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BANDOMOM1 SparkPoints: (3,254)
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9/19/13 2:39 P

For me Cardio has toned my legs.. Strength training such as Kettle Bells, and boot camp classes have firmed my arms, inner thighs, flattened my stomach. To me it is more of a workout. So I do both . Cardio on some days and strength on other days. I also powerwalk.

ADIOSALL Posts: 5,197
9/11/13 2:24 P

I do both daily.

GOPINTOS Posts: 6,263
9/11/13 2:04 P

I am certainly not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have some experience with losing weight - Fat loss mostly I think. I am more into ST Hiit style. Just started doing some Craig Ballantyne stuff. Just seems like I can get more done in 20 - 30 minutes than an hour of long boring cardio. In researching, I am finding more along the lines as Sergeantmajor was saying. My n=1 seems to be that cardio just makes hungry.

I do still like doing lots of activities, but I don't jump around to a cardio dvd anymore. I swim, walk, use a push mower, garden, ride my horse - things along those lines. Once or twice most weeks, I might do a tabata protocol on my elliptical but that's as close as I get.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/11/13 12:42 P

SERGEANTMAJOR: Thanks. Fair enough.

9/11/13 12:32 P

I did not note any reference to the ratio between lean body mass and body fat in the various groups. The times spent exercising seem strange to me, 133 minutes to do 12 miles works out to 11 minutes a mile a rather leisurely pace, 180 minutes to do three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions is taking an hour to complete the workout. What were the exercises used, aerobic covers a lot of ground and taking 60 minutes to do three sets of 9 to 12 repetitions is hardly anaerobic work.

To answer your question accurately I would need to review the entire study and its protocols not simply read a review of the findings.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/11/13 12:16 P

SERGEANTMAJOR: Thanks, to you, too, for your thoughtful input into this discussion.

Just curious: What do you think of the Duke study (2012) and the conclusions drawn?
"Aerobic Exercise Trumps Resistance Training for Weight and Fat Loss"

"Aerobic training is the best mode of exercise for burning fat..."

"...those looking to lose weight would see better results doing aerobic training."

9/11/13 12:09 P

In my experience as both a coach and a trainer I have found the people tend to gravitate toward cardio activities because as Yogageek said it has been oversold. When Kenneth Cooper M.D. coined the phrase "aerobics" and posited that cardio was all that was needed to get and be fit the American public bought into the concept. Since that time Dr Cooper has recanted his stand and now recognizes the importance of resistance training as being integral to fitness.

There is a difference between being fit and losing bodyweight. Bodyweight includes both muscle and fatty tissue in addition to bones and organs and actually is only a measurement of the force of gravity on our bodies at a given time, it has no direct correlation to fitness.

Admittedly resistance training is a tough sell you can not multitask it, no chatting with friends, reading a book or watching TV when doing the work. People also dislike my recommendation of jumping rope as cardio in lieu of dreadmill or elliptical time since it is more demanding. Doing a strength only circuit can be tailored for any level of fitness and has a built in cardio benefit.

The bottom line is people will choose what suits them and not necessarily what will provide them the most benefit in the least time.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/11/13 11:43 A

YOGAGEEK: Thanks both for keeping our discussion cordial and for taking the time to express your point of view. Much appreciated. Our manner of discussion and our arguments presented are both geared toward helping people make positive lifestyle choices. It's win-win, in my opinion.

YOGAGEEK SparkPoints: (6,917)
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9/11/13 10:52 A

I was talking about fat loss when I said "its only advantage"; I did qualify beforehand that it does have other health and fitness benefits. Yes, creating a calorie deficit is the way to lose weight, but that can also be done through diet, and therefore cardio is not essential. I'm not saying it doesn't help (when combined with reducing calorie consumption), just that you can lose fat and maintain muscle without it. However, for healthy fat loss, strength training *is* essential so as not to lose muscle. That Duke study you quoted doesn't address muscle loss in the participants, and that is really the chief reason to resistance train while eating at a calorie deficit.

I do see your point about encouraging people to do something they'll stick with. For me, personally, that would be circuit training, which I don't love, over steady-state jogging, which I don't even have the physical conditioning to *do*, on the basis that each part of the circuit only lasts, say, a minute, and then I get to move onto something else (or even take a blissful ten-second rest), so it's much less mentally exhausting than doing something repetitive. Based on the numbers you quoted I'm in the minority here, though I'm sure there are others out there like me who find it much easier to focus on small pieces than a larger whole.

That being said, I have to wonder if part of the reason you and your family have noticed people choosing cardio over strength training is because of the overall emphasis placed on cardio, particularly for weight loss and particularly for women. That is, they might not be choosing the treadmill because they like it, but because that's what they read in magazines is what they need to do to lose weight.

I also agree with you that adding cardiovascular exercise is a generally positive lifestyle change. Better for a person to add some exercise they'll stick with, and then gradually become more interested in fitness and learn the benefits of strength training, right?

Well, that last bit is what I don't agree with. If not strength training while losing weight causes one to lose muscle mass, then it's detrimental to one's fat loss goals because losing muscle means losing less fat. So if you've got 30 lbs of fat to lose and are losing a pound a week, it will take you 30 weeks if you strength train, but 40 weeks if you don't strength train.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not slamming cardio. I'm fully aware of its health benefits (which is why I do it even though I hate it) and I know that it, along with strength training and stretching, forms an integral part of a well-rounded fitness programme. I also agree with what you're saying about encouraging small changes that contribute to overall wellbeing. The issue I have with elevating cardio over strength training for people who wish to lose weight is, as I've said above, it's detrimental to losing fat. Really, I think where we disagree is that you look at cardio and say, "Look at its benefits: it's good for your heart, it increases your calorie deficit, and people *want* to do it", while I look at it and say, "Yeah, and those are all great things, but weight loss shouldn't come at the expense of lean tissue".

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/11/13 9:24 A

YOGAGEEK: I have known very few people who have both the mental and physical toughness to do circuit training hard and fast enough to get their heart rates up high enough to count as cardio.

"Aerobic training is the best mode of exercise for burning fat, according to Duke researchers who compared aerobic training, resistance training, and a combination of the two."

"However, younger, healthy adults or those looking to lose weight would see better results doing aerobic training."
This is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011):

"Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who met the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity: 48.4%"

"Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who met the Physical Activity Guidelines for muscle-strengthening physical activity: 24.0%"

Notice that twice as many people have met the aerobic guidelines compared to those who have met the muscle-strengthening. There is a paramount reason for that. Maintaining strength-training is difficult for the normal person who wants to lose weight and stay fit. It just is.
My YD worked in a gym for a year or so, a nephew of mine bought and ran a gym for a few years, all of my children have belonged to/belong to gyms, and for years I sponsored both students and adults at HS gyms.

All of us have noticed that the majority of "everyday" people (as opposed to ST enthusiasts) choose things like walking, spinning, treadmill, elliptical, jogging over ST.

Thus, I again would encourage people, if they want to make exercising a part of their daily and permanent lifestyle, AND if they only want to devote 30 minutes a few times a week to choose a cardio activity like walking or spinning.

"It's only advantage is that it can contribute to a calorie deficit." Well, isn't that how one usually loses weight? "Only advantage"? Getting the heart rate up is also an advantage.

YOGAGEEK SparkPoints: (6,917)
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9/11/13 5:09 A

ALBERTJON: That's what circuit training is for :D

If a person only has 20-30 minutes four days a week, they could do cardio-only on one of those days, but their best bet at least two, if not three, days is to do a circuit that hits all the major muscle groups and gets their heart rate up.

Of course, I loathe cardio - I like being able to breathe properly - so I'm baffled as to why anyone would choose cardio-only.

Honestly, when I read comments about how cardio is key for weight loss/maintenance, I can't help thinking they're symptomatic of an overzealous equation of weight with fat (as evidenced by things like BMI and healthy weight tables), because, yes, cardio does more than strength training to reduce the number on the scale, but without strength training you're not going to lose fat as effectively as you'll be losing muscle, too.

I'm not saying cardio isn't important - it has a whole host of health benefits - but from the perspective of fat loss it's peripheral; its only advantage is that it can contribute to a calorie deficit, though for many people it's easier not to eat calories than to burn them off.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/11/13 12:25 A

Definitely. I agree with all of that. Yes, the research supports that.

My argument would be this: for those people who ask my opinion on what they should do if they are only going to devote 20-30 minutes of exercise 4-5 times a week, I would tell them to pick a good cardio workout for that amount of time. If, by contrast, a person chose to strength-trained in lieu of doing any cardio, I would advise against choosing that option.

Now, if they could incorporate some strength-training into a vigorous cardio workout, then that would be better.

9/11/13 12:04 A

25% of the body mass lost doing only cardio is muscle tissue so go for skinny fat. The physiological benefits of resistance training exceed those of cardio and resistance training improves all aspects of your physical life not simply your cardio vascular system. We walk everyday in varying amounts we seldom if ever work on improving our muscle function with dedicated workouts. If you body is stronger i.e. you have improved your muscularity first your ability to do cardio work is improved in multiple factors.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/10/13 11:57 P

I regret to say that I disagree with you. The current research that puts "the lie" to the primacy of cardio as fitness is based on biases where the whole point is to emphasize the importance of ST over cardio. I can match you study for study, opinion for opinion, on why cardio exercise is essential for proper health for most people.

I question how many normal people who do ST get their heart rates up high enough to get the same benefit as doing some vigorous cardio for the same amount of time.

"You'll get the most from your workouts if you're exercising at the proper exercise intensity for your health and fitness goals. If you're not feeling any exertion or your heart rate is too low, pick up the pace. If you're worried that you're pushing yourself too hard or your heart rate is too high, back off a bit." --

"Bottom line: you need cardio if you want to get your weight under control and get your stress to a tolerable level." --

"You can diet all you want to, but it will only get you so far when it comes to removing that stubborn body fat. That's why cardio is absolutely crucial when you're looking to loose weight. You have to get the heart pumping to help lose those excess pounds. " --

"Most individuals performing cardio are using it as a way to burn off excess calories and since you are moving the body, it is going to increase the need for energy. Some forms are slightly better when strictly speaking of fat loss but all cardio, regardless of form will burn off calories. Since fat loss does depend on calories burned versus calories consumed it is a step in the right direction." --

9/10/13 11:22 P

I regret to say that the most current research puts the lie to the primacy of cardio as a fitness exercise. Even the creator of the term aerobics and the one time guru of the cardio only for exercise has recanted. With a properly constructed strength programme the cardio can be built in. For most with a limited time to workout strength will produce more benefits than cardio. I am not in any way negating the necessity of some form of cardio only relegating it to it proper place in a fitness programme.

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/10/13 9:37 P

SYLVIAD265: I definitely agree that both cardio and ST should be included in an overall exercise regimen.

It is my belief, however, that if a person only has the time or the inclination to, say, exercise for 20-30 minutes a few times a week, then he/she should choose cardio. There are many good things that ST does for the body. However, the positive effects that good cardio exercising does for the heart and lungs, etc. need to be considered. I know and have known many fit people who are walkers/joggers/runners/bicyclists. Most of them do no ST. It's not that ST would not benefit them; it's more that they just don't want to do it.

In my opinion, doing cardio is the key for people to lose weight and maintain health. Certainly, if people can add in ST, they will be even healthier.

I have met many people who might go for a walk or even a jog or bike ride, but they just do not like doing ST, for whatever reasons.

I might point out that I have read enough to know that some fitness "experts" would emphasize ST over doing cardio. I am not a fitness expert; I am just sharing an opinion based upon my own research, experience, and observation.

Good luck! Go for it!

SYLVIAD265 Posts: 259
9/10/13 9:18 P

Thank you all!!!

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,452
9/10/13 8:56 P


Any good exercise program includes BOTH ST and cardio.

Without ST, up to 25% of your weight loss can come from lost muscle rather than fat.

It's actually difficult to gain a lot of muscle mass while running a calorie deficit to lose weight, as the body tends to burn protein for energy, rather than creating new muscle tissue. But by including ST in your program, you can maintain your existing muscle mass, and ensure that more of your weight loss comes from fat alone.

But most of the benefits of strength training (increased strength, increased metabolism, improved strength of tendons and bones muscles are attached to) actually come from improved muscle quality, rather than increased muscle size. I think a lot of the confusion and conflicting advice about ST comes from the fact that this point of improved muscle quality is poorly understood.

So don't wait until you have lost weight before starting ST - include ST in your program NOW.


TACDGB Posts: 6,136
9/10/13 8:48 P

both are equally important. Strength training is good for tightening up the muscles and cardio is good for the heart and lungs. I think it's important to find a way to put both into your workouts. With my strength training I can see how much stronger I am those muscles. With my cardio I have more endurance to be able to do more things like walking farther........mowing my lawn...walking up stairs or hills.

WHOLENEWME79 Posts: 951
9/10/13 1:29 P

It is not an "either or" type of thing. Strength training is equally important for weight loss as cardio is.

You really should be doing both to have success weight loss and for over all health. there are great videos on SP and youtube for easy strength training ideas for beginners.

Your comment about muscle weighing more than fat leads me to believe you are concerned you could gain weight or mass with strength training. Rest assured, women bulking up is mostly a myth. You would need to work hard for YEARS to build any significant muscle mass, and the hard work includes a special diet and, for some people, hormone treatments, since a woman's natural hormone balance is not conducive to major muscle mass gains.

I would really suggest looking at other ways to measure progress than just the number on the scale. Get your body fat % taken, do measurements, base it on fitness level or number of fruits and vegetables eaten each day... The number on the scale is just one way of measuring progress, and it is not the best way to do it.

Good luck,

9/10/13 1:20 P

The guys in white coats who spend lots of time with white rats have developed this formula for fat loss. In ranked order of importance the triad is nutrition (diet), strength training and then cardio. Strength training builds your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones and improves your ability to do everything you do be it exercise or your daily routine. It is not as much an either or thing as it is creating a balance in your fitness programme by doing some of both taking the above ranked order into consideration..

PINK4YOUTOO Posts: 508
9/10/13 1:08 P

Just doing strength right now as I am having surgery on my knees soon and looking forward to after recuperating to exercise again!!

SYLVIAD265 Posts: 259
9/10/13 12:45 P

Greetings everyone:

I am always confused on whether I should be doing cardio, streghtening or a combination of both. I know folks that start out doing cardio and once they start losing weight add in stregthen training. I know others that do a combination of cardio and stregthen. I also know that muscle weighs more than fat, but muscle also burns fat. I've researched this and find some much conflicting information out there. Any assistance you can provide would be greatingly appreciated. Thank you.

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