Cardio or Weights? Get The Ratio Wrong And You’ll Never Get The Body You Really Want
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “Should I do more Cardio or Weights?” I’m going to define “cardio” as running or jogging, or getting on a cardio machine like an elliptical or stair climber. Weight training I’m defining as either using weight machines, free weights or body weight. My answer is simple, and the results are backed up by science and a plethora of reputable studies:
Do weights properly. . . with a just side dish of cardio…Why?
Studies show you are burning more calories when lifting heavy weight with short breaks in between sets, than you do with cardio. Studies also show your body will continue to burn a higher rate of calories hours after weight training than cardio. If you lift weights properly you WILL get a cardio workout at the same time.
After having my three children, I found myself with dozens of extra pounds that I was trying to “burn off” on the treadmill. I lost initial weight but plateaued, felt constant fatigue and couldn’t get rid of the cellulite and jiggly waist and thighs. Doing hours of cardio wasn’t delivering me the body I was working so hard for. The cardio or weights question wasn’t clear, so I started doing research to answer my own questions.
I had a difficult time mentally letting go of doing cardio because I felt like I could never lose weight without it. Cardio was like my “woobey” or “pacifier”. All I had to do was press the Quick Start button and the display told me I was burning calories and making progress. I believed the display. I needed to. The reality, however, was disappointing. I didn’t see the great results in my body. I wasn’t reshaping, feeling stronger and gaining energy. I was investing a lot of time into something I felt should deliver better results.
I started reading, and reading a lot. I knew the answer for long term weight loss and health wasn’t from the latest article in Elle magazine. The epiphany came when I realized that athlete’s bodies looked the best and were the healthiest of all bodies. Whatever their body style, whether it was a 4’11” gymnast or a 6’2″ beach volleyball player, athletes looked great for their body style and size. They “trained for GO not SHOW”. They trained so their bodies could perform amazing things and the bi-product was beauty, strength and symmetry. Bingo! I’d become an athlete…at least in my mind. That would change the way I chose to exercise but also how I thought of myself. I would throw away the scale and concentrate on getting stronger and doing things in the gym I didn’t think I could achieve before.
It was clear to me: Weight training as an entrée and cardio as a side dish is the formula for losing body fat and increasing your body’s percentage of lean muscle. I was getting a cardio workout at the same time as I was transforming my muscles though weight training with shot breaks in between sets.
I discovered that I actually needed to reduce my “cardio” (meaning time spend just on a cardio machine or running) increase my calorie intake and build lean muscle through resistance training and weight training. It went against everything I was conditioned to believe but it worked! If I have only 30 minutes to work out, I take the entire 30 minutes to lift weights. The results have been dramatic and I have sustained my fitness level for years.
I put together a cardio or weights workout plan in which I decided I would combine weights and resistance training into 4 workouts each week. I separated the different body groups into 4 categories and if I had time each week I may do 1 or 2 sessions of cardio for a maximum of 20-minutes. No more than that.
At first I wasn’t sure if it would work, but the science and studies told me it would. It was a challenge to reverse my initial ideas about cardio or weights as a permanent fat loss solution, but thankfully I stuck to it for the few months it took my body to build the lean muscle I needed to burn the unwanted fat.
The most surprising side effect was the new definition and body shaping that occurred. Everything got tighter! My cellulite decreased, my energy level went up, my confidence improved, the list goes on and on. I achieved a level of fitness I didn’t know was possible after having 3 children and have maintained it by holding to my belief that a focus on weight training with some cardio is the best plan. Don’t forgot, high protein consumption is the cornerstone of my transformation system and that’s why I developed delicious low calorie Tiara Protein Powder just for Women.