Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weights or Cardio: What's Best?

Most people who want to lose weight take the diet approach. Some of the more ambitious add exercise or cardio. Walking, treadmills, bicycles or elliptical trainers are considered cardio. As a trainer who specializes in weight loss, I’m often asked “What’s better strength training or cardio.”

Making an effort to watch your calories is a good place to start. As you get older, unfortunately restricting calories will often be accompanied by a slower metabolism. This is the main reason that experts recommend that exercise accompany eating more wisely. Notice I didn’t say dieting. The first three letter of diet are what: DIE.

The answer to the question what’s better, weights or cardio comes with much debate. The vast majority seem to favor cardio. The reason to me is the fact that anyone can walk and it’s easier. Cardio will burn calories while you walk and for a short period after.

Exercise when performed correctly adds muscle. This increases your metabolism even while you sleep. For every pound of muscle, your body needs 30-50 extra calories to maintain this new biologically active tissue. The side effect is a tighter body and the need to eat more to sustain new muscle growth.

As you can see both methods are important, especially as we age. In a perfect world or for those with great willpower the answer is to do both strength training and cardio. If you have limited time like most of us, I have a suggestion. Try circuit training.

Circuit training is moving from one exercise to another in with little or no break. This may sound exhausting but when done correctly it’s not. I do this with 90% of my clients. You warm up on the treadmill or elliptical for 5 minutes. After that step off and do one or two exercises and then back on the treadmill. The treadmill keeps the heart rate up in between exercises. This way you get cardiovascular benefits while you tone and sculpt your body. If you don’t have a treadmill you can still do circuit training but you may need some help designing an exercise routine you won’t hate.

For more info visit us at

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Circuit training with weights all the way!! And hire a trainer as well :-)