Exercise! - Strength Training Better Than Cardio?

02-14-2013, 10:53 AM
Hi All,

I know lots of people talk about exercise here, and I'm trying to educate myself but wanted the group's opinion:

I am 5 '11 213 Ibs (on my way down to 165!), and have some knee trouble that I am hoping will reduce when I lose more weight. I'd like to start exercising, but lots of cardio aggravates it. I can do walking though, and enjoy it.

I was thinking about doing strength training (circuit?) 2-3x per week with some walking beforehand so I'm at least doing SOMETHING before I can do more substantial cardio, but wanted to get your opinion as to whether or not that would help/be worth it/help see results/not make me bulk up?

Thanks for your thoughts!

02-14-2013, 12:24 PM
I used to be a cardio queen - now I lift 3 days a week with no dedicated cardio. There is a tiny bit at the end of the program - 6x 30 second interval sets with a minute rest in between. No more hamster-in-a-ferris-wheel feeling! I have AS so I can relate to the joint pain, too.

Check out the series of books: New Rules of Lifting (for Women), (for Life), and the latest (Supercharged). You can get the latest on kindle/ibook and it has videos of the exercises. I was a newbie when I started this program so I needed every bit of help I could get.
There are threads dedicated to each version under the below 3FC area.

Good Luck!

02-14-2013, 01:04 PM
Do your strength training BEFORE your cardio (even if it is just walking) Doing cardio first negatively impacts your strength training routine, the results you get, etc etc.... you dont want to empty your glycogen stores BEFORE you do strength trianing or you wont reap the benefits, and are more likely to injure yourself

02-14-2013, 01:17 PM
Totally agree with mkroyer - do your strength training before you do your cardio. Strength training is anaerobic (your muscles don't actually use oxygen to power the movement), cardio is aerobic (they do). For anaerobic training you want all your available blood sugar and glycogen stores. For aerobic training you can basically use any fuel you've got(so, fat, haha). Strength training definitely goes first but make sure you do a little 5-10 minute warm up so your muscles aren't cold when you start.

Also, be prepared to stall in the first few weeks. Strength training is fabulous and will probably make you like your body more when you get down to your goal weight however, strength training also causes your muscles to retain water (especially in the beginning). The soreness you feel is lactic acid build up and your body wants to flush that out so it holds on to water. The scale might stall or it might even go up slightly. Do not panic if that happens. It's normal and your body will become better at repairing your muscles once you do it for a couple of weeks.

Oh, also, for you knee trouble (I'm not sure the nature of the injury) but if it's only painful during exercise it could be a tight IT band. Have you tried foam rolling? It worked wonders when my knee started acting up after my first half marathon.

02-14-2013, 02:10 PM
I do circuit resistance training and get the benefits of both cardio and resistance in a single workout. By rapidly moving from one set to the next, your heart rate will stay in a cardio zone. Other than hiking and walking my dog, which I do for enjoyment, I don't do anything for just cardio.

02-14-2013, 02:16 PM
Bulking only happens if you eat at a surplus so don't worry about that.

I think strength training is great, when I started as a total beginner my improvements were off-the-charts exponential, think being able to lift 5-10 pounds more on every lift every week. Coupled with the extreme DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and the fact I saw visible results and smaller pants within weeks, it will do wonders for you on a psychological level as well as physical.

ALSO you get to eat more and you can carry heavy stuff and it even makes cardio easier. No reason not to really :)

02-16-2013, 04:56 AM
I reckon some women bulk and others don't. This is probably entirely down to your genetics and your natural hormonal load and nothing you can do about it. Not that many women put on muscle mass easily, so I wouldn't worry about it. I do bulk, but I don't mind. In fact, I love it.

I personally think that there should be a mix of strength and cardio for good fitness, so one is not better than the other. But this is a question of 'why are you exercising'? Are you doing it to lose weight and look better or to be fit and functionally fit at that. Almost any recreational exercise involves some form of cardio endurance.

I honestly believe that the only way we can maintain this change of lifestyle is to find a physical activity that we love. Some people absolutely love lifting. Some people love kayaking or hiking, some love dance. Find your love.

I have taken up rugby and need a lot of strength and a lot of cardio - including sprinting. BTW - I wouldn't recommend this for weight loss, you have to drink a lot of beer and I'm starting to get quite beat up. Plus, in the position I play, my teammates want me to get fitter, but they won't be too happy if I lose too much weight.

I believe everyone should do strength training for good health, but you don't have to lift. But if you are a natural bulker and don't want it - try a very physical yoga or pilates.

PLUS - if you concentrate on building your leg muscles up, you'll find that your knee is better supported and less painful. Read up on this though and be careful - over-training can make things worse.