Cardio vs Weight Training

How does a person answer this question?  Which movie is better, Scarface or Titanic? They are totally different genres, target audiences, time periods and different moods.  It isn’t easy to distinguish a clear favorite between the two because one is a love story while the other is a shoot em up, snort it up flick.  So, that leads to a choice – It boils down to personal preferences and moods. The same goes for using cardio or weights; they both have their personalities and benefits.

Cardio:  Historically, cardio has been termed “aerobic exercise” because this type of activity has a steady heart rate and lower overall intensity- on a cellular level, oxygen is required to produce energy over a longer period of time.  Some Benefits: Runner’s high and a decrease in blood pressure. Dopamine and endorphins (neurotransmitters) are produced from prolonged aerobic exercise (runner’s high) which can be a terrific, safe, physiological state.  Also, a huge benefit of longer bouts of elevated heart rate will help strengthens one’s heart and may help lower blood pressure.  Cons:  There is limited building of the muscle fibers in comparison to weights because the muscle fibers and bones are not stressed enough to build from your average run.   Safety tip:  Be careful not to begin running too much in the beginning of any cardio regimen. The likelihood of overuse (shin splints, runners’ knee etc.) is possible.

Weights: Anaerobic exercises primarily utilize carbohydrates as the energy source.  Don’t worry; this anaerobic, aerobic concept took me forever to understand because I thought it literally meant to perform an exercise without breathing!  Its bioenergetics 101, very complex, so don’t worry, just stop by one of my courses and I can teach you the basics!  Some Benefits of weights:  increase in lean body mass (muscle), stronger connective tissues and bones.

Muscle has a smaller surface area than fat (see figure 1), so if you were to burn 1 lb of fat, and gain 1 lb of muscle, your thighs or arms would actually get smaller, yet you would stay the same weight!  Contrary to popular belief, females believe that by exercising with heavy weights, they will get bigger and bulkier (see females and weightlifting). This is not true.  By adding the extra muscles, a person is adding a higher metabolic tissue to their body.  In laymen’s terms, muscle is hungrier than fat, so a person burns more at rest by lifting weights. 

Another huge benefit of resistance training is that if the weight is heavy enough (at least 8-10 reps), a person can strengthen their bones and help prevent osteoporosis.  Cons:  Improper form may lead to serious injury.  Our population needs to find a happy medium between males and females.  Males typically lift too much weight with bad form, while females lift barely anything, yet have flawless form.  Progressing too fast may lead to overuse issues because the tendons and ligaments have yet to be stimulated enough to catch up with the faster growing muscle. Safety tips:  Consult with your physician before beginning any sort of exercise regimen to make sure you are healthy enough to do so. Shockingly, most guys do not know how to properly lift weights. Just because they have built muscle doesn’t qualify them as well-informed. Make an appointment with a certified personal trainer, or better yet, stop on by our Dublin school and have one of our trainer’s take you through a proper training program for $15 per session.