Exercise! - Strength vs Aerobic

View Full Version : Strength vs Aerobic

12-09-2010, 10:29 PM
Okay, first of all, yes, I know you're supposed to do both. But since April, when I started losing weight, I've just been walking for an hour a day. A brisk walk. I've gone from about 5800 steps to 8200 steps walked in the same amount of time, changing my route as necessary in order to put in roughly the same amount of time every day. At this point, I am doing a mile in a little over 15 minutes.

But now it's cold, and I was listening to a fitness podcast where they said your exercise routine should be built on strength training rather than aerobic. And it got me to thinking - I've done aerobic for 8 months out of the year, with several false starts for starting strength training (I never have enough time to figure out the exercises), what if I just did strength training and pilates and yoga and such during the 4 cold winter months? I would still walk at least once or twice a week, weather permitting (I can handle cold, just not snow and ice). But that way I could finally learn the strength training exercises and I would probably be able to do them on a maintenance level (say 2 days per week) during the warmer 8 months of the year.

I don't have the $$$ for a gym membership, and I'm a SAHM so taking my kids out for a walk in the cold is not an option, so I'm stuck either getting up at the crack of dawn (also the coldest part of the day) and going before my husband leaves for work or I can go when he gets home from work but that throws a wrench into our whole evening because then I don't have time to fix supper or if I do, it's late. I've had gym memberships before, and I love my walk every day, but I can't stand working out on a machine, so even if I could fork out the cash, I would be seriously dragging my feet.

So the question is, in reality, I've only been doing aerobic exercise, not strength training, for 8 months. Would it be the end of the world and really mess up my diet/fitness plan if I did 4 months of strength training with little or no aerobic exercise, especially considering the type of aerobic exercise I have been doing? Muscle burns more calories and makes it so you can do more, so in the long run I can see how it might be good. But I don't want to gain ten pounds just because I quit doing my daily walks. I've already been on a plateau for three months, I don't want to start gaining it all back.

12-09-2010, 11:09 PM
It's hard to know how your body will respond to such a change since everyone is different, but in general, I would think that doing strength training would really help you...especially if you continue to walk twice a week. Of course this is all given that your caloric intake remains the same.

I hope you don't mind me suggesting, but why not do a workout dvd? I just started doing 30 day Shred with Jillian Michael's and I really like it. I like to do it once my kids are asleep at night....that way, I don't have to worry about dinner, etc.

Your plan sounds awesome to me. Keep in mind that when you first start strength training, your body retains more water in an effort to repair your muscles, but don't let that dissuade you.....it's only a temporary change.

12-10-2010, 12:35 AM
Wow, you've made GREAT progress!! :D I think incorporating strength training would be a great idea! I have been doing it for about a month now and I've lost, no gains during my weekly weigh ins...so I don't think that will be an issue for you. Building that muscle will make you burn more calories throughout the day! I have been doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and recently started her No More Trouble Zones workout and I love it! In a month I've noticed a difference on the scale with a good diet and even more definition in my legs and arms! The NMTZ workout is about 55 minutes, so sometimes if I'm short on time I do half one day, half the next day. I think you'd enjoy those workouts! :)

12-10-2010, 01:47 AM
Hi Pageta,
I think it is great that you have been doing aerobic exercise for 8 months, and think it is a wonderful idea that you want to build strength training into your routine. I truly believe as well as the medical professionals, that to cut your risk of disease, you should be doing 30 mins of moderate exercise at least five times a day. I believe walking for 2 days is good, but if you really want to burn more calories you should keep up the cardio, and add strength training. Is it possible for you to do cardio with dvds as other suggest, or buy an indoor bicycle with some free weights (bench). You can do some cardio indoors and beat the cold this way, and you get get started with free weights.

12-10-2010, 10:26 AM
I'm not a fan of DVDs for the same reasons I don't like the treadmill - it forces you to keep up with something else rather than listening to your body and doing what is right for you. I walk the same route every day, but some days it is 58 minutes and others it may be 62 or 63 minutes, but as long as it averages out to 60 minutes, I don't change my route. But I like the flexibility of doing what feels right on that particular day.

I've tried DVDs before. In order to keep up with the thing, you have to do it at the same pace whether it's a new exercise your body is just learning or it's something you've done over and over and your body knows well. Another thing I didn't like is that you have no control over what exercises you do as you would if you were following a routine from a book.

I work from home, and my work time is the evenings after my children have gone to bed. With them around, a dvd simply isn't practical - I'd either be missing parts of it or having to stop and start it all the time. I could do strength exercises, though, from a book, and just stop whenever I get interrupted.

I know that you're supposed to do both aerobic and strength training, but in reality I know a lot of people just do aerobic training. I'm just pondering if, in reality only one or the other would get done, if just doing strength only would be just as good as doing aerobic only. It would also give me a chance to really learn the exercises and routines so when I got back to aerobic, I would be far more likely to continue doing the strength aspect.

12-10-2010, 10:36 AM
Pageta -- 30 Day Shread is also a book, you need minimal equipment, if I remember correctly... I have it, I will be taking it out in the new year...

katy trail
12-10-2010, 10:58 AM
this is what i often do, and i think it will work well for you too.
i watch clips of workouts i like. take notes of the routine.

then on my own i change up the exercises or combine routines if i want. the book idea would work well too.

something maybe you hadn't thought of is doing circuit training, hiit (high intensity interval training), or plyo when you get further along. circuit combines weight training or body weight exercises alternated with cardio. so do some squats, jumping jacks, push ups, running in place, bicep curls, cardio again.

the hiit and plyo (jump training) can be done inside in a small space when you are ready. can be just 10-20 min workout.

my fav. instructor is cathe friedrich. she has tons of workout clips on u tube. beginner, intermediate, advanced. they also show modifications or you can find mod. in your book or on about.com they have charts of different level exercises such as for the legs.

i didn't use weights for a long time. squats, lunges, side lunges, mostly lower body work. and i often learned the routine w/o weights. or when you're just starting out, just do a few moves at a time. watching the clips also helps me learn how to do the moves and the names.

also, if you just do jumping jacks or (imaginary) jump rope for a few mins at a time throughout the day, that's great cardio too.

12-10-2010, 11:27 AM
Speaking of clips, there are umpteen clips on u-tube with different varieties of exercises, levels, etc.... Train With Me On-Line (http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/) is a great site I use a lot... For clients and myself, I mix and match workouts...

12-10-2010, 02:25 PM
I had lunch with a friend yesterday who is fabulously fit. She does not do any cardio -- just lifts weights. She's done cardio in the past (ran a 10-miler between her 3rd and 4th babies) but gave it running because it was too hard on her joints.

The thing is, when people talk about strength training for weight loss, they generally do not mean 5 or 8-lb dumbbells and a video. Generally, they mean lifting heavy -- the kind of weights you'd find in a gym or a well-equipped home gym. You really have to lift heavy to get a good calorie burn and build a good amount of muscle.

(I'm not bashing 30DS -- I've had it and done it. I've also defined my arm muscles some with little dumbbells. But it's the heavy lifting that gets you real weight-loss results.)

You might check your library for a book called the New Rules of Lifting for Women. It gives a lot of information about how lifting heavy can help with weight loss. I think he gives some modifications for working out at home, though to me it looks like you need gym-level equipment.