Exercise! - cardio and strength training question




Satellites
11-08-2011, 11:53 AM
hi all, i realise this is a question asked a lot and i've read heaps of the other threads but would still like some clarification.

i'm looking to lose 10 - 15 kg (20 - 30 lbs) in the next 3 - 4 months. i've cut my calorie intake, joined the gym and recently had an appointment with a trainer in which he drew up a workout plan for me. basically, he's got me on strength training 3 days a week, whole body work out, 3 sets of 15 reps with 30 seconds between sets. i assume this is to incorporate more of a circuit training feel into my workout and keep my heartrate up, thus having a cardio workout also.

the thing is, i asked him about cardio workouts and he said that i didn't really need to do much, just go on walks with my mum every couple of days (we usually go 2 - 3 days a week for about 40 mins, at a moderate pace - as in we are still able to gossip while walking!) and basically do some "light" cardio on my non-weights days if i want.

being someone who has always thought cardio is absolutely crucial to weight loss, this has thrown me for a huge loop. i'm confused by his "if i want" statement in relation to cardio, since this makes it seem it isn't really necessary but if it makes me feel better i can do it.

so, what does everybody do cardio-wise? is it necessary? are my moderate paced walks enough? i don't really want to go to the gym every day or even 5 days a week but i find it harder to jog outside (harder to time myself really, on how long i'm running) because i prefer to do interval work when i run/jog/walk for exercise and not enjoyment (which is what my walks with my mum are!). i've been doing some interval work on the treadmill for about 15 mins after my weights sessions (which last about 30 mins) but i can't do more than that because i feel so exhausted after the weights and then the intervals. still, i feel like 45 mins 3 days a week will not get me to my goal!

anyway, opinions are greatly appreciated!


sensualappeal
11-08-2011, 01:48 PM
I heard cardio is good for weight loss only if you do interval training. Get th heart rate up. The best way to lose weight and actually shape up properly is weight training. You can do cardio on an elliptical for a year every day and you may not notice much change in weight because most of the time it's simply not enough of a push.

InsideMe
11-08-2011, 03:39 PM
I do mostly strength training, I always have. I do cardio twice a week for 30mins mainly out of enjoyment and I want to work my lungs and heart.

The strength training I do gets my heart rate up for sure! I have to rest for a good 45secs before starting the next rep.

The more strain you put on your muscles the more you heart has to pump blood and oxygen to those muscles. That's why you either increase weights or reps/sets as you get stronger.

With cardio there are great benefits to it too, however your body catches up pretty quick, soon the same running for an hour won't burn as many calories as it once did.

Plus with resistance strength training you are losing FAT, you can gage it much easier than with cardio. With cardio you could very well be losing muscle. Plus you get the after burn after strength training. Last night I woke up SWEATING! Yes like I had just worked out cause I had an intense session with my trainer yesterday.

My strength training is what is accountable to how I look in clothing too. I'm 5 ft 3 200lbs but I'm also in a size 12 pants that are getting LOOSE on me now....just bought a size 10 I'm sure once I lose another 10lbs I'll be down to a size 10. That's because I have a leaner look due to working my muscles.

Check out this link http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fat_loss_training_wars.htm


tuende
11-08-2011, 06:23 PM
My non-expert opinion would be that cardio would be important to do in addition to your weight training if you're looking to get bigger calorie deficits. Cardio has tons of other benefits as others have mentioned (great for your heart, lungs, mood, gives you that great endorphin rush :), etc.) but it also burns tons of calories. Reading your post, I'm wondering if maybe your trainer doesn't want you to go too hard too fast. You know how some people start out really strong and then end up injured or just burned out? Maybe he's just trying to get you to start slow and work up to higher intensity training.

Since you asked, I lift 3 times a week and do cardio 5 days a week (so, some days I do both, 1 day a week I do only weight training and I take 1 rest day per week). But I've been at it for a while and that's just what works for me right now.

On days I do both resistance training and cardio, I always do my weight training first, cardio second. Also, I almost always prefer to jump into a class instead of jumping on a piece of cardio equipment. My favorites are spin classes and a martial arts-inspired class at the gym. They are so fun and it helps me keep things interesting. We have such awesome instructors and classes at my gym that I know I'm working at a higher intensity than I would if I spent the same time jogging on the treadmill.

Bottom line: cardio is awesome for you. If you want to do it, find something you enjoy (going on walks included) and go for it! Just be sure you're listening to your body and taking the rest you need.

CherryPie99
11-09-2011, 04:21 PM
I do both. But more and more actual research is showing that the benefits of strength training have been vastly over-sold and that cardio is extremely important for weight loss and fat burning. Most experts recommend both for general fitness.

Check out these links:

http://kcossaboon.hubpages.com/hub/CardiovsStrengthTrainingWhichburnsmorefat

http://www.livestrong.com/article/117453-cardio-vs.-strength-training-weight/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/20/AR2007042001772.html

fromthebox
11-12-2011, 01:25 AM
CherryPie99 - I don't understand where you get the idea that the benefits of strength training have been "vastly over-sold" non of your articles mentions that, and the first link is to a blog with no credentials that gives a cardio calorie count that is more optimistic than even the treadmill at my gym. You say yourself you do both, why then are you touting it as "over-sold?"

On that note, the conclusion of your article from the Washington Post gives a good response to the OP:
So the debate is over. Shake hands, boys. It's a tie. Cardiovascular exercise and strength training can go have a small, low-fat, low-sugar, moderate-protein smoothie together and chuckle about the days when they were adversaries competing for our attention.

The other thing I would tell the OP is that, at her current point in the journey, her food intake is more important than ridiculous amounts of cardio in creating her caloric deficit. Eat right, move your body on off days and follow your trainer's program and you will lose weight. When that gets comfortable, or your weight loss levels off start thinking about upping the cardio.

CherryPie99
11-12-2011, 09:29 AM
I think that it is clear that doing both cardio and strength training is extremely important for overall fitness. And, of course, diet is way more important then both.

What I meant by strength training being "over-sold" is that the hype with hard core strength trainers - that they don't need to do cardio because strength training burns hundreds of calories extra after they're done working out - it simply isn't true.

While their is some after burning effect, I have seen people touting numbers of 50 calories per hour per pound of muscle.

Here's another good article from runnersworld
http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-304--7753-0,00.html

fromthebox
11-12-2011, 10:16 AM
For the record, I support both cardio and strength as components. I don't think one is "better" than the other, they are both needed, one without the other is less than optimal.
Still, I cannot walk away from the misinformation.

The articles you quote are riddled with errors. All are 2 or more years old. The Runner's World one that two of your links cite is seven years old. You quoted it verbatim in using the phrase "vastly oversold." These articles are hosted on sites that have a vested interest in running, and the position they take is that greedy trainers are out to sell you on strength exercises so that they make money, and that weights have little to no benefit to weight loss. This is a flawed position without support. With the exception of the Washington post article I do not consider them valid sources. I believe in the sharing of information, but not the parroting of a viewpoint in this manner.

lin43
11-12-2011, 11:23 AM
For the record, I support both cardio and strength as components. I don't think one is "better" than the other, they are both needed, one without the other is less than optimal.
Still, I cannot walk away from the misinformation.

The articles you quote are riddled with errors. All are 2 or more years old. The Runner's World one that two of your links cite is seven years old. You quoted it verbatim in using the phrase "vastly oversold." These articles are hosted on sites that have a vested interest in running, and the position they take is that greedy trainers are out to sell you on strength exercises so that they make money, and that weights have little to no benefit to weight loss. This is a flawed position without support. With the exception of the Washington post article I do not consider them valid sources. I believe in the sharing of information, but not the parroting of a viewpoint in this manner.


I agree that there is bias inherent in the Runner's World source. However, I don't agree with the criticisms about the dates of the sources. In graduate school, my professors would not have had any problem with a two-year-old source. Also, I teach research, and I would consider a two-year-old source "recent" unless more recent research exists that that invalidates the two-year-old research. Even seven years old is not that dated.

However, I do like this 2011 article from the LA Times in which the author uses information from an expert source along with some common-sense reasoning:
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/16/health/la-he-fitness-muscle-myth-20110516

toastedsmoke
11-12-2011, 11:45 AM
Personally, I think the best combination is the one that you will actually stick to and do and maybe possibly someday, even enjoy. Especially without the external motivation of a trainer.

If you find a routine heavy on strength training something that you don't mind doing, then stick with that. If you prefer cardio, that's fine too. Don't feel like you have to do everything or that there's some magic formula. If your goal is weight loss and increased fitness, then as long as you're doing something you're going to stick with, you're on the right path. Find a balance that works for you. Don't force yourself to go to the gym 5+ times a week if it's going to become a burden that will stop you from going at all. Better to go for your light walks instead. Eventually, you might want to try classes on the days you DO go to the gym. Many of them have an excellent blend of strength and cardio and time passes quickly.

Personally, I'm not a huge strength-training fan (not because it's not effective, but because it feels like a punishment to me, personally, and it's not a challenge I enjoy). If I had to do a workout heavy on an activity like lifting for example, I probably would be less likely to find excuses not to work out. I do mostly cardio and a lot of workout videos which often include some strength work (mostly body weight exercises like squats and push ups, and light weights). I've also recently gotten really into kickboxing and use weighted gloves, wrist and ankle weights. That's pretty much it. But it might not be right for you. The best workout for weightloss is the one you will do.

Like everyone has said though, if weight loss is your goal, it's mostly diet. It is VERY possible to lose weight with limited to no exercise. As you get closer to goal weight it might be a little harder to create the necessary calorie deficit but it IS possible. So really any routine you'll stick to, will be a boost to your healthy diet plan.