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Cardio Or Strength Training

Cardio training and strength training should be done within the same workout for optimal results.


Recently I was watching a popular medical advice TV show when two audience members asked if they should do cardio or strength training in order to achieve optimal fitness results. Cardio OR strength training. I expected the show’s hosts to explain why a workout consisting of cardio AND strength training is important. Nope. They chose strength training as the superior training method. What?!

True, if I had to choose between one or the other I would agree that strength training is superior to cardio training for weight loss and practicality. Strict cardio training would melt away not only fat but also useful, fat-annihilating muscle and we use muscle more in our everyday lives than we do cardiovascular endurance. You may need to lift things at home or work, but you probably won’t need to out endure anything in day to day life. But fortunately for us, we are not limited to one type of training over another. We get the best benefits by using both cardio and strength training together.

As a personal trainer I must find ways to maximize the effectiveness of one-hour workouts. If my clients did only cardio training or only strength training, their results would be predictably incomplete. I have found that both types of training must be used in order to reach your fitness goals.

When I plan a workout for my clients, I prefer to use exercises that include both strength training and cardio training simultaneously. The kettlebell is in my opinion the single most effective tool to achieve this. For example, the kettlebell swing will work the legs, arms, back, and core while simultaneously increasing your heart to levels that resemble sprinting. And that is just one exercise.

When you are planning your own workouts you will get the most for your time by combining complimentary exercises into a circuit. An example would be to do 20 kettlebell swings followed by 10 push-ups, 30 seconds of jumping rope, and finishing with 10 inverted rows. That would be one circuit. Try to do five. During this circuit you would have worked the major muscle groups of your legs, arms, back, and core, and I promise that your heart will be screaming at the end of it. That is how you combine cardio and muscle strengthening exercises into one fat-burning, athlete building workout. So to answer those audience members, do both.

Josh Cormier is a Certified Personal Trainer and owner of North Atlantic Personal Training. Visit www.NorthAtlanticPT.com for more information or if you have any questions.

 

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gladys_kravitz September 03, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Great tips! But don't you think that diet is 1/3 of the equation? I have run 25-30 miles a week for years, but never was able to get rid of my last 10lbs that consistently hung around my belly. I introduced strength training about a year ago, along with eliminating most carbs from my diet and voila - lost those 10lbs. At 45, I am in the best shape of my life. I just started kettlebell training and I am excited to see what further changes I can see in my physique. I look forward to more from you.
Josh Cormier September 03, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Gladys, Congratulations on meeting your fitness goals! You are absolutely correct that diet is 1/3 of the equation. I believe that diet, deliberate physical activity (workout, sports, etc.), and incidental physical activity (what you do during the day outside of fitness training) are the three key components to meeting fitness goals. As you have learned, attention must be paid to all three in order to obtain optimal results. Good luck on your kettlebell training and let me know if you have any questions about using the kettlebell. Josh North Atlantic Personal Training

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