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Cardio or strength training: which is better

Cardio or strength training: which is better
September 10
12:27 2014

As soon as one decides to lose weight, choosing whether to focus on cardio or strength training can be daunting. Almost, every day, a new study comes out that proves, a particular way of training is better than the other for the weight loss. These studies rather than assisting an individual to choose an effective training program confuse them, but one thing is certain that not all exercises are equally effective. And even though a healthy training routine incorporates a variety of physical movements but some activities are far more effective that other at losing weight or getting in shape.

As far as cardio vs strength training is concerned, it is a highly debated question. 10 different trainers have 10 different answers. Let’s try and find more about both of these not to reach a conclusion but to reach a state where you can at least decide whether you should spend more time doing cardio or strength training or have a balance of the two.

What is strength training and what are its effects:

In simple terms, strength training can be any exercise that assists in making different muscles of your body more powerful and stronger. It can be achieved using weights or also through your own bodyweight like squats and press ups. It can be resistance-based; you can use different bits of kit like gym fit balls or elastic gym bands.

Strength work is essential if you want to tone muscles and strengthen bones. The more muscle you have, the better your metabolism will be which will assist in burning more calories, which also assists in losing weight.

Strength-training assists in building muscles and more muscles help burn more calories- even when you are relaxing. Strength training is an essential part of any program that emphasizes on enduring fat loss. It is also said that weight training can make you bulky, but it is a myth. It requires a ton of energy, in order to add muscle to your body. During the primary stages of any type of intense training, especially one your body is not used to, your body releases surplus amounts of the hormone cortisol, which makes your body to keep water.

People get this image that they are bulking up when in reality, their body is just adapting to the training. Once your body adjusts to the new training, the cortisol release stops and your body flushes the excess water. Another reason, strength training is essential because if you keep a close watch on your calorie intake to lose weight, and if you don’t strength train at the same time, up to 30% of weight loss can happen due to muscle loss and that doesn’t prove healthy for longer period of time. For health and functional living, muscle tone and good strength are necessary. Strength training assists to maintain bond density, balance and several other important things.

Cardiovascular exercise and its effects:

Cardio exercise or aerobic exercise is a low intensity physical exercise that depends majorly on the aerobic energy generating process. There are several benefits of cardiovascular training. Firstly, it causes your lungs to process more oxygen with little efforts, your heart pumps more blood with less beats as well as the blood supply to your muscles increases. Therefore cardiovascular training assists in increasing your body’s efficiency and endurance.

It also helps in weight loss, improved mental health, higher stamina, improved immune system, disease reduction and more. Some studies also show that cardio burns more calories than strength training. It helps in burning more calories per hour and increases your metabolism even when you are not training. Similar to strength training, even there are some myths about the cardiovascular exercise. It is said that cardio doesn’t build muscle. This myth is a bit tricky.

If we talk about steady-state aerobic, low level training then it will fade muscle, so it can be a fact. But “cardio” not only means aerobic zone training, it is a term collectively used for any training that increases your heart rate for the complete workout.
Modern cardio training is usually a result of interval training, which means it is a mix of anaerobic and aerobic training and this builds muscle.

Quick comparison of the two:

Metabolic increase for the period following:

Studies have shown that after weight training session, metabolism can increase for up to 36 hours. This means rather than burning 50 calories an hour during watching TV and chilling out you are burning 60. With cardio training you might get an extra 40-80 calories burned after a decently paced workout, and this will completely be dependent on the intensity and time of the training. In order to burn more calories after a cardio training session, you have to do it for an extended period of time.

Long term metabolic increase:

Consistent efforts are required when you want to lose weight or achieve a lean body. In this matter, weight training proves really helpful, as it can build up a larger degree of lean muscles mass which then works as your calorie burning source in the body. As a result more muscle you will have in your body the higher your basal metabolic rate would be.

Total body reshaping:

Weight training allows you to completely reshape your body. Cardio training on the other hand will assist you lose weight but generally this would be a combination of fat and muscle as a result what you will achieve will be a smaller version of yourself.

Hormonal environment: Weight training puts the body in an anabolic state and boosts muscle mass gain or muscle maintenance. On the other hand, cardio training encourages higher levels of cortisol release which is a key hormone that does promote lean muscle mass loss as well as fat buildup around the abdominal region.

Calorie burn: Longer cardio session can help you burn around 500-800 calories, depending on the intensity level and the exact length. By doing enough cardio sessions and not eating those calories again, you can also burn 3500 calories in order to lose one pound fat. While the weight training session may not burn as many calories per minute during the session, however overall calorie burning benefits you can receive can overshadow that of cardio.

This clearly, indicates that both cardio training and strength training has its own benefits and effects, therefore one should focus on building an exercising regime that is a mix of both. You can also consult an experienced physical trainer to get a customized training regime.

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