If you ask someone what’s better?
- Apples versus Oranges?
- Chocolate Mousse versus Crème Brulee?
- Brad Pitt versus Tom Hanks?
- Batman versus Spiderman?
Then you’ll get as many answers as there are people – because it’s not a level comparison. Really, it’s about preferences – different strokes for different folks. And that’s why some people swear by Cardio & others by Strength Training.
But You? What should you be basing your choice on?
And therefore spending your precious energy on, for maximum results?
Let’s first see, how are Cardio & Strength Training different?
Not many people know that different kinds of exercises summon & use different sources/forms of energy. For instance, Cardio Exercises are an Aerobic form of workout, and literally mean ‘with oxygen’, whereas Strength or Resistance Exercises are a form of Anaerobic workout, employing an energy cycle that does not require oxygen.
They also differ when it comes to the utilization of muscles for exercising. We all have two kinds of muscle fibers which are different basis how quickly they can contract – Slow Twitching Muscle Fibers & Fast Twitching Muscle Fibers. Slow Twitching Fibers have large amounts of mitochondria and are resistant to fatigue and capable of sustaining aerobic metabolism – namely, they are more efficient. Fast Twitching Fibers are high on glycolytic enzymes and therefore have the great anaerobic capacity.
So in layman’s terms, we use and develop Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers for Cardio while Fast Twitch Fibers are utilized for Strength Training.
Now, let’s examine your Goals?
Ultimately, your path is always determined by your destination. Meaning, your choice between Cardio & Strength Training is dependent on your goals.And our readers can largely be divided into those who want to Lose Weight and those who want to develop their Fitness.
And if your goals are to lose weight, then Cardio is the way to go!
Minute for minute, Cardio burns more calories than Strength Training, which is why compared to those who focus on Strength Training, those who focus on Aerobic Exercising will lose more weight in less time (this has been borne out by a recent Duke University study as well)
Cardio can be in the form of long runs, dance aerobics, Zumba, cycling, walking, stair climbing, elliptical training, rowing, or even something like MIIT (a term which I have created – a variation on High-Intensity Interval Training) where Moderate Intensity is used in place of High-Intensity workouts. This is because as an experienced fitness professional, I strongly believe that most normal people do not require very high-intensity training and that it leads to more injuries and problems.
The only problem is that Cardio does not serve your muscles well.
For example, in a recent study, those performing Cardio Training lost weight overall – but unfortunately also lost weight from muscle mass – whereas those performing Strength Training lost pure fat and developed their Lean Body Mass. (For your information, Lean Body Mass is the weight of a person’s body minus the weight of fat, which is basically muscles, bones, and other non-fat tissue. And why you should care is that any change in your lean body mass can dramatically affect your appearance, even if your total body weight doesn’t change)
So if your goals are to develop Fitness in terms of building muscle, then Strength Training is your road.
It develops your Lean Body Mass & reduces your Body Fat Percentage. And even better, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn even as you sleep. Also, while a person doing Cardio will develop a leaner look whereas a person performing Strength Training will always develop a more toned and ‘sculpted’ look.
Now from a health perspective, my personal view is that you require both – Cardio AND Strength Training. And here’s why…
- Cardio will increase the oxygenation of your blood, increase the stroke volume capacity of the amount of blood your heart pumps out per heartbeat and reduce your resting heart rate and therefore the stress on your heart. It will also produce vascularization and help in the production of new capillaries in your body, making new pathways for your blood to nourish you.
- Strength Training will reduce the proportion of body fat to lean body mass ratio, providing more strength, fitness, health and great cosmetics for your body.
So, the moral of the story here is to know what you want! Now if only it was that easy!
For MIIT (Medium Intensity Interval Training) Programs, contact Manika Mookerjee on email@example.com