Strength Training vs. Cardio

Which do I prefer?

During my personal experience with both strength training and cardio, I find them both to be essential aspects of a healthy lifestyle. In a sense, I sort of feel like strength training and cardio works hand in hand. For me personally, I enjoy both. However, the results my body got after doing cardio were different than the results my body got from the strength training. In this article, I want to point out those differences.

Let’s start with the CARDIO:

Cardio was definitely my go-to training style when I weighed over 350 pounds. I knew I needed to lose weight and I wanted to see my weight drop on the scale. With a keto style diet and a cardio training program in place, the pounds started melting away like butter! There are many benefits of cardio and countless reasons why cardio is important! I was feeling good and I was looking great! My first week of changing my lifestyle, I lost 15 pounds. With cardio being my main training program, I lost the majority of my weight In less than two years.

During this time, I was not doing much strength training.  “Strength training equals weight gain,” was conditioned in my mind.   Knowing I wanted to lose weight and not gain it, I did very little to no strength training.  When I speak of strength training, I’m mainly referring to specific muscle group training such as lunges, squats, lifting weights etc. 

Before understanding how the body really works, I always knew muscle weighs the same as fat.  What I did NOT know was muscle takes up LESS space than fat.  So a person weighing 200 pounds with a higher body muscle percentage would look smaller and leaner than a person weighing 200 pounds with a higher body fat percentage.”

Overtime, I started to love the way I was looking and I felt amazing from the result I did receive from doing only cardio. It wasn’t until I was invited to a pool party that I realized I still had work to do. I was excited about losing weight and wearing a bikini for the first time ever. When I purchased the bikini and wore it, I really focused on the way my body looked outside of clothes. The way my naked body looked was never a concern for me and I never really took into account the way I felt about my naked body.

What became of a concern for me was the loose skin from my weight loss.  I had loose skin everywhere and honestly, I did not like it.  At one point, I became a little discouraged and actually picked up a few pounds.  Prior to this minor weight gain, my body was small and in my opinion, my skin looked saggy.  I did not have the shape definition I wanted.  It was at this point I realized, it’s time to tackle the strength training!

Next up: What STRENGTH TRAINING Has Done For Me:

Strength training has become my new “normal.”  However, I still do cardio as part of my workout routine, but just not as much as I do strength training.  Strength training not only lowered my risk of injury but it also helped with my joint flexibility! I began my strength training program when I picked up weight after feeling discouraged about my loose skin.  I gained 12 pounds and noticed some of my loose skin started to look a little firm.  I knew this was a problem.  The problem is, when I lost weight and gain the weight back, I was adding fat back to my body which decreases the chance of my skin naturally firming.  I knew I did not want “fat” to be the reason I had a firm looking body so I focused on building muscle.

With strength training, I definitely did not see results as quick as I did with my cardio program.  It actually took about 5 – 8 weeks before I really started seeing a difference.  The main benefit of strength training that I appreciate is the fact of muscle burning more calories over time than cardio!  With cardio, I was burning calories while performing the cardio exercise; whereas with strength training, I would burn calories over a course of a couple of days.  During my strength training workouts, my muscles would burn!  I knew this was a result of unused muscles finally being used and torn.  After my workouts, I would drink a protein shake and two hours later, I would eat a meal that was high in protein and carbohydrates from vegetables.

The two days following my workout, I was unable to move around a lot because my body was so sore.  The soreness I was feeling were my muscles repairing themselves from the workout that caused them to tear.  However, I noticed the more I SLEPT, the more my muscles would grow and I would experience less soreness!  With that being said, it is very important to rest your body so your muscle can repair and grow.  I kept up this routine and noticed my body shaping and becoming very muscular and toned looking.   I still had some loose skin, but I did not have as much loose skin as I did prior to starting this workout program.  I was eventually able to wear my bikini and feel confident in it!

In My Opinion:

Cardio helped me lose the majority of my weight and strength training helped my muscles grow and gave me the body I desired!  Cardio and strength training both have their own benefits and are both important for anyone’s health.  Both types of workout programs should be incorporated in a workout routine somehow, along with a healthy diet. 

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