Balancing cardio and weight training

There are vast resources of information on fitness training on the internet, at your local gym, countless books and DVD’s. With all this readily available info is a mix of good, bad, and ugly. Your time to workout is important and often a carefully guarded place in your calendar each week.  No one wants to spend that time inefficiently or worse, losing optimum fitness as a result of “doing it wrong”. So it is important to sort through the good and bad info and come up with a plan that is balanced, time effective, and produce your fitness goals.

It is common to see people at gyms going at it endlessly on the treadmill or other cardio machine hour after hour, day after day. Months later, their body fitness level has not really changed despite these hour long sessions 3-4 times a week. This type of gym rat rarely hits the weight and often does cardio that does not promote fat loss.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 5.38.24 PMThis kind of training regimen is founded in myths and a misunderstanding of how to combine cardio and strength training to make the most of each workout (ie: getting in a full body strength and cardio session in 30 minutes or so.)

Traditional cardio is obviously important for good heart health, increases blood circulation, increases metabolism, improves your hormonal profile, relieves stress, and also burns calories.  Once you stop, however, the bodies’ calorie burning mode slows down almost completely.  On the other hand, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is a more efficient type of cardio that keeps your heart rate up for up to 48 hours after your workout and greatly increases your EPOC – as explained below.

Regardless of what kind of cardio you choose to do, strength training needs to be an equally important part of your workout equation.  Strength training not only builds muscle as a result of the challenge to the muscle groups, but it also produces an after-burn long after you are done working out, like HIIT cardio.  This is known as the Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Resistance training builds muscle, but that very muscle building process burns more fat and calories even while you are resting and sleeping. In other words, you body continues to burn calories after a workout.

For you ladies, strength training will NOT build bulky muscles unless that is your specific plan and your workout routine is designed for that.  It typically takes months to years of training very specifically for bulking in order to build large muscle mass as a woman.  Building bulk is not the result of simply starting a healthy resistance training program.

If you aren’t sure how to incorporate strength training and cardio into your workouts, our classes show you how to combine strength and HIIT cardio into short workouts that produce these amazing EPOC benefits for 24-48 hours after each workout.  This is how our clients get steady and consistent results.

If you want to transform your body, improve your heart health, increase metabolism, burn fat, and gain tone and definition, it is critical to balance cardio and resistance training. Keep it balanced, keep it fun, and keep doing it!