Cardio Workout Versus Weight Workout

Posted 12/14/2015 | By HealthCorps

There are some exercise purists who only engage with aerobic exercises like running, swimming, using a Stairmaster or elliptical machine, while other individuals exclusively weight train. When it comes to specific exercise goals your approach may be missing the mark.

I want to lose weight

Aerobic exercise on average burns about 12 calories per minute compared to weight training which can burn about 10 calories per minute. You may be promised upwards of burning 600 calories in a spinning class but most exercise experts say you will rarely come close to that goal – it is simply too hard to train at the level consistently needed to nail that type of calorie burn. What is important is the fact that unlike aerobic exercise, you will continue to experience an “after-burn” of calories when you complete your weight training efforts. So weight training, if you perform the program with limited breaks between sets and repetitions, can give you a better calorie burn if your goal is weight loss.

One aerobic exercise program that may rival weight training is HIIT or high intensity interval training, which involves moderate paced exercise that is integrated with very vigorous aerobic intervals.

If I do both, should I do cardio or weight training first?

Aerobic or cardio exercises are great warm ups for weight training. On the other hand, if you do weight training first, cardio is a great exercise since it has a cooldown at the end (if you’re doing it correctly). One caveat is if you’re training for a marathon or triathlon. In that case, always do your cardio training first when you are fresh and have optimal energy stores.

If I’m looking for a mood boost should I do cardio or weight training?

Exercising in general has been credited with boosting mood. Cardio (aerobic) exercise has been linked with changing brain chemistry and helping to limit depression, anxiety and improve mood. One study credits running with causing the release of “marijuana-like” chemicals in the brain, helping to make you feel good and even moderating pain. If you perform your repetitions and sets with limited breaks, resistance or weight training will probably offer a similar pay off.

Will heavy weights make a woman bulk up?

It’s a misconception that lifting heavy weights will cause significant muscle hypertrophy and growth in women. It is a good idea to lift light weights and do more repetitions till fatigue or muscle failure in order to activate slow twitch muscle fibers. Lifting heavy weights and doing fewer repetitions will activate fast twitch muscles. A weight training program that incorporates both approaches will give optimal results. You can alternate workouts with light and heavy weights, with rest days in between, or perform a series of exercises that incorporate light and heavy weights on the same day.

If I only have time to do cardio or weights, which should I choose?

Consider choosing weight training since it can offer aerobic elements as well, if you move quickly from one weight lifting exercise to the next, with little limited rest. Most experts recommend training with weights at least two to three times weekly as part of a balanced training program.

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