It’s a question I get asked a lot; which is best, strength or cardio? There are plenty of people who sit firmly in one camp or the other, so in this post I want to set the record straight and uncover whether one really is better than the other.
But first, what’s the difference?
The difference between strength and cardio may seem obvious, but it’s what goes on within your body that makes the two forms of training very different.
Strength training (often called weight or resistance training) is an anaerobic activity. Anaerobic exercise involves a short burst of intense movement, while only burning carbohydrates for energy. Strength training covers a wide range of movements including lifting dumbbells or kettlebells and using weight machines, such as a seated leg curl.
Cardio (or “cardiovascular”) is an aerobic activity. Aerobics is actually the name of a specific energy system that your body is using to generate the energy that powers your workout. When you are doing aerobic exercise your body is using oxygen for energy.
See my post on the most common fitness terms you may not know to get even more clued up.
So, here’s the answer to the question you’ve all been waiting for. Which is better, cardio or strength training?
Well, the answer is actually a combination of both!
By combining both types of training you’ll get the best of both worlds; fat loss and a more toned physique, through muscle gain.
3 great reasons to combine cardio and strength training
1. You’ll lose fat but gain muscle
As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog posts, you can’t rely on the number on the scale to determine how fit you are. The scale won’t tell you your body composition, or the amount and distribution of fat and lean mass on your body. Thinking about body composition is important because muscle mass weighs more than fat does.
The good news is by following my program you don’t need to figure out how to fit both types of training in. I design my workouts to combine both cardio and strength training, enabling you to improve your cardiovascular and muscular endurance all together.
2. It will boost your metabolism
The key to really boosting your resting metabolism (how many calories you burn all day, not just when your body’s moving) is to increase your lean mass. The muscles of someone who does strength training will burn around 50% more calories than the muscles of a runner or walker. That translates to you burning an extra 100 calories per day just by staying alive.
3. You’ll improve your heart health
Research has shown that people who take part in a combination of strength and cardio training for 8 weeks had a lower risk of heart disease than those who did just one or the other. So it’s a win, win. Your heart will benefit from both forms of exercise as well as your body.
If you are unsure of anything, want advice or just to share your progress I’m only an email away. You can get in touch with me at [email protected] and I will get back to you as soon as possible.