Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cardio vs. Strength Training


I found a great article from Women's Health about cardio vs. strength training while I was reading through the blog Clean Eating Chelsey. The article really got me to thinking about some things, and I couldn't agree more with it. 

I was always under the notion that lots of cardio would yield the best - and quickest - results. For some reason it had been engrained in me that if I just did lots of running or some other form of cardio, that weight would fall off. 

When I joined my gym, I received some personal training sessions with Molly. These were strength training sessions, targeting my whole body - upper, lower and core. In the beginning I only did our workouts once a week - with her.

Instead I focused on cardio, cardio, cardio. I went to Zumba, Dance Jam, did the elliptical, ran on the treadmill, etc. In spite of logging so much cardio time, I wasn't seeing the results I wanted until I started incorporating my strength training routines into the mix, usually 3 times a week. After that, I felt like I started seeing results so quickly! 

My experience seems to echo some of the key points from the article:

*To lose and keep off fat, strength training is key.
According to the article (sighting studies), lifting weights will boost your metabolism for a good hour after a workout, resulting in burning an additional 25 percent of calories you burned during a training session! How great is that? Even more: "For every 3 pounds of muscle you build, you'll burn an extra 120 calories a day -- just vegging -- because muscle takes more energy to sustain," Westcott says. Over the course of a year, that's about 10 pounds of fat -- without even changing your diet.

*For better body confidence, strength training is key.

After I get home from a strength training workout I feel like I look better. Like, right away. Turns out, that is not my imagination! According to the article, "blood has rushed to your muscles, making them swell and appear more toned." It also cites a 2006 study at McMaster University in Ontario in which women's body image was tested before and after 12 weeks of strength training. The results? The women made significant improvements.

*Cardio does have certain benefits over strength training.
When it comes to stress relief and extending your life, cardio was the winner.  

So, my final thoughts...A balance between cardio and strength training is key to seeing the results you want to see, and to feeling great - mind and body! This article reinforced that I need to keep up my strength routines, but not skip out on my cardio.

What do you think?

*Do you prefer strength or cardio, or do you incorporate both?

*Do you have any thoughts on this article or personal stories?


  1. Abdominal muscle strengthening is important for strong core muscles. In addition, you might prevent the occurrence of abdominal strains by toning nicely your abdominal exercise muscles.

    1. I completely agree. Thanks for sharing, Suzie!


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