When it comes to exercise and fitness, the age old question is “What’s better for overall health: cardio or weights?”
“Weights” generally refer to what exercise experts call high resistance training. This usually involves using free weights, cable weights or bar weights as “resistance” to perform various exercises in sets or repetitions (“reps”). For example, when using a bench press, a person may do 3 sets of 10, which means he or she will press the bar up and down 10 times, rest for a few minutes, and then repeat for a total of three sets. The numbers of sets or reps can maximize efficiency or alter muscle growth depending on the individual and the amount of sets or reps.
“Cardio” generally refers to using one’s own body mass without additional weights (or very little weights) to engage in an exercise for a steady duration to increase pulse rate. Examples include swimming, running, biking, yoga etc. Most experts set agree performing a cardio exercise means increasing one’s heart rate to 50-70% of its maximum beats per minute for 20 minutes.
Basically the simple answer to the question “Cardio or Weight Training?” is:
Weight training helps build lean muscle which first increases muscle mass and gives athletes the “sculpted” or defined muscle look and second, helps burn more fat by percentage. This means, in a hypothetical situation, if an athlete does resistance training for 20 minutes and burns 500 calories, 60% of those calories will be derived from fat. Compared to if an athlete does 20 minutes of cardio training, they may burn more calories but only 50% of those calories will be derived from fat. This is mostly due to the fact that large amounts of lean muscle take so much upkeep in energy to maintain. So even after exercising, a person with 200 lbs of lean muscle will require more calories to maintain that muscle than someone with 150 lbs of lean muscle. And unless that person is constantly eating, that energy will come from stored body fat.
On the other hand, cardio is integral to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Heart health is enormously important in all aspects of general health. Also, cardio generally burns more calories during the duration of the actual exercise. To continue the previous example, if an athlete does resistance training for 20 minutes and cardio training for 20 minutes, generally cardio training will require more calories during the same time period.
To conclude, a well rounded exercise regimen with both cardio and weight training is the best bet. Spending 20 minutes a day 3 times a week performing a cardio exercise coupled with 20-30 minutes of resistance training 2-3 times a week has the optimum health benefits, promoting a heart healthy environment while building lean muscle.
Bonus Tip: Best Exercise Oils
Peppermint: Energize, Engage, Focus
Add a few drops of peppermint to you water bottle or apply a drop to your wrist or neck area prior to work out. Note: DO NOT wipe sweat from areas with oils to sensitive areas like eyes or nose while working out.
Use wintergreen topically post workout to soothe sore muscles.