Thursday, July 24, 2014

Training Thursday : Because There Is More than Cardio in a Fit Life

To do cardio or not?
That is the question!

The idea of cardio being the only physical activity for women is so widely spread that I find it scary. It is not like I am against it though. Far from that! However, the fact that it is frequently treated as the sole solution to all female fitness problems worries me.

Cardiovascular activities, or cardio as they are commonly called, have their importance in the path of a fit life. But how much of it do YOU really need?

Training Thursday : Because There Is More than Cardio in a Fit Life

When someone comes to the conclusion that they need/should lose weight for instance, what is the first thing that they think of? Cardio, isn't it? I thought so too in the beginning and I am pretty sure you did it as well, and maybe still do.

But how does the 'magic' of weight loss really happen? And why do people so easily associate it with spending countless hours on the treadmill?

Pounds (or kilos) start to melt from the moment that your intake is lower than your outtake. In other words, you are using more energy than you are consuming. For example, if you have just started a Couch to 5k program and decided to maintain your diet as-is, you will probably still lose weight because you will be burning extra calories. So far, so good. But let's face it: is it all? Is your ideal of a fit life to become a battery bunny?

No matter how much you vary your training, you will probably be doing the same repetitive moves over and over again. If you are trying just to do them faster, fine! But it will not be of that much use if you are willing to build your overall condition.

There is no point to lifting weights lighter than your purse.

After you leave that damn machine, take a refreshing shower and go home for your well-deserved meal, you will still burn calories. More calories than you would be burning doing the same activities (showering, driving, eating...) without the training. This window can last something from 2 to 14 hours according to different researches. After that, it is no more. Compared to weight training however, you can maximize this window up to 2 days (yes, I wrote it right: 2 DAYS!).

Strength training supports muscle growth. Muscle that you need to perform your simplest daily activities such as walking or lifting your kids. And if you by any chance still think that weight training is for bodybuilders, please, erase and rewind from your mind once and for all. Bodybuilding and Fitness is more than showing up at the gym on a daily basis. It is not by grabbing some dumbbells that you will become the next "big" thing in town.

Anyways, when putting together a basic weekly training schedule have the following in mind:
  • Strength training for at least 3 times - combine body parts wisely
  • 3-5 30-minute cardio sessions (including plyos) - the exact amount depends on your goals and opt for HIIT whenever possible
  • at least one rest day - muscles grow when you rest
Balance Your Workouts For Optimal Results
Back to the first paragraph: Do cardio or not? The answer is: Yay! However, do have in mind that it cannot be THE solution to your fit approach. Include other activities in your planning such as weight training, yoga and stretching. It is more than how much you weight. It is mainly about how you feel inside and out.

Needless to say that these are general facts. There are a lot of other aspects that should be taken into consideration when putting your workout together such as predispositions, health condition, metabolism and why not time, personal preference and availability. Whatever regimen you choose for yourself, stop immediately if you feel unwell and consult your MD to be sure it is not "something else". And if you are completely new to training, consult your doctor before starting!

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