There seem to be many debates circulating at the moment trying to determine which is better for weight loss, fitness and toning – cardio exercise or weight training? It does really depend on your goals, but unless you are a body builder, we recommend that you incorporate both into your weekly routine.
The word cardio invokes images of g-string leotards, leg warmers and the classic aerobics move – the grapevine. Similarly mention weight training and you imagine burly blokes pumping huge weights in front of the mirror. But thankfully those stereotypes are fading and both men and women are embracing the benefits that combining cardio and weight training into their weekly routine can offer.
We all know that cardio is great for weight loss, but as the name suggests, cardiovascular exercise provides immense benefits to your heart and lungs, and improves circulation. Other health benefits include increased bone density, improved sleep and helps to reduce anxiety levels. So everyone should be doing two and a half hours of moderate intensity cardio exercise EVERY WEEK. Swimming, running, cycling, skipping, group fitness classes – find something that you like to do or can do with friends and you are more likely to stick to it.
Women tend to shy away from weight training as they have the misconception that lifting weights will make them bulky – FALSE! Women don’t have sufficient levels of testosterone required to get bulky, so please don’t stress – it won’t happen. Still not convinced – weight training is key to losing weight! The more lean muscle tissue you have the more calories you burn – even when you aren’t exercising. One kg of muscle burns 50 extra calories a day whereas 1 kg of fat burns just three calories a day. And weight training doesn’t have to be about lifting weights, your own body weight can provide the resistance you need – consider adding push ups, chin ups, squats, and lunges into your workouts.
We recommend a mix of 3 cardio sessions and 2 weight/strength training sessions per week. Don’t schedule your weight training sessions on consecutive days unless you are working different muscle groups – your muscles need to recover and repair to reap the full benefit of weight training. Some of our classes do combine both cardio and strength elements – SKIP2BEAT combines cardio (skipping) with strength exercises such as push ups and squats; our Small Group Resistance Training classes intermix upper and lower body resistance training such as medicine ball squats and bent over resistance band rows with cardio intervals in a circuit style workout, and our Boxing Blast circuit combines cardio and agility drills with boxing, core conditioning and strength training such as our slam ball station.