Cardio or Weights? What should you be focusing on for the biggest results?

So you've made the decision to commit to creating better habits in your health and you want to start with working out more consistently. You feel most comfortable with activities like jogging, walking, Zumba, stair-stepping, and using the elliptical machine. The weights are too overwhelming and you really don't know what exercises are best to target the areas that you want. So you just do cardio, and after a few weeks of doing this, you have plateaued in your weight loss and feel frustrated because nothing seems to work.

My hope for today's blog post is to assure you that cardio alone will not get you to your goals, and encourage you to focus on cross-training that can work all areas of your body, and keep your body challenged so you can reach those health and wellness goals you've set for yourself.

An interesting idea that I learned while studying to be a Health Coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition was that while cardio is a great way to focus on strengthening your body, increasing lung function, and get the blood pumping through your body, it alone will not help you achieve your weight loss goal. Your body actually burns the most calories that it can during your cardio workout, and then once your heart rate returns to normal, your body comes out of that calorie burn zone, therefore stopping the calorie burn. But that doesn't mean that cardio isn't important in your training. But focus on doing 30 minutes of cardio roughly 2 days a week versus 4-5 that most people do.

With weight training, you can focus on select muscle groups, and target your calorie burn for a much longer period of time. For instance, the "afterburn" or another name for a physiological effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), helps account for the fact your body continues burning calories long after your workout is over.

Afterburn refers to the amount of oxygen your body needs post-workout to get you back to your normal, pre-workout state. So, for anyone interested in fat loss, know that EPOC may help you achieve the caloric deficit you need to budge the scale. For example, you’ve put away your weights and moved on to the next part of your day. You may be done exercising, but your body now faces a different kind of workout: Recovery.

So what types of workout combos are best for seeing optimal results:

Combining Tabata training ( 20 seconds all-out cardio, with 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes) with some weight training and abs.

Focusing certain days for weights and others for cardio can help if you are short on time.

And don't forget to add in a day for rest and recovery! I love doing Yin Yoga on my rest days!

I have added a workout regimen below to help you feel inspired to start moving your body and getting into a better health rhythm. You can do these workouts on your own, or find a variety of exercise programs already paired together in my library of workouts that I myself use on a daily basis. To grab a 2-week trial, click here! And select the 3-month option, it will give you 2 weeks to try tons of programs you can do at home, on vacation, or at the gym, for free!

And if this resonated with you and you desire to learn more about working with me 1:1 to achieve your weight loss and health goals, I would love for you to check out more information here on how my EDIT: Your Life program will be the last program you ever sign up for so you can have greater confidence in your skin. And if you are ready to grab a spot on my calendar to chat more about how we can work together, please schedule a time that works for you here!

If you are interested in learning more about how I became an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, here are some helpful links to see if IIN might be a good fit for you!

  1. What is IIN?

  2. What does the program entail?

  3. Interested in becoming a coach? Take a sample class!

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