were said to be the best way to keep fit and lose weight. It’s not entirely untrue but like everything else in life, there are so many new breakthroughs in the health and fitness sector that it’s impossible to keep track off.

 

Plyometrics. Hot yoga. Pilates. Anaerobic routines. And the list just goes on. If you’re just starting out or planning on signing up at a gym, where do you begin? Which workouts will get you the best results? Of course, if you’re looking to switch up your exercise regime or have hit a plateau this could help you adjust your routines to find a good balance.

 

Let’s walk through this

The first thing you need to understand is that cardio routines are designed to keep your heart rate elevated and according to science and fitness experts, this is one way to ensure you stay healthy.

 

You do lose weight from heavy cardio workouts. Think about athletes who have a history of endurance running, swimming or cycling. Soccer players immediately come to mind. They’re lean and toned from their extensive run-based training programs.

 

If mass building and muscle definition are what your end goal is, then strength training workouts help gain muscle, which speeds up your metabolism and burns more fat in the long term. Rugby players are a good example of this type of workout regime. With strong, defined muscles, they’re bulkier and ripped for days.

 

Still undecided?

It’s a little harder for women to lose weight than men. A few kinetic specialists link this to the fact that many women are cardio focused on their fitness routines. Most women are scared to try weight or strength training because they fear weights will make them too bulky instead of lean.

 

A study in 2018, looked at the effect of resistance training on sedentary women who included weightlifting increased their basal metabolic rate (BMR) for up to 48 hours. BMR is the number of calories your body burns in its resting state.

 

So, while cardio burns calories during the workout, such as when you’re out jogging, once the activity is over, you’re done toasting calories.

 

How do you know which workout is for you?

Simple. Define your goals. If you’re stressed out and need to find a way to make you feel more energetic, help your clothes fit better and lose a few kilograms, then a cardio based workout is for you. Consider running, swimming, squash or cycling.

 

The thing about cardio routines is that they tend to get boring unless you’re constantly pushing yourself and set new goals to crush. If you are road running, for example, don’t take the same route on every run. You need to push your body constantly challenging yourself to better your time, distance and perfect your technique building endurance.

 

A strength-based workout is perfect for those who are not focused on weight loss but rather building mass. Most men opt for a weight training routine but women are taking an interest in resistance training too. It helps keep you muscles defined and spezseds up your metabolism which means you’ll need to devour a lot of protein to feed your muscles.

 

Weight training is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s going to push you out of your comfort zone. You’ll feel your muscles tightening up after every session and you’ll need to invest in a good bath salt to soothe muscles and help them recover.

 

Before you commit to either, speak to a professional fitness trainer at the gym you’re signing up to. Most will advise that you keep both a cardio and strength routine and some gyms have classes that fuse both types of workouts in a group layout which can be fun.

 

Whatever you decide, there’s no time like the present to get your fitness game on. Winter is around the corner and it will be easier to stick to your routines when the colder days bring on the lazy couch potato in you.

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