By Foodism Team
Weightlifting As Opposed to Cardio…
Understanding the Pros and Cons of Both
With fitness becoming a priority not only for Gen Next but also for the middle aged and even a select segment of the senior citizens there’s a lot of research which is being done with regards to the mode of exercise along with the recommended diet. A common question which all gym members are foxed with is whether to opt for weight lifting or resistance training (as it is popularly known as) or cardio.
Foodism brings to you a list of the pros and cons of both and the pluses of doing a mix of cardio and weight lifting
Gym trainers cite the following benefits of cardio –
- Increases lung capacity
- Strengthens the heart health and endurance
- Helps blood flow
- Burns more calories within the same allotted time. According to Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person burns about 112 calories when lifting weights for 30 minutes; and 372 calories when running at an average 10-minute-per-mile pace for the same amount of time
- Does not require much equipment
- Helps boost your aerobic capacity (how much oxygen your blood gets and uses) and allows your heart and lungs to more efficiently move oxygen through your body helping you get through longer workouts and preventing panting whenever you take the office stairs
- Compared to weight training and workouts involving both cardio and strength, just plain cardio is touted to be the queen of burning more fat and faster weight loss
- Offers a variety of options as one can do anything from jogging to running on a treadmill to going on a rower to playing basketball with friends or any other sport that one enjoys
- It can be implemented immediately and anywhere
- Does not require any skill set
- Does not entail the intimidation of being in a metal clanging room with a bunch of testosterone…which during the on-going pandemic times is a Godsend!
- Offers a plethora of forms like for instance –
- HIIT cardio - The perfect option when you are short on time or want to burn a ton of calories in a shorter time frame
- Steady state cardio - For those who want an easier time preserving muscle mass, and not taxing the heart as much
Cardio is great for the short term but bad for the long term – it definitely burns more calories in the same time span as a normal lifting session, but that's where it stops. Why? Well long term, your body is built for survival. It learns to adapt (especially if you are doing cardio to lose weight and are in a deficit of calories) so it just senses (albeit wrongly) that you are in starvation mode and need to stay alive and starts storing up all those calories.
The other issue is that a lot of fitness enthusiasts tend to overdo certain forms say HIIT cardio. So if you are doing HIIT 4-6 times a week AND eating a low amount of calories because you feel it’s the quickest way to lose fat, you are burning yourself into the ground. It simply isn’t sustainable leading to a stagnation point where although you work-out like mad and eat like a sparrow your weighing scale remains static.
Resistance Training or Weight Lifting
- Resistance training creates positive, long term metabolic effects on the body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at REST. Every time you lift weights you signal your body that it needs to GROW in order to keep up with this stress you keep giving it. And as we all know, your body is built for survival so it will adapt according to the signal sent.
- Lifting weights also allows you to get stronger in a functional way meaning loading strength through a fuller range of motion. So through a proper lifting program you can bid adieu to all those aches that you may have got from running. This is due usually to imbalances and muscle weakness in the body. Cardio can’t provide enough of a stimulus to continually grow your muscles.
- Albeit weight training burns calories, but what it’s really good for is building muscle especially lean muscle mass
- Lifting weights also helps increase bone density, which affects the strength of your bones. If you’re lifting dumbbells, you’re on your way to stronger bones, which can help prevent osteoporosis as well as breaks and fractures
- Stronger muscles also help out your joints by supporting them, reducing your risk of knee or shoulder injuries and arthritis
A major downside to weight lifting if that’s the only thing you do is that your heart health goes for a toss. Surprised, eh? Just look at those heavy power lifters they may be strong as bulls but if they don’t throw in cardio they can hardly make it up a flight of stairs without having to take a breath. The reason is quite simple - Resistance training doesn’t provide enough stimuli to increase your aerobic capacity and challenge your endurance
Benefits of Doing Both - Cardio and Resistance Training
- You’ll lose fat but gain muscle
- You’ll have even better heart health
- Your mental health will improve with a marked drop in your anxiety and depression levels
The Final Solution
You need to do both cardio and resistance training! By including cardio you can build up that endurance that will translate into your weight training days. If you create a bigger metabolic capacity you’ll be able to perform longer in the gym and in life. You can even combine the two, and do movements like supersets, or circuits, that give some of the weight training stress coupled with the stamina earned doing these movements in succession of each other with little to no break. Just ensure that you do not go overboard.
On a concluding note, for the endurance athlete reading this, still worried about weight training slowing her down, or the bodybuilder sceptical whether the elliptical will do him any good, it’s worth remembering the many ways to train both strength and cardio!