Which is Better? Aerobic, or Anaerobic? Cardio or Weights?

Posted: January 3, 2013

Hello Confused,

I understand that there is a lot of confusion when trying to decide which is better. Cardio or weights, anaerobic or aerobic. Well, let me ask you a question. Do you want results in a short period of time? When you look at the people in your gym that are on the cardio equipment, in the “fat burning zone”, are they fit looking? Since the fat burning zone is usually only 50-60% or so of your max heart rate, they are usually walking, or doing a light jog. They are also usually on the cardio equipment, which is aerobic, and on it for a long time. Most people do aerobic exercise for around 45 minutes, and think that they should be losing tons of weight. Now, look at the people on the side of the gym that are lifting weights, and sweating profusely. Or better yet, the ones going from exercise to exercise, in the weight room, doing an anaerobic workout. They usually look more fit, have less body fat, and are strong. If you think about low intensity and fat burning zones, then people that don’t go to the gym, or engage in any exercise would have the least amount of body fat right? When using a heart rate monitor, most fit people that I know found it actually difficult to stay in the “fat burning zone”. They knew that the object is to burn as many calories now, AND later to make a difference in their physiques and their overall health.

The problem with only using aerobic exercise is that you never build muscle. The other problem with only doing cardio is that at some point, you could end up burning through your muscle. Muscle is the only tissue that is metabolically active. Something that you NEVER want to do is work out for so long, that you start to use your muscle for fuel. Another key is that you want to be strong as you age. You want to not end up with injuries that come from repetitive motions like running and spinning. Not that those are bad, they just can wreak havoc on the body if that is the only means of fitness. Besides injuries,  look at marathon runners. Do they look muscular and strong? They usually have a very weak upper body, mixed with some tight legs. And might I add, too tight of legs. At all costs, at all times, your goal should be to preserve muscle tissue. The other problem with wondering which is better, is that you really don’t have to pick one. What I mean is that there is a way to get your heart rate soaring, while using weights.This is the best type of workout. The perfect blend of using aerobic and anaerobic exercise is what the best workouts are made up of. They are muscle building AND fat burning. The key is the intensity. Not the duration at all. Short in duration, big on payoff!

Many studies have shown that the most important factor when choosing which type of workout is not how many calories you burn WHILE doing the exercise. The important factor is how many calories you burn for the next 24 hours AFTER the workout is done. The way to achieve this phenomenon is to workout for a shorter duration at a higher level of intensity. The object for us all is to burn calories right? So, why only burn calories while working out? After all, if you work out for an hour, what about the other 23 in the day? I urge you to stop only trying to pay attention to burning fat, and just go for the long term burn. Fat, and Calories.

Circuit training, metabolic resistance training, interval training, high intensity intervals…….these are all terms that you might have heard of that are what you want to familiarize yourself with. This type of short duration workout packs the most bang for the buck. You can build muscle while you are enhancing your lungs, and at the same time torching fat. You can do a circuit or interval style workout with weights. You can do an interval style workout, using high intensity intervals on a treadmill. You can use your own body weight. The idea is to keep pushing your limit, then resting for a bit…..then pushing yourself again. Working out as hard as possible with as little rest as possible. Doing this often, and making the rest periods shorter is where you will start seeing for yourself, which is better!

Next time you go in to your gym, look around. Are the fittest people on the treadmill walking? When you see that person on the treadmill when you come in, and they are still there when you leave? Do you wonder why they look the same as a year ago? No need to wonder. Put this plan into action and see for yourself.

Which is better? Weights, and intensity. Short bursts of power whether on a treadmill sprinting, or doing burpees and pushups. Either way, keep it short, and powerful. This is how you will see your fat burning off, and your muscles starting to show! Check out my video on this page, and see what type of workout I am talking about! Then put it to use, and see what a difference you can make in a short period of time. This type of workout should be done 3-4 times weekly for the best results. This workout will not take more than 20-30 minutes, so no excuses! Yes, you have time. Yes, you want results. Yes, you will start today!

Hoping to help you achieve optimal health!!


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