Many of us are under the notion that cardio is the best way to drop unwanted pounds. In fact, when I begin training a female client they tend to complain about strength training. They say "I'm really interested in losing weight, not in bulking up." Friend, I'm not sure who started this rumor that cardio makes you thin and weight training makes you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I'm here to convince you otherwise. Let's take a look at how the two stack up:
Cardio-you burn 10-12 calories a minute running or cycling, but as soon as you step off that treadmill or bike your body returns to it's normal metabolic rate.
Strength training- you burn 8-10 calories a minute lifting weights, BUT your metabolism remains elevated for an hour after a weights workout. Following a strength training session you will continue to burn an additional 25% of the calories you just torched. Also, for every 3 lbs of muscle you build you'll burn an extra 120 calories per day, even if you are just sitting on a couch. Over the course of a year that adds up to a hefty ten pounds of fat.
Now, lets look at a few of the main benefits of strength training:
-weight maintenance- strength training can increase your metabolism by 15%.
-increases HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases LDL (bad cholesterol)
-lowers risk of breast cancer by reducing high estrogen levels
-decreases risk of catching colds and other illnesses
-lowers high blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD)
-increases bone density. Bones become more brittle as we age, leading to diseases like osteoporosis. Many of you may think all you need to avoid bone loss is a gallon of milk, but exercise is also an important part of the equation for keeping healthy bones. How will exercise help this? Resistance exercises like plyometrics and lifting weights send your bones a message to lay down more collagen tissue to help meet the resistant force. So put down that milk jug and grab a pair of dumbbells!
-wards off depression and anxiety. Exercising causes your brain to release feel good chemicals like seratonin, a neurotransmitter that improves symptoms of depression. A study in Denver, Colorado found that strength training has a 20% greater effect on reducing anxiety than cardio.
The list could go on and on. Now I'm not saying to eliminate cardio completely. I love to zone out during a good run, but sometimes the importance of resistance workouts is overlooked. Hopefully this blog post inspires you to mix things up and hit the weights. If you don't know where to begin, give us a call. Mention that you read this article and we will give you a free introductory 45 minute session. You will learn some great exercises and experience what Fitness 51 is all about.