Happy 2014! Are you a recent gym joiner, or want to get into shape this year? I say it every year, still working on that goal. I touched on this idea before in my post Fitness Trends That Are Full Of It that hour-long cardio sessions are not worth it for your fitness goals. We need to lift weights - strength train - however you wish to phrase it; we all need to do it.
Let me explain why, from a woman’s standpoint:
1. You have a lot less testosterone; give up the myth. Women, on average, have about 20x less of the hormone than men. Meaning that when you do strength training you are not going to build muscle as quickly. Your body mass will not double. You will not look like the Rock. You will make your body look more fit, toned and burn more calories -- do it.
2. Build lean muscle to burn more calories -- Lean muscle is what you build during strength training, rather than just attempting to burn calories during cardio. Think of this as a long-term versus short-term solution. Long-term solution is to create muscle that will burn more calories throughout the entire day. Short-term solution is to plug at cardio, burn some calories, and then once you are done, you will go back to burning as many calories as you normally do.
3. Stop staring at the scale and look at your clothing. Or the other option: look at yourself naked. I know I have taken a semi-shouty tone in this post, but this is the issue I struggle with the most: That number on the scale. That imaginary number in my head that I think I should weigh. I am doing myself a disservice but holding myself to such an arbitrary standard. If you do this, you are too. Stop now.
|Shylock should have offered a pound of fat... just saying|
Muscle and fat do not weigh the same amount per square inch. Fat is a lipid and is much less dense than water -- meaning 1 pound of fat can look like a lot. Now imagine that on your thighs
Muscle is fibrous and dense. A pound of muscle may occupy a smaller space than fat, but weight the same -- this is important when considering how you may look so much fitter, but actually weigh more or the same.
Your waist may be smaller, a once-tight dress may fit beautifully, goal jeans zip up, but the number on the scale hasn’t moved. Ignore the number, go with what you see. The scale is a tricky beast
4. All that cardio isn’t good for your joints. Cardiovascular activity is often thought of being great for your heart (i.e. called cardio)-- but it affects your entire body during the process. While I would never stop doing cardiovascular activity because I do believe it is good for my heart, I do not believe I should push myself to do it often and for long sessions. As in for hours-- as my main way of working out. Or marathons.
I’m not a doctor, but cardio -- especially you runners out there doing high-impact jogging and running -- puts consistently pressure on your joints. As you increase your pace, that rubbing of cartilage on your joints increases. That idea doesn’t sound right or healthy to me--especially when the calorie burning effect ceases after you stop moving.
So, for my two cents, we need to pick up the weights. We can still break a sweat and achieve that euphoric release from working hard, but do not waste your time and energy with only hour-long cardio sessions. Give it a try for a month, I bet you’ll be pleased at your results -- I know I am.
Go on, unleash the Kraken in my comments section and let me know what you think ;)
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