Cardio V Weight training

Cardio giving you no joy, try lifting some Weights

In the Past

As you may have read in my first ever post, Where it all began, sport has always played a key role in my life. At school, if anyone ever needed me, the best place to look would have been on the lacrosse pitches or up in the fitness suite. Basically, I used to spend a large amount of my time running around a field or using the cardio machines up in the gym. 

I always loved playing lacrosse, but when it came to going to the gym, like most people would say, it was always a bit of a chore. Running on a treadmill for half an hour or doing a leisurely cycle with a few ab exercises after was not really the most exciting way to spend my time. Despite making me feel as though I had burnt X dozen calories and increased my fitness levels, if I were to be critical, it never really made that much of a difference. To put it bluntly, no matter how much cardio I did, nothing really changed. Cardio exercise never helped me to lose any weight or gain much fitness. 

Weights as an alternative

Don't get me wrong, some people really react physically to going on runs, cycles, swims etc. My own brother is able to drop body fat in a matter of days when he starts running regularly. Clearly we don't share the same metabolic genes because for me, cardio is just not the answer. Instead, I lose my weight lifting weights. 

A lot of girls are under the impression that weights are for guys and if a girl so much as touches a barbell she will become hench and muscly. I really want to put this idea to bed once and for all as I have seen many girls who seem to suffer from the same cardio problems as me. I see them training daily on the cross trainer with little results to show for their troubles. I just wish that they could have the confidence to try out a new weighted programme as I am more than sure it would give them the results they want. 

Now for a Bit of Science

In an attempt to convince those girls out there to sack the cardio and move over to the weights section, here is a bit of science to get you thinking:

Firstly, your body burns more calories maintaining muscle than it does fat. This means that the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn daily. In theory, building muscle will in fact increase your metabolism, leading to a greater potential to burn fat. You cannot build muscle on the treadmill, you can only burn muscle on the treadmill. This is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve. 

Secondly, you will not get hench from lifting weights! As girls, we do not produce the same levels of testosterone as our male counterparts. Therefore, we will not see the same results that men do. Our bodies will get lean and toned rather than bulky and muscly. We are not physically strong enough to lift the sort of weights men can either. By lifting only 3 or 4kg dumbbells, the chances are we are not going to come out of the gym looking like The Hulk. 

What to do

When I say that girls who don't react to cardio training should get in the weights section to see more results, I do not necessarily mean they should try to become the next weight lifting champion - doing power cleans, clean and presses etc. All I am talking about, is using a few free weights to add some intensity to exercises. Here are some examples I recommend to help shed body fat and tone up:

For the lower body 

Squats are a great calorie burner, but if you are only using your own body weight, then you will have to do a lot to see desired results. Instead, squat using the 20kg barbell or add 5-10kg on either side and try to get out 12-15 reps. This will get the heart rate up and metabolism going, whilst also working those bum and leg muscles.

Lunges are another great exercise to tone up the legs and bum, but again, they are not difficult when using only your body weight. Grab some 5kg dumbells in either hand, or more if you are feeling confident, and go for 20-25 walking lunges. This will be sure to engage those lower body muscles and fire up that metabolism.

For the upper body

Assisted chin ups are a great way to work the upper body. Set the weight to just over half your body weight and try for 10-12 reps Remember to drive from the arms rather than using your momentum to pull yourself up. This exercise will help to get rid of those bingo wings gals!

Shoulder press is an exercise that really helps to get the blood pumping and heart rate up as you drive your arms above your head. Try using an 8kg barbell and smashing out 15 reps. If your arms and shoulders start to get tired, use your legs to drive yourself up by lowering slightly into a squat before powering up.  

For the Abs

Russian twists are fantastic for the obliques, but it will take a long time to feel the burn without using a medicine ball. Grab a 5kg ball and rotate from side to side, trying to touch your elbows to the ground. Feel the burn and take a rest after about 20-30 reps. 

Plate Crunches are a lot harder than normal crunches as the added weight means you have to engage your abs more to pull yourself up. Reach the weight up to the sky and feel your core working as well as your upper body. 


I hope this post has made you re-think the way you train, especially if all those cardio workouts don't seem to be giving you the joy you deserve. Weight training is a much more fun and enjoyable way to spend your time in the gym and the results are even more worth it. 

If you are worried about entering the weight side of the gym, then give my post 'The Guys Side of the Gym' a read. It's about alternatives to using bench presses and Smith machines, so you can feel comfortable training away from the boys, whilst still getting the results you want. Also, for all those people who are still sceptical about using weights, check out my post, 'HIIT Training'. This sort of training uses only body weight exercises and will be sure to get amazing fat burning results. 

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