Lifestyle » Health
The contentious topic of cardio versus weights continues to be discussed and debated in health and fitness circles.
The truth is, our body compositions are different and exercise in general affects our bodies in different ways. Depending on what your goal is, weight loss or muscle gain is achieved by a combination of what you eat and your choice of exercise.
To elaborate on how exercise affects our different body types, one person can lose a considerable amount of weight through cardio training (i.e. running, cycling, swimming, aerobics exercises, high-intensity interval training etc) and the next person can lose a considerable amount through implementing a weight training routine (i.e. free weights, machines or functional training).
Let’s remind ourselves of the meaning of each term.
Cardio training is a form of training that pertains to your cardiovascular system, which are your heart and lungs. It helps to boost your fitness by conditioning your heart and lungs and is also referred to as aerobic exercise.
People turn to cardio training for its fat-burning advantages and help build endurance.
One of the most effective ways of utilising cardio for weight loss is high-intensity interval training. This means you simply alternate between slow and fast exercises in your exercise routine.
This way of training is well known for burning lots of calories, thereby accelerating the fat-burning process.
For example switching between doing burpees, jumping jacks and running on the spot can be a great cardio-based high-intensity interval training part of your routine.
Weight training is physical training that requires lifting external weights such as dumbbells and barbells or using weighted machines.
Functional training, which is also viewed as a type of weight training, is where you utilise your body alone, or carry external weights as part of your workout.
This type of training utilises gravity and requires your muscles to engage and contract in order to oppose the force generated by the external weight or your body weight.
Weight training also burns calories and fat but the extra advantage it has over cardio training is that it also helps to tone, strengthen and build muscles.
The truth is, when it comes to weight loss and muscle building, the best way to maximise is to follow a programme that combines both cardio and weight training.
Cardio on its own will slim you down by helping you to shed the kilograms, but one needs weight training to firm up the muscles and tone the overall body. So, the solution is to balance one’straining programme with a little bit of both.
In fact, thinking about the future might help you decide on utilising both cardio and weights. The older one gets, the stronger you want to be in order to prevent unnecessary falls or general injuries.
Older people are more susceptible to such, so you might want to start curbing the potential problems by arming yourself at a younger age with a good base of strength. Get the best of both.
Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and co-founder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu; Twitter: @ letshegom; Facebook: Letshego Zulu
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