Cardio Or Weights?

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My alarm went off with that startling, glaring reality that it was time to leave my comfy bed. I cast a beady eye toward the offending thing and whacked it into silence.

It was momentary silence as I heardΒ the sound of rain and mentally felt my athletic plans washing awayΒ  like the rain thatΒ  was running off my roof.

Ugh. No fun outdoor activities for me.

Let me say, I have no issues running in it. I have done it multiple times training for a race and I’m stubbornly ridge on my training so other than if it’s lightening with the rain, I take myself out in it. There’s something incredibly awesome, wonderful, crazy, and intense about running in the rain.

But I don’t have a race I’m currently training for…soooo…..

Plan B.

I came up with Plan B years ago when I realized how much I hated a treadmill and how I hated looking outside and not being in it. I hadn’t really started running at that point but I’d knock off miles walking on it.

It bored me. I watched the time and mileage slip by wondering why it didn’t feel so god forsaken long when I was out on the road…

That’s when I decided to do something else on days I was trapped inside.Β  I started boxing which was a seriously good cardio workout, but then I also began to mix strength training up with it too.Β  That allowed me to get creative with what I wanted to do thus, keeping me from boredom.

I found I could start off boxing ( at that point it didn’t take long to have me begging for mercy… a song or two…) then I’d move into lifting some weight and then just doing some body work.

I found I liked that and it gave me an alternate for when I couldn’t escape outside. ( now days it honestly takes a whole lot to hold me inside)

but back then, a few years ago, I didn’t really understand or realize the importance of shaking up the type of workouts I did.

It wasn’t till I was really running a lot that I began to get how important strength training was to making me aΒ  stronger athlete for the things I loved doing.

Lifting some weight not only helped build a bit of muscle but it strengthened and protected ligaments and tendons in my body. Core and upper body work that made me stronger began to be invaluable on long runs when my legs would start to tire. Having upper bodyΒ  and good core strength helped carry me.

Now putting miles in on the bike it goes without saying having a strong body overall is a huge benefit to some fast moving speed and being able to support myself being in a bent position, stretched out over the bike.

So…. cardio… strength training.

What’s best? Is one best? Which should you do?

Ok, I’m a cardio junkie. I’ll admit it. It just goes with being an endurance athlete. You get a crazy high off the miles and beating the heck out of yourself out there. If I’m not in the double digits I don’t think I’ve done anything.

Yes… I fully understand how you’re reading this thinking I’m crazy…unless you do the same thing then you are sitting there nodding your head ’cause you get it.

You recover to go back and do it again… and again… relishing the strength you build out there and the feelings you get from it.

And I know that’s not for everyone….

Here’s what I would say. Both are important.

First, you really need to know what your goals are. If you are wanting to lose weight, cardio is the biggest burn for your buck. You need it.

I know, I know. It’s hard. It hurts. You really realize that you are out of shape when you do it.

Do it anyway.

But you also need to have some balance of strength training to build a bit of muscle and get stronger.

Who doesn’t love being able to easily snatch up 15 grocery bags and easily carry them in ?? πŸ˜‰Β  Do you really always want to wait to have someone help you move something?

Trust me… you want to be strong.

However, you can’t ignore your cardio. Again, knowing your goals is important. If you’re a serious body builder, it’s going to be low on your list. You’ll do it but it will be a small structured part again, depending on what you’re pushing for. If you are gunning for a competition then your goals will be much more centered on lifting and building.

But… in my humble opinion… do you wanna be winded walking briskly for a distance…. even if you areΒ sporting impressive muscles?

No. You don’t. Do your cardio.

If you do a sport like running or cycling, you definitely need to build a couple strength training days into your week.

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week. That’s roughly 30 minutes, 5 days a week of brisk heart pumping, heavy breathing cardio work in addition to strength training.

Seriously, I know it’s rewarding to see what you are building on the outside, but really, you can’t discount and not take care of those inner muscles that keep you strong , healthy, and alive.. your heart, lungs, all of your cardiovascular system.

and if your cardio system is strong, well heck, that means you’ll be able to do strength training even longer with more power πŸ˜‰

Again, understanding your goals is a big step to knowing how to structure your week of workouts.

As an endurance athlete I view my couple days a week lifting or doing body work as a type of preventative maintenance thing. I’m not in there to be the next body building champ…Β  I just want my body strong for the activities I love doing.

You can go to the internet and find all kinds of information on which is better… and the articles will be largely determined by what the person writing it likes or thinks.

Do your own research… educate yourself… but at the top of the list is understanding yourself, and your fitness goalsΒ as the top priority.

At the end of the day, you want to have a body strong for living life and handling the daily tasks you do, but you also want to be able to do those tasks without being winded and gasping for air and feeling out of shape.

If you want a strong and balanced body, you’ll learn to do both.

Find your balance and find the right combination of cardio and strength training that works for you will give you the best level of fitness for your life and goals.

 

weights-vs-cardio

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Published by

Sassyfitnesschick

8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the fun...so adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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