Strength or Cardio Training?

Strength or Cardio Training?

Some individuals swear by running, others would never skip a free weight session at the gym. The long-term goal is comparable: all these people will eventually become fitter than when they originally started their fitness journey.

If we have a preference for one of the two types of training, should we keep pursuing only that? Or would implementing both types of training be beneficial for our health and bodies?

 

Different objectives

Before considering one or the other, we need to look at what we are trying to accomplish. Perhaps our objective is to get a rush of endorphins, blow off steam after a hard day at work, lose weight, tone our bodies, or acquire a healthier lifestyle, one that would help us age longer.

No goal is better than another, as long as we become passionate about hitting the gym or going for a run consistently.

 

Benefits of strength training

One of its major advantages is to increase our metabolism rates, meaning that after a strength workout our bodies continue to burn calories up to 12 hours.

Working directly on our muscles along with appropriate nutrition means leaning out and therefore acquiring a toned energetic body. Because strength training does not only involve free-weights but bodyweight exercises, it is accessible to anyone looking to upgrade their fitness routines.

Even the best swimmers and runners in the world incorporate strength sessions in their weekly training. When we work to produce more muscles, we are also looking to build a strong structure which will protect us from most common joints issues for instance in the knees, elbows and hips.

 

Benefits cardio training

Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise. It usually involves running, biking or swimming for a period longer than 30 minutes.

Cardio raises heart rate and increases blood circulation in the body which are two important components to a healthy lifestyle. Mentally, it challenges our mindset by putting our thoughts and worries on “hold” and our brain in a meditative state.

In terms of losing weight, cardio or what is also called aerobic activity, is renown to be the fastest method to burn off calories during the activity.

 

What happens if we mix both?

If we blend strength and cardio training we are doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Trainings), or interval training. We might have heard it also under the designation of boot camp.

Cardio Plus Strength becomes High Intensity Interval Training

Typically, it’s a combination of lifting movements interspersed with other motions which direct effects are to accelerate our heart rates.

It can become monotonous to train the same way all year long, that is why interval training is considered more exciting than a 30-minute jog or a session in the free-weights area at the gym. Interval training is convenient for the following reasons: it is simple to design our own programme, can be set up anywhere (a room, a living room, a hotel gym etc.), the total time of a workout is short, as in no longer than 20 minutes.

All the benefits from strength and cardio training add up. We burn more calories after the workout thanks to elevated metabolic rates, still get endorphins at the end of the session, and maintain or increase (with free weights) muscle mass.

 

Examples of intervals and HIIT

In a HIIT setting, the idea is to create intensity with minimum breaks and maximum exercise diversity.Example 3 Exercise HIIT workout using Exercise Timer

For example, let’s set up Exercise Timer for 15 minutes and perform a circuit of 3 exercises, each directed to a specific body part.
1: Air squats
2: Push-ups
3: Jumping jacks

You can download the workout here: http://app.exercisetimer.net/m/sqBFOe2FjH

Starting with 10 reps each, we get the chance to increase the number of reps if we get more than 30 seconds of rest before the next minute starts. In that case, we will add 5 more reps in the next round. The goal is to use the most energy from our bodies to push ourselves into the workout.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to training. Trends come and go but what needs to stick is our will to keep exercising and moving. If you have never experienced an interval workout, perhaps now is time to give it a try!

Tamara Akcay

Tamara is a journalist based in London. She is a specialist in fitness, writing specifically on the topic of CrossFit.

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