Exercise! - Confused about Cardio

View Full Version : Confused about Cardio

06-01-2006, 10:25 PM
Hello, Iím sorta new, and I have a quick question. If you need to lose lots of weight, is it better to do cardio for the first little bit and then in strength training. Iíve heard that itís the cardio that makes you lose the weight. All comments appreciated.

06-01-2006, 10:33 PM
Cardio is what burns the calories, and burns them fast! It's all about calories in vs. calories used... the faster you burn calories the faster you'll lose LBS. I think it's 3,000 something calories per lb? Strength training is awesome too because the stronger your muscles are the faster they will help you burn fat. I say do both! I run and do pilates... The running burns the calories and the Pilates helps me tone everything up :) good luck with your goal!!!

06-01-2006, 10:50 PM
I like to mix mine up. The more muscle you have the more you can eat. Cardio is good for you heart and overall heatlh and it's helped me to lose weight pretty fast. But I also like to add some weight training in.

06-01-2006, 11:06 PM
Well...before I added strength training I was losing about 2 inches and 2 - 3 lbs a month. After I added strength training just 90 mins a week spread out over 3 30 min routines, along with the cardio, I lost 6 lbs in 3 weeks and 9 1/2 inches after the first 2 weeks. Then 8 inches the next two weeks with 6 additional pounds after the next 3 weeks and then I lost about 6 inches the next time and then it got to be less, but let me tell you, It really made a difference for me. You burn more calories and fat when you have muscle. Even when you're sleeping and eating and just doing every day things, you burn more fat. Muscle rules!

06-02-2006, 12:36 AM
It is suggested to do both, cardio burns the fat but weights build muscle, and muscle consumes more calories per hour than fat so your body will burn up more calories on its own every day the more muscle you have. Doing strength training or something like yoga or pilates that helps to tone your body will also help your skin "fit" your body as you lose weight, so you have less of a chance of having saggy skin.

One pound equals 3500 calories, so if you can consume 250 less calories per day and burn 250 per day through exercise then you can lose 1lb per week, or consume 500 less per day and burn 500 a day, would be 2lbs/wk. You may not see weight loss right away however...you will gain weight when you build muscle but muscle is denser and smaller than fat so you will lose inches, so measure yourself as well. Your body will balance itself out after a while however and then you will steadily lose pounds and inches.

If your going to do strength training, you should never work the same body part two days in a row, you can divide it and do like arms one day, legs the next, abs the next or like I prefer do full body 3x per week, like monday, wednesday and friday.

06-02-2006, 02:22 AM
Ditto. I made the mistake of just doing cardio when I started, more because I was scared of weight training. I did get shown around the machines, but I was incredibly unconfident, and found it difficult to remember what to do.

It was only when I started visiting here and asking for advice that I got the confidence to tell the instructor at my gym how lost I was, and he made me a simplified program with free weights, and the machines that were easier (like leg press) but also showed me alternatives without the machine, for busy gym times.

Now I tend to design my own weight routines every six to eight weeks. I tend to do a full body program rather than splits (where you do say legs one day and then upper body another) because I'm busy. I aim for weights two days a week, and some type of cardio six days a week.

I've started running, which in my opinion is incredibly difficult and I don't love it yet, but it's so convenient, because you don't need a gym to do it!! I'm still quite big, so I tend to run at 5 in the morning so no one sees me!!! :D

06-02-2006, 10:22 AM
First, a couple of things about the use of the word ďcardioĒ.

There really are only 2 types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic.

When you do aerobic exercise, it means that youíre body has enough oxygen to keep you going at the intensity that you are currently at. When you do anaerobic exercise, your body does not have the necessary oxygen at that time to keep you going, so it has to use other energy systems to keep you going. And the two systems donít work separately, meaning, you tend to be doing aerobic with increments of anaerobic mixed in at times, and anaerobic with increments of aerobic mixed in.

For example, you start a walk outside and you are walking at a slow pace. Youíre not getting fatigued because your aerobic system has plenty of oxygen to keep at that intensity. But then you pick up the intensity and start walking faster, or maybe even into a run. Youíre anaerobic systems start to kick in since youíre aerobic system hasnít taken in the oxygen needed to support that new intensity. So you start breathing in more air, the heart starts pumping faster, and oxygen is being moved quicker to your muscles. After a little bit, youíre aerobic system has adapted to the new intensity and the anaerobic system decreases itís energy output, since the aerobic system is able to handle the new intensity.

You tend to use the anaerobic system more during high intensity, short duration activities that give you short burst of energy. Examples are when you are doing something like a 100-meter sprint, or lifting weights. Youíll use the anaerobic system to perform those activities, and then the aerobic system will kick in to help with the recovery.

Second, on to the issue of losing weight using aerobic or anaerobic, aka ďcardio vs lifting weights.Ē

Thereís a method after you workout for how your body recovers called Excess Post-Exercise Consumption (EPOC). Basically, after you are done working out, youíre body still needs an increased amount of oxygen than what you needed prior to working out in order to recover and repair the damage done to the muscle and nervous system. The longer this EPOC period lasts, the more calories you are going to burn in order to repair that damage.

So if you did something like a steady state run, after you are done, youíll have an EPOC period of probably a couple of hours which may involving burning letís say 100 more calories. But, after you get done strength training, your EPOC could last from anywhere between 12-48 hours, and could involve the burning a several hundred more calories because the repair that is needed for the muscles and nervous system are much more extensive than it was with a steady state run.

This is why more and more information is coming out and determining that the best fat loss methods involves some type of strength training along with interval training. In interval training you, are using short bouts of high intensity movements, with rest intervals to recover (like a full sprint for 30 seconds, with a recovery of a walk for 2 minutes, then repeat). Because you are using a high intensity movement for a short duration of time, itís causing more damage to the muscle and nervous system that requires a longer period of time for recovery than a long steady state exercise.

Another thing. Donít think that when you are doing strength training that you are not doing ďcardio.Ē If you are using a fairly moderate intensity, youíll find that youíre gasping for air in between sets.:)

Michael Navin, CSCS

06-02-2006, 10:51 AM
thanks for the info michael.

i have another reason for strength training-- i love looking in the mirror at the gym and seeing my muscles! the visible benefits motivate me to keep plugging along.