You know exercise is good for you, and you want to have a fit body, but you only have so much time in your day and cannot do it all. What do you focus on? Cardio vs weights to lose fat and look hot?
On the other hand, perhaps you want to buy some home fitness equipment, but are not sure about the best thing on which to spend your limited funds. Do you buy the treadmill or the weight set? Despite weight training’s reputation as a ‘for the men’ thing to bulk up, the truth is weight training is for anyone who wants to look ridiculously sexy.
And let’s be real, who doesn’t?
The #1 myth and most annoying one (as declared by me) is that weights will bulk you up. This couldn’t be further from the truth and in fact, to get BIG you have to A) Eat Big. or B) Be a guy or have a ton of testosterone (aka- does not come naturally for women).
Truth: While cardio exercise can help you to increase your heart health and stamina, and can burn some extra calories while you are engaged in it, weight training can help you get stronger, tone your muscles, improve your appearance, increase your metabolism to burn calories more efficiently all day long, and fight age-related muscle and bone loss. BOOM. If you must choose between the two, weight training comes out the winner, easily.
Weight training is strength training, using a variety of weights for resistance. In the same way that cardio exercise strengthens your heart and lungs by providing stress on your breathing and circulation, weight training improves your overall body strength by providing enough stress to different muscle groups so that they adapt and grow stronger. Weight training also helps with other cool stuff like:
Lose weight and maintain fat loss:
Muscles are thirsty for calories, so the more lean muscle mass you have, the more efficient your body will be at converting that smoothie into the energy you need to keep going all day. For every 3 pounds of muscle you develop with weight training, your body will burn an extra 120 calories a day simply vegging out on the couch! That can mean about 10 pounds of fat lost per year, without even forsaking your favorite treat. Yes, please.
Reduce the possibility of injury:
Unlike the pounding action involved in many cardio exercises, correctly training with weights can actually protect your joints and spine. Strong muscles connected to joints helps to protect them from injury, and increased core muscle strength contributes to better balance and a stronger back.
Develop bone density:
Just as muscle mass naturally diminishes with age and inactivity, bones lose strength and density too. Strength training increases bone density, helping to prevent fractures due to brittle bones or osteoporosis.
Boost your stamina:
As you develop stronger and more efficient muscles in all parts of your body, fatigue will be outdated, and everyday activities will no longer make you want to lie down for a nap in the middle of your day. Bye bye couch potato.
Too often, people focus solely on the number of calories burned during their workout, or the number they see on the scale. Focusing on either of these is shortsighted when it comes to your health and fitness. Instead of watching the “calories burned” readout on the treadmill (which are often way overstated anyways) and being satisfied when you hit your magic number, consider how your body is expending calories outside the gym and after your workout. Weight training exercise, by developing calorie-thirsty muscle tissue, increases the number of calories you burn all day long, no matter what you are doing.
So, get off the treadmill and into that part of the gym. You will not get bulky ladies, you will get lean and sexy. Your body will thank you, and your mirror will become your friend.