Weights vs. Cardio debate is an old one. And right from the get-go, we will tell you our opinion; there are no winners here. Weights and cardio go hand in hand, and both should be a central part of your workout routine. However, in this article we will try to go a layer deeper into this question, trying to explain to you what are the benefits of both. Stay tuned.
Why would you lift weights?
There are some obvious benefits of weight training such as getting stronger, looking better (which will raise your self-esteem) and fitting into smaller/larger clothes sizes. However, here are some a little less obvious reasons why you should hit those gym weights:
Health improvements - numerous studies show that strength training fights diabetes regulates insulin levels, reduces inflammation, reduces cancer risk, improves bone density, has a positive influence on blood pressure, and significantly reduces stress. It will also help you sleep much better, and it will even fight depression, reduce Alzheimer's risks and improve overall cognitive function. All that with gym training? Exactly.
You will burn even more fat - this is probably what interests you the most, as it correlates with cardio. Numerous studies have shown that lifting weights helps burning pure fat. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. However, it is not just about losing weight. You want to lose fat, not muscle. To do that, you have to add strength training along with your diet. That way, your body will get a signal telling it that it should not burn muscles since they are involved in regular activities. It will burn fat instead. In fact, research shows that people who exercised burned 40% more fat compared to people who followed exactly the same diet, while their total weight loss remained about the same.
You will burn more calories - muscles are "expensive" since they need a lot of calories to survive. As you weight train, your muscles get damaged, and your body triggers a repair system to help them recover and grow stronger. The whole process burns a lot of calories. In fact, the metabolism stays activated around 40 hours after your weight workout. That is why all old-school training plans recommend exercising once every two days. However, this "afterburn" effect is not all - your body burns enormous amounts of calories during your workouts too, especially if you go hard.
You will slow down the aging process - as we grow older, we lose muscle mass, especially fast-twitch muscle fibers, which decline by up to 50%. Weights fight this process, turning back the clock. Your muscles will not decay as fast if you actively use them as you train. We have already mentioned the positive effects pumping iron has on the bone density, but it also benefits connective tissue as well, such as ligaments and tendons.
Why would you do cardio?
Now let's talk about some benefits of cardio training:
The obvious - cardiovascular exercises promote heart health, as the name suggests. When you jog, cycle, swim, or row, your heart rate rises, you breathe faster, sweat more over an extended period of time. All that will result in a stronger heart and lungs, which are some of the most important organs in our bodies. Basically, cardio is training for the most important muscle in your body - the heart. We can't stress enough how important it is. Furthermore, if you have diabetes, cardio training will help you control blood sugar levels, preventing sudden spikes.
Fat-burning - the most probable reason why you run that treadmill in the first place is to burn fat. Cardio does exactly that. There are different approaches to it, and whether you choose HIIT or you go old-school and stay in the fat burning choice, it is up to you. No matter what your preferred type is, cardio will burn fat. Just try not to go too aggressive. The best approach is gradual - add more time and intensity as your condition gets better.
Decreases recovery times - low-tempo cardio can cut the recovery time, or in other words how long it takes for your muscles to recover before you can work them out again entirely. Go for a walk immediately after a weight workout. It will help you go over muscle soreness the next day, and also help oxidize the muscles which will augment the repair and building process.
As we said in the beginning, both cardio and weights are equally important. The benefits of both are immense, so try not to choose between them. You have the time, don't lie to yourself. 3x per week is all it takes to be reasonably healthy.
Don't have time to go to the gym? A home gym is a solution. For cardio, a simple jump rope and burpees will be fine. As for the strength training, find the best weights for sale in the whole of Ireland on this address. Get a simple pair of dumbbells for starters. It will be more than enough to get you going. With just a jump rope and adjustable dumbbells, you will be able to train your whole body. No excuses.