People often get confused about what kind of exercise they should be doing. Cardio or weightlifting?

It’s a common belief that doing only cardio will make you lose weight super fast. On the other hand, weightlifting will make you look bulky instantly. A fear, which is reason enough to not lift weights for tons of women.

So, let’s discuss which exercise type is most suitable for your goals 🙂

But before that, let’s take a look at what actually is Cardio and Weightlifting and what kind of benefits there are.

What is Cardio?

Cardiovascular exercise (or aerobic training) is a type of physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy supply of the body.

It brings your heart rate up to at least 50% of its intensity and is being performed over a slightly longer period of time (at least 12 minutes). It burns a lot of calories and is therefore suitable for weight loss.

Examples of cardio would:

  • Walking (the easiest form of cardio)
  • Running (long distance)
  • Bike riding or cycling
  • Cross trainer
  • Jumping ropes
  • HIIT (High-intensity interval training)

What is the aerobic metabolism?

This type of exercise refers to the use of oxygen in the body and burns energy via aerobic metabolism. Unlike anaerobic metabolism (used when doing sprints or strength training), your body is able to break down not only glucose but also fats and protein. This type of exercise burns more calories

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What is weightlifting or strength training?

Strength training or lifting weights is the activity of lifting heavy barbells and other forms of heavy things with the intention of gaining strength and muscle mass. There are a lot of different exercise types (like Push, Pull, etc.) with tons of variations.

Benefits

  • Building more muscles mass will prevent you from getting injured, as you will improve your body’s functionality, reaction speed, strength and by protecting your bones
  • Muscles are a calorie burning machine. When you have more muscles your body will need to burn a lot more energy to keep them fueled. Even while sitting, sleeping or watching TV, your body will burn a lot more calories on a daily basis.
  • It promotes long-term fat-loss and avoids the Yo-Yo effect.
  • Intense exercise increases the levels of dopamine, endorphin, and noradrenalin, which helps prevent mental issues, like depression and anxiety.

This form of physical exercise of high intensity being performed shortly that depends mostly on the anaerobic energy supply of the body.

What is the anaerobic metabolism?

When you lift heavy weights you normally get your heart rate up at least 85% of its intensity. In that state, your body uses energy via the anaerobic metabolism, it burns only carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen and creates byproducts like lactic acids. 

“This occurs when the lungs cannot put enough oxygen into the bloodstream to keep with the demands of your muscles for energy.” (source).

In this state, glucose and glycogen cannot be fully broken down, thus lactic acid is being produced.

Lactic acid is the bitch, which amongst others burns like crazy in our muscles and produces muscle soreness.

What type of exercise is better suited for you?

Whether you should do cardio, weightlifting or a mixture of both is always a question of your personal goal and personal preferences.

Let’s take a look at some of the most typical goals.

1. I want to build more muscle mass

If your goal is to build more muscle mass you need to lift weights. And, forget about cardio, haha.

Start with bodyweight exercises and work your way up to basic compound movements, like squats, deadlifts and bench press, etc.

  • If you are new to bodyweight exercises and muscle building you can download my free 7-day workout program.

There is no perfect number for anything, but here are my personal tips for gaining muscle:

  • Do around 5 sets of 4-10 reps
  • Do compound movements (squats, deadlifts, etc.) and try to challenge yourself by adding more weight each time
  • Add variations of exercises – they are awesome for stressing the muscle on different ways
  • Do isolated exercises (Hip thrusts, lateral raises, etc.) as well and perform more reps of these (12-20)

2. I want to lose weight

Here is the tricky thing with losing weight: Everyone thinks that they should only stick to cardio. But that’s not the case, people.

Cardio is awesome for burning a lot of calories. However, pay attention. Because it could happen that your body will “almost digest” all of your muscle mass and you will end up looking not so good.

Thin, but still fat, you know what I mean? Haha

Therefore it is so important to do a mixture of cardio and weight lifting if you want to have optimal results.

  • Weight lifting will make sure you got enough muscle mass to prevent injury and sustain healthy bones while making your body look damn good.
  • Cardio will burn more calories and bring your closer to your weight loss goal.

I would suggest doing a full body workout 2-3x a week, combined with 3x 30-40 minutes of cardio.

You can also go for long walks if that’s your thing. Walking is awesome because it isn’t intensive, but still burns many calories. It is calming, as well.

Final note

I hope this blog post helped you decide on the right exercise for you!

If you have any questions, or if you have another goal I didn’t mention in this blog post, you can send me an email or comment below.

Make sure to download the 7-days workout program, it will help you get closer to your goal!

Thanks for reading! I wish you an energized day,

xx Hana

2. Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

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