Getting started on a new exercise regimen can be a daunting task for most people. People often ask themselves whether they should focus on cardio or strength training. In short, it depends on what results you are looking for, since each type of exercise has advantages. While both types of exercise are necessary for any regimen, which one to focus on largely depends on your personal desired outcome. For initial weight loss, cardio is best while strength training has the most to offer for improving muscle tone and tightening skin. Each type of exercise will be described in more detail below so that you can plan your fitness goals accordingly. By choosing an appropriate workout plan, you are one step closer to looking and feeling your best. Of course, exercise is most rewarding when you can see your body progress in a positive direction!
Cardio training is the best choice when your main goal is to lose weight. It burns the most calories per session when compared to strength training. As a result, fat is burned more effectively. Cardio training involves exercises such as running, biking, aerobic dance or swimming. These exercises increase your heart rate and will improve physical endurance over time. There is no need to have to go to the gym to practice these exercises, since you can go for a jog or to a local swimming pool for a quick training session. Even something simple, such as walking a few blocks to the grocery store, can be beneficial. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, losing it too quickly can cause loose skin as well as stretch marks. Of course, procedures such as a tummy tuck, brachioplasty and lower body lifts can all repair damage to your body should this happen to you.
Strength training is good for improving overall strength and definition to your body. While strength training doesn’t burn as many calories per session as cardio, it builds more muscle. Strength training exercises mainly involve dumbbells, body weight or other machines to strengthen your muscles. Strength training can be used to target certain areas that require muscle tone. It is not necessary to become bulky when strength training, since the goal is to grow enough muscle to support the overlying skin. When there isn’t enough muscle after weight loss, it is not uncommon for skin to appear lose or saggy, especially on the lower legs, arms and tummy area. It is amazing what exercise can do to solve loose skin issues. Before scheduling a surgery for a tummy tuck, brachioplasty or lower body lift, ask your surgeon if exercise could potentially improve your loose skin problems. If weight is lost gradually along with muscle gain, it is possible for loose skin to be avoided entirely. Even issues such as cellulite can be greatly improved by gaining muscle along with weight loss. For any residual cellulite, procedures such as liposuction can help.
FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE
To get the best results from your exercise regimen you need to determine what is most important for your goals. If you want to build muscle, focusing on strength training is best. Strength training exercises can target problem areas if you are worried about sagging skin on your tummy or buttocks for example. If weight loss is the main goal, cardio training is ideal since it burns more calories per session of exercise and can reduce your total body fat. For the best overall results, a balance of both strength and cardio training is best. Taking either method to the extreme will not give the best results and can result in loose skin that needs attention. In addition, any exercise regimen requires a healthy diet and plenty of water. It is always best to ask your doctor what diet is right for you and to ask a fitness trainer what combination of strength and cardio training will help you best reach your goals. Also, being physically fit will make you a stronger candidate for procedures such as liposuction or tummy tucks for problem areas that cannot be improved any further with exercise alone.
When planning to incorporate both cardio and strength training into your exercise regimen, there is a stronger chance that your body will have the muscle tone and fat percentage that you are happy with. In fact, planning exercise routines is not as hard as most people expect. Walking instead of driving and making a point to spend a few minutes every day doing body weight exercises can make a significant impact. Of course, improving your diet along with regular exercise will be most productive. Small changes every day can make a world of difference when introducing a new habit. As always, if you are not sure what will work best for you, talk to your doctor. Time to start working towards your best self!