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Cardio or Weights? The Winner Is….

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Coffee or tea?

Blackberry or iPhone?

Jack or Jill?

Cardio or weights?

Should we make a choice, or is it perfectly fine to take a little from column A and a little from column B?

Seems that as always, the choice is a bit more complicated than that…read on to discover that although some people are ditching their heart rate monitors altogether, it might always be best to dabble in both sides, or at least never say never.

1. TO BLAST FAT: CARDIO: Calorie for calorie, cardio burns more calories while you’re on the hamster wheel.  For Instance, running can burn 10-12 cals/minute, and weights more like 10 cals/minute) But cardio only burns cals WHILE you’re running, and ends pretty much when you stop.  IF  you are doing intervals or Tabatta-type cardio training, then you can burn a lot more, BUT then again, you could apply Tabatta protocol to anything, even weights!cardio

WEIGHTS: Resistance training provides a greater afterburn because because your muscles are working hard to recover and assimilate all those great calories and grams of carbohydrates and proteins that you’ll refuel with post-workout.  Whether or not you’re a Tabatta-junkie, or just a regular 3-sets-of-15 missionary-style lifter, your muscles will still require more calorie-cuddle time after, making for greater metabolic results. . .


2. TO KILL STRESS: CARDIO: Everyone knows how amazing you can feel after an hour on the treadmill or jamming to your freshest tunes on the step mill.  Happy scientists have figured our that just 15m of aerobic activity two to three times per week can reduce anxiety, and three to five times per week can reduce fatigue. Cardio elevates seratonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that improves symtoms of depression.  The world can all use a little more serotonin!

WEIGHTS– The verdict is still out on intensity and duration of weight training that would produce the same mood altering effects as the cardio studies have proven.  More research is needed to see whether weight training can match the mood altering effects of cardio.  Smile at a powerlifter next time you’re at the gym and see what it yields to get your answer, but for now… WINNER is: CARDIO

3. TO STAY IN THE GAME (avoid injury): CARDIO: The repetitive nature of cardio puts pressure on joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons AND cartilage in between them. Yikes!  But the overall workload is lower per joint system, when compared to heavy weight training.

WEIGHTS: A balanced training regime using moderate weights can strengthen the entire body, cardiovascularly too, if done correctly and increases are made slowly and carefully. If weights are too heavy, movements are uncontrolled, or there are existing imbalances in your muscular system, then weights can exacerbate these problems.

Isometrics, however, is an amazing alternative to both, and if you don’t have a clue where to start with your iso’s, a little help from my friends at can help! Also, see BLOG ENTRY #6 on the Isometrics Training System and learn how and where you can stay strong and injury free no matter what life throws at you.


4. TO LOVE WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE NAKED: CARDIO:  Some people love jumping off their cardio machines feeling sweaty, with a relaxed mind, less anxiety and overall happier individuals…and others just want to go postal while they’re watching the minutes pass by.

WEIGHTS: Others prefer the moving of big things, grinding out those few last reps feeling strong and powerful and are more satisfied with weight training.

Whichever method pushes your buttons, the fact remains that cardio will never build and harden your muscles the way weight training will, but a bad mood won’t motivate you to get your butt there…grab your tunes, start walking, pump lots when you get to the gym. To look good naked….


Your best body yet is waiting for you still, and if you’re already living in your Shangra-La, then keep it beautiful, whether you’re on team cardio or team weight training, there’s always room to play.


ARTICLE BY: Jules Lieff, Owner, FitOrganix



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