Should I lift weights or do cardio?

That is the question!  lol

Well there are many different opinions as to whether doing cardio or lifting weights is more effective but since this is my blog I am going to offer mine 🙂

First of all I think it is important to do both!  I have had the most success with clients when they workout with me (lifting weights) 3 times a week for 1 hour and do cardio on their own 3 days a week (for at least 30 minutes).   Working out almost everyday kept them on track with their healthy eating, they felt energized, stayed lean and slept really well.

I personally do my best to exercise everyday-at least 3 days a week of strength training, 2-3 days of running/cardio, and I am still working on doing yoga AT LEAST 20 minutes everyday.  I find this very manageable and gets me the best results 🙂

On the other hand I think that if I were to decide whether an hour of lifting weights or an hour of cardio is more effective for individuals trying to lose fat I would have to say LIFTING WEIGHTS in the winner!  The reason for this is because the moment you step off the elliptical or the treadmill you stop burning calories.  After a strength training workout your body continues to burn calories long after exercise as your body is working hard to repair itself.  Also, being a personal trainer I firmly believe that my service (which is helping guide my clients through 1 hour strength training workouts) are most effective and would choose lifting weights (for my clients workouts and my own) over doing cardio anyday! 🙂

The most important thing to remember when deciding whether to lift weights or do cardio is to MIX IT UP!  So if you are the type to go to the gym and do an hour of cardio and then 15 minutes of abs 4 days a week GREAT-but just remember in order for your body to change you need to CHALLENGE your body.  So instead of going through the motions and doing an activity you could do forever (cardio!) try doing a full body workout with weights like this one–>

Squats or Leg Press 3 sets of 15 (at a weight that is 7-8 level of difficulty for all exercises)

Chest press with dumbbells (lying on a bench) or Push ups 3×12-15

Walking or stationary lunges with dumbbells (or your body weight) 3×12-15

Pulldowns or Seated Rows 3×12-15

Step ups on a bench (with dumbbells if you wish) 3×12-15

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder press or machine shoulder press 3×12-15

Lying leg raises or hanging leg raises 3×12-15

Standing bicep curls (barbell or dumbbells) 3×12-15

Bench dips (triceps) or rope tricep pushdowns/extensions 3×12-15

Back extensions or supermans on the floor 3×12-15

Just a basic full body workout for those of you who are interested.  There are also a lot of great classes that gyms offer.  Go out of your comfort zone and try one!  It’s so much fun and your body will love the change!

If you are someone who lifts weights religiously 3-4 days a week and skips the cardio completely but can’t figure out why you struggle to walk up stairs or feel like you have some extra fat around your middle should go out of your comfort zone and try doing a few cardio sessions a few times a week.  Break a sweat-it will pay off in the end!  I love the way I feel after a good run or a spin class or doing even 30 minutes of the step mill 🙂

If you are the type who finds doing cardio very boring well fear not!  A great way to get some cardio in is to do 5 minutes of it in between sets…for example…try this circuit…

Pullups 10-12

Seated Row 12-15

Pulldowns 12-15

1 armed rows 12-15

5 mins bike/treadmill/elliptical/stairs

Pushups 10-12

DB Chest press 12-15

Chest fly machine 12-15

Barbell chest press (incline) 12-15
5 mins bike/treadmill etc

Do a few rounds of this and you will be exhausted trust me (or ask my clients)!  After doing 3 rounds you will have completed 30 minutes of cardio and an awesome chest and back workout.  TRY IT and let me know what you think!

Hope that this was helpful and clears up the question for most of you as to whether or not you should do cardio the next time you are deciding what to do for your workout…

I would love to hear from you as to what you think is more effective-cardio or weights?

Les 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Should I lift weights or do cardio?

  1. Crystal says:

    I totally agree and couldn’t have said it any better myself 😉

    I have fallen off of the cardio bandwagon since having my baby, however, I love doing circuits with weights that keep my heart rate up! “Active recovery” or working opposing muscle groups are key to staying strong during the circuit. I find that for beginners mini-circuits combined (such as a circuit of 3 or 4 exercises back to back) and done 3,4 or 5 times over, works well since they are able to perfect those moves as they go on. And also, as the technique is perfected, the load increase happens sooner!!!

    I just love my weights!!!!! Enough said…

    • Amazing comments Crystal! Glad we had the same philosophy when it comes to training. I agree with everything you mentioned as well. I feel as though we should work out together sometime!

  2. […] A: Here is a blog post  I wrote that might help answer your question… https://getfitwithles.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/should-i-lift-weights-or-do-cardio/ […]

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