You have scheduled an hour long session at the gym. How do you make the most out of it?
– Should you focus on running on the treadmill for 45 minutes and spend 15 minutes lifting weights & working on your core?
– Should you spend 45 minutes on weights and core exercises & 15 mins on aerobic exercises?
Personally, I find that if you have a similar body type to mine, (not stick skinny but not too round) then most days you should focus on weight training with 15-20 mins of cardio. 1-2 days a week I would also go for 30-45 minute runs to build up my endurance as I play a team sport which requires good aerobic capacity. I am no way near being a personal trainer or being a total fitspo – but I want to share with you what seems to work for me.
Why Weights over Cardio?
1) More muscles = More calories burnt (at all times – even when resting)
After weight training, you will continue burning calories hours after working out, even in your sleep. I watched a program about exercise on the discovery channel and found out that we actually burn the most calories 3-4 hours post-work out instead of during our work out. 1 pound of muscle will burn 6 calories a day, whereas 1 pound of fat will only burn 2 calories a day. A person with a higher muscle mass can be burning 50-70 more calories a day than compared to a person with less muscles just by sitting down!
2) Improves balance and overall body strength
You will have a stronger back as well as stronger legs and arms. It benefits day to day activities and overall functionality.
3) Less repetitive and more time efficient
I find aerobic training takes up a lot of time and it gets quite boring staring out the window for 45 mins as you run on the treadmill or cycle on the bike. On the other hand, strength training has more variations as there are more things you can do. (Note: 10 mins of continuous rope skipping is equivalent to 30 mins of moderate treadmill running.)
If you want to get technical. Think of it this way. When we begin exercising, we rely on our glycogen stores for energy. GLUCOSE is the most immediate source of energy as it is the most readily available. However, once we have depleted our glycogen stores, we will start burning FAT. Say your body has 10 units of glucose, once you use it all up, your body will automatically turn to the STORED FAT in your body and burn that for energy instead. Of course we want to target FAT burning (that is how we lose weight). Doing short bursts of activities such as weight lifting, you are quickly burning out the fuel in your body and if you leave cardio exercise to the end, you will be burning fat instead of glucose. But if you start with cardio and run at a steady pace for 30-45 mins you’re still using up glucose but at a much slower pace.
During my uni days – I would spend literally 45 mins on the treadmill/bike/rowing machine and focus on cardio workouts then spend 15 mins on my core doing situps, planks and so forth. However, through reading various fitness articles, having spoken to personal trainers as well as my brother (ex-body builder) I realised that I should incorporate more weight training into my work-out routine. My aim is to have an athletic body shape – I like to have muscles and be toned. Therefore, weight training is essential to build muscle. Obviously we can’t stick to a rule of doing lots and lots of strength training but no aerobic training. You need to mix it up a bit. I find many body builders who are stacked with muscles don’t have much aerobic capacity which is not ideal if you want a healthy body.
1) Warm up – 3-5 mins on the rowing machine (level 10, rowing at 40m/s or above ) Remember to keep a good posture and maintain good technique!!
2) Weights and Core training 30-40 mins (free weights, lat pull downs, squatting with weights, planking, one sided planks, toe crunches etc)
3) Interval training/ Rope skipping – 15-20 mins
4) Cool down – 3-5 mins on treadmill
Work out completed ;)
Remember to change up your routine from time to time, otherwise you won’t see much improvement. Your muscles have memory and once your body is used to the intensity of your work out, you will see a plateau in your improvement.
And of course your diet is the most important. Weight loss is 70% Diet, 30% Exercise. Some of my friends have lost a ton of weight just through dieting (clean eats, cutting out the bad stuff). But if you want to have a toned, athletic body, then incorporating exercise is a must. Afterall, we don’t only want to physically look good, but also have healthy internal organs and a healthy heart right? ;)
What do you do in your workout? Have you seen quicker, more sustainable improvements by including strength training into your work out routine?
Have a fabulous weekend, until next time – Toodles!!
Lots of love from Tweedle D xoxoxoxo