Cardio or Weights? Which one is the right fit for you?
This is one frequently asked question because people want to see results in the gym as quickly as possible but are unsure if cardio or weight lifting is more beneficial. No one wants to spend hours in the gym without seeing progress towards their goals. Save yourself some time and keep these few tips in mind.
First, identify your main goal. It would be hard to decide which exercise is right for you if you do not have a goal in mind. Single out your main priority and work for it. Someone that wants to lose excess weight will have a different exercise routine than someone that wants to build lean muscle.
Next, understand the difference. Knowing the benefits of cardio and weight lifting will help guide you in choosing the best exercise in order to reach your goals. Cardio is great to burn calories, improve endurance, reduce risks of diseases, such as diabetes, and help with overall weight loss. Weight lifting also has helpful benefits, such as increase strength, tone muscles, increase bone density and increase your metabolism helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
Also, consider your fitness level. The great thing about exercise is that we are all different and start at our own pace. If you are someone new to working out or just getting back into a fitness routine, starting with cardio would be best. Walking on a treadmill, riding a bike, or hopping on an elliptical will warm your muscles up and get your body use to moving again. If you are more advanced in your fitness journey and are looking to increase intensity to burn fat and get tone, add in weight lifting two or three days a week. Remember, it is important to give your body rest days when lifting weights. Evaluate how you feel and challenge yourself when you are ready.
You can also try both cardio and weights. Mix it up by adding cardio and weight lifting to your routine. There are a variety of ways to do this, which can help keep you from getting bored. One option would be to alternate days of cardio and weight lifting.
For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday perform weighted exercises, and the days in between perform cardio workouts. Another option would be to work out three days a week adding in a short cardio session after weighted exercises. This routine could be planned such as, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday perform weighted exercises and finish with ten to fifteen minutes of cardio on a treadmill or elliptical. These routines allow you to get the benefits of cardio and weights in a timely manner.
Don’t forget to be happy. No one said working out has to be dreaded or miserable. Doing a workout you enjoy will keep you consistent and consistency leads to positive results. Listen to your body and see what works for you. If running is too hard on your joints, try a bike instead. If you dread lifting weights, then try body weight exercises like push-ups and squats. You can always modify any routine until you find the one that works for you and your fitness level.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Like I mentioned before, everyone starts at their own fitness level. Whether you are just starting out, or more advanced, you can always ask for ways to improve your workout routine. Find a gym that provides fitness training, or a friend that is educated to help you. Personal trainers are a great source to use for help. They love what they do and are educated to help you succeed.
Cardio and weighted exercises are both beneficial for weight loss. Depending on your fitness level and what you enjoy, determines which routine will guide you on your fitness journey. Just keep moving and stay motivated. You got this!
Allison Alexander Trisler is a certified personal trainer/nutrition fitness specialist and general manager of Good Health Fitness