Cardio Versus Strength

Cardio or strength? It depends on your goals.  The answer is as individual as the road to your desired results. Here, we’re going to take a look at a variety of goals and examine some of the best practices to achieve your individual fitness goals.

Depending on what it is that you hope to achieve, you are going to want to adjust your workout accordingly. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of body you want. Would you like to simply lose weight or would you like to add some tone and definition? You do not have to exercise to lose weight.  Diet play a bigger role than exercise and infact you might start to gain weight when you start to strength train. Therefore, if you only want to see the numbers go down on the scale then you do not have to exercise.

On the other hand exercise will can give you a certain kind of physique that dieting alone cannot. The right exericse can help you develop muscles and curves in the right place.  To what degree do you want to develop your muscles? Would you like to have tone, tight, compact muscles or would you prefer to have a more bulk physique?

Aside from your physical appearance, it’s also important to consider what your physical goals are. Are you interested in a career or hobby that will require heavy lifting or a specific type of strength? Are you interested in pursuing something along the lines of gymnastics or another type of physically demanding sport in which strength and muscle control is vital? It could be that you simply would like to be able to run or jog sometimes and keep up or be able to maintain a lively dancing pace during a night out on the town.

Exercising to increase your cardiovascular health is quite a bit different than weightlifting and engaging in other strength building exercises. You don’t necessarily need to add any strength training to a cardiovascular workout, but a cardio workout should definitely be included in a strength building regimen. Let’s go ahead and take this opportunity to discuss the fact that if you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle or you are planning on increasing your activity level to something beyond which your body is accustomed to, it’s important to have a conversation with your doctor before engaging in any exercises that could increase your heart rate. For some, this could be potentially fatal, so it’s important to know your limits and have a thorough conversation with your doctor about the most ideal way for you to implement exercise into your life and alter your lifestyle to achieve your beach body goals.

Although cardio workouts and strength building workouts are different, they can easily coexist. The degree to which you want to sculpt your body will dictate the degree to which you should include either or both. The varying levels of each workout will be discussed as we examine the best cardio exercises and effective strength building workouts.


High impact aerobics, jogging, dancing, running, and even speed walking are all great cardio workouts that don’t involve a lot of strength training. Depending on your age, height, weight, and physical condition, you will burn anywhere between 180 and 410 calories during a half-hour workout, so if your goal is weight loss, take some time and figure out about how many calories your workout is burning so you can adjust your time and diet appropriately. Remember: Weight loss is about burning more calories than your eating, and you want to be burning at least around 400 to 500 more calories than you are consuming.

If your goal is to combine cardio and low-level strength training, burpees are an excellent addition to a workout. There are multiple variations of a burpee, and we will outline the basic format. You can either choose to squat once, stand back up, crouch down to put your hands on the floor near your feet, launch into a pushup position, do at least one pushup, come back to your feet, stand up, and repeat the entire sequence. You don’t necessarily need to squat, but you can take an extra step to extend your arms up as you take a breath and exhale. This helps to open the airways and help the heart beat at optimal levels.

To focus more on strength, you can either add wrist weights (for light training) or hold on to dumbbell weights as you complete each sequence. Once you get going for at least a few minutes, an average amount of calories burned per burpee is about 10 (again, though, depending on a variety of factors). You can choose whether you want to start with a number or a length of time. Take time to do a few before you commit to something outrageous. It’s important to remember that exercising can be overwhelming. Burnout happens way too quickly for some, because they make too large of a commitment. Five minutes to start something is better than doing nothing. One hour of too much exercise that will only result in physical pain and self-defeating thoughts doesn’t generally last. Five minutes will turn into ten minutes, and so on if there is consistency.

Strength Training

This is the part where you think about how toned or how bulk you want to be. How much weight to do you want to be able to lift? What are your physical goals? One of the best things to remember is that slow reps with a lot of weight will help you get big muscles. Lower weight with quicker reps will build tight muscles, but it will also result in more toning and cardiovascular exercise (including weight loss). If you plan on going to a gym, there will be a variety of workout equipment with instructions on how to use the equipment along with a diagram of the muscle groups each machine targets. You can also look up a variety of strength building exercises online if you are using your own weights or equipment. Instead of sharing multiple individual strength training workouts, let’s just cover some important information about making sure that your heart stays healthy enough for your increasing level of strength training.

Lifting heavy weights is very physically demanding, and it requires a good physical condition. If you are involved in a strength enhancing or muscle building workout regimen, at least about 25% of your workout should be focused on cardiovascular exercises. A good diet packed with lots of protein will also boost your muscle building efforts. You want to consume things like eggs, cottage cheese, lean meats, poultry, nuts, chickpeas, protein shakes, etc. Remember to give muscle groups time to heal – especially if you are maxing out in your workouts.

Maxing out is simply lifting until you absolutely cannot lift anymore. It’s always important to have a spotter when handling heavy weights. It’s especially important to have a competent spotter if you are planning on maxing out during your weightlifting sessions.

Remember to try to include core strength exercises in both your cardiovascular workouts and your muscle building exercises. Core strength is more than just having a great set of abs. A strong core results in less back pain, more longevity, and overall better cardiovascular health. You can have the body you crave. Never forget that there is an abundance of support right at your fingertips to help you achieve your body sculpting goals.

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