Cardio and weight lifting are two different types of workouts. If you have ever stepped foot into the gym, you are aware of this situation that most people are confused about whether to choose cardio or weight lifting for weight loss and overall fitness. You just grab the best shoes for weight training and cardio and get ready to start a new way of training.
Until a few years back, physical trainers suggested one of these two for weight loss. However, the times are changing and so do the methods of getting lean and fit. According to physical trainers and dietitians, you have to blend weight training and cardio to get the best result out of your fitness routine.
I know many of you might find it difficult to blend these different kinds of workout into a routine; that’s why I have come up with this blog on how to balance weight lifting and cardio.
Before jumping into the blending process, let’s discuss weight training and cardio in detail.
What is weight training?
Strength training, weight training, or resistance training is responsible for building muscles and making them stronger. As the name suggests, it involves training your strength against resistance. Here, resistance means different kinds of tools and varieties of equipment, such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, ab crunchers, weight plates, and resistance bands.
Also, you can perform these exercises free-hand by holding up your body against gravity and by using your own bodyweight to your benefit.
Some of the highly popular free-hand bodyweight training exercises, such as push-ups, pullups, lunges, and planks, are highly effective for bodyweight training.
What difference does it make for weight loss?
Like any other exercise plan, weight training or resistance training also burns many calories. However, much to your surprise, you will lose a bit fewer calories from the weight training than you can from a cardio session.
So the question arises, why should we do weight training?
Although weight-lifting causes less calorie burn than cardio exercises, it is beneficial for your weight loss goal in other ways. Our body muscles have a higher metabolic rate than body fat, so your resting metabolic rate will increase if you train your body to develop muscles. Simply put, if you work on developing your muscles, your body will automatically burn more calories than before.
Although the difference it makes is barely marginal, even the small change can lead to a big difference if you look at the numbers.
Weight training is extremely helpful to develop and retain the muscles in shape, especially if you are on a strict diet plan. Whenever you try to lose weight by following a strict diet chart, you lose fat as well as body mass. Here swoops in weight training because it helps you burn fat and also retain the muscles. Recent research has found out that weight training increases bone density. As most women come with genetically less bone density, weight training is extremely helpful for them.
Also, weight training makes your body lean and muscular at the same time, giving you an enviable shredded physical attire.
What Is Cardio?
Cardiovascular activities, simply known as cardio, are movement-based exercises based on pumping your heart rate up and using oxygen to turn carbs into body fuel. This kind of exercise is done in a continuous motion to make your heart rate go up and then calm down to make blood flow better.
All kinds of aerobic activities are considered cardio exercises. This is the most common and popular exercising method all around the world. You can divide cardio exercises into two specific types: steady motion cardio and HIIT or High-intensity interval training.
- Steady motion cardio: As the name suggests, steady motion cardio or aerobic exercises are when you perform an exercise such as cycling, running, jogging, or walking while keeping your heart rate in a steady progression. According to fitness experts, cardio exercises with increased heart rates between 65% and 75% are considered steady motion cardio exercises.
- High-intensity interval training: You can guess this kind of exercise by the name itself. High-intensity interval training involves various kinds of aerobic and cardio exercises in a particular time frame with very short to no interval timing. HIIT exercises are very popular these days among people who want to lose weight. In this type of exercise, you work your heart rate between 75% and 95%. These workouts are less time consuming and growing in popularity among busy people.
What difference does it make for weight loss?
Generally speaking, cardio exercises are the most common and popular training medium to lose weight. Scientific studies have shown different cardio exercises almost every time, beat weight-lifting in terms of weight loss.
The best thing about cardio exercises is that you won’t get drained so easily, and you will be able to perform for a long time if you do it at a moderate speed. This means more calorie burn and fat loss. Some people find difficulty in lifting weights, so cardio is the ideal choice for them. Doctors recommend cardiovascular exercises to people with hypertension, joint pain, and obesity.
Obviously, HIIT is more effective than steady motion cardio exercise. You can perform running, jumping, lunges, squats, fast walking, squat jumping and various other workouts in just a few minutes, so naturally, they burn more calories and are effective in weight loss.
Also, HIIT became more popular because it doesn’t take much time, and you can perform it almost anywhere. Nowadays, fitness trainers are mixing HIIT exercises with strength exercises, such as running or jumping with weight.
Cardio exercises promote rebreathing, thus channelizing more oxygen to our body, resulting in faster weight loss.
How to Balance Weight Lifting and Cardio?
Usually, most people stick to either weight lifting or cardio exercise. So, people struggle while combining them. First, here are some tips for balancing weight lifting and cardio.
- Decide Your Type
Before jumping right into your training session, you should learn what your type is. If you are more comfortable with cardio exercises, prioritize them. On the other hand, if you prefer lifting weights, then make this a priority.
Consult with your physical trainer and create a sustainable schedule for the week. Include weight training and cardio on separate days. For example, if you are accustomed to weight training, then keep three days for weight training and 2 days for cardio.
- Make Yoga a Habit
Yoga is the bridge between weight training and cardio. It is a perfect combination of both. Plus, yoga relaxes and stretches your muscles and relieves joint pain. As you are starting out with another new method of exercising, a day of yoga practice will relieve the pain.
So, keep a day for yoga practice so that you can rewind your body.
- Set a Goal
Setting a goal always gives you something to look forward to. As you are new to either weight lifting or cardio exercise, starting a new thing will be a little off-putting. A goal will give you a purpose to look up to. Don’t think far, instead set a goal for the first week. Go slow but steady, and you will get adjusted to the new norms in no time.
- Eat Properly
You were only following one kind of exercise plan till now. Now that you are combining weight lifting and cardio exercises, you should maintain a proper diet. You need to eat a lot more protein than before as you will burn more calories. Don’t neglect your food and if needed, consult a dietitian to make a proper diet plan.
- Go Easy on Lifting
This is for you if you are weight lifting for the first time. Weight lifting seems easy on instagram reels, but believe me, lifting is way harder than you can think. Sure, you will be able to pick up dumbbells easily, but while lifting barbells, go easy on yourself. Start with a lower weight plate and gradually increase the weight.
Hold the rod properly and do it in the presence of your trainer in the initial days.
Balancing weight lifting and cardio may seem weird and lots of work at first, but it will get easier with time. The only secret is that you have to stick to it.
Prepare yourself for the training sessions and get ready to meet a new you!
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