Posted by: Tony Carson | 21 September, 2007

Cardio or weights — which is mo betta?

I read this pithy little piece in What’s Up Yukon. It stuck with me so I cribbed it for you. There’s a lot here to answer the question: what’s best for you? Cardio or weights?

If I don’t have all the time I need to fit in both cardio and weights then which one do I choose to do? Which one is more important?

I get asked this question a lot and my first response is, can you split it up? Can you get your weights done and then go for a walk tonight after work?

That usually doesn’t get the greatest response, so I’ll give you my low down on cardio vs weights and the importance of each.

Now, you all know that I am not overly fond of cardio, but I will try my best to defend it all the same as it does have its purpose and importance in the fitness world.

For fat loss and keeping the fat percentage down, you’ll burn a approximately two more calories per minute while doing cardio as compared to weights. But, with weights you give your metabolism a boost for hours afterward as your body is working hard to help your muscles recover and repair.

You burn approximately 25 per cent more calories after the strength workout than you burned during the workout. So this means if you burned 400 calories during your workout, you’ll burn an extra 100 calories just recovering for a total of 500 calories.

Plus for every three pounds of muscle mass you gain, your body burns an extra 120 calories a day just at rest. That’s another 120 calories a day when you’re sleep- ing.

So, I’m sorry to say it right off the bat, but so far strength training wins.

What if you’re a stress ball and all you need is to reduce your stress levels before you blow a gasket? Well, for this one cardio wins. But only because no studies have yet been done on the actual stress reducing properties of strength training. Cardio elevates serotonin levels in the brain, serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in improving levels of depression, improving your mood and making you a happier person.

For injury reduction and recov- ery, it’s strength training all the way.

Too much cardio training can put undue strain on your joints causing overuse injuries. Make sure you keep switching up the cardio machines and trying different types of cardio training to give your joints a break.

In a 2006 study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that a balance-training program — think single-leg squats and anything on a wobble board — reduced the risk of ankle sprains in athletes.

“Functional strength training teaches your brain to allow muscle contractions that are quick enough to prevent or minimize injuries,” says lead study author Tim McGuine, Ph.D., senior athletic trainer and research coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Your best bet: Choose moves that work your core, improve your balance and force you to bend at multiple joints. So lunges, rows, squats and presses are all fair game.

If you want to live a little lon- ger, cardio wins here.

Cardio reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke and even certain types of cancer. Cardio builds a stronger heart. Circulating oxygen more efficiently throughout your body and increases the “good” cholesterol in your blood by up to eight per cent in just eight weeks.

Strength training just twice a week has shown a reduction in intra-abdominal fat (the fat that can build internally around your organs and blood vessels).

What if you just want to look better naked? Well, I’d have to say, weights wins over cardio. Cardio will definitely help shrink your body, but it won’t help shape it. You know, build here, tighten there, lift everywhere. Strength training will help you widen the shoulders, lift the buttocks and tighten the tummy.

So, when it comes right down to it, both strength training and cardio training are equally impor- tant, which is why we always rec- ommend both. So, whatever will motivate you to move and make you feel better mentally, that is the one you choose when you don’t have time for both.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at http://www.pkfi tness. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.



  1. […] IronKid wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptFor fat loss and keeping the fat percentage down, you’ll burn a approximately two more calories per minute while doing cardio as compared to weights. But, with weights you give your metabolism a boost for hours afterward as your body is … […]

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