Get Started: Part 1 - Cardio or Weights?
First and foremost, if you are reading this, you are already moving in the right direction toward achieving your ultimate weight and health goals. As we promised at BFRx, you bring the willpower and we will arm you with the tools and knowledge you need to be successful. So you go to the gym, awesome! Now what? How do you maximize your time, energy, and effort? Well...entire books and years and years of training are dedicated to this very topic. So I am going to try and hit the wave tops in a few paragraphs.
Those fancy cardio machines...skip them! I take that back, for the first month, just pick a machine and go. Get used to moving and sweating and pushing yourself to be a little uncomfortable. Each day try to go further and faster. After that first month, limit cardio machines to a 5-10 minute warmup just to get yourself sweating. If you are further along in your journey, just spent the first 2 weeks, not a month.
You MUST strength train. The next issue to address is bodyweight vs free weights vs machines. That dilemma deserves it's own post (stay tuned!). To be brief, free weights and bodyweight exercises will always trump machines (of course there are exceptions). However, when you are starting out, stick to machines. Machines control the range of movement, protect your joints, and allow you to learn the movement patterns while staying safe and still benefiting. What about cardiovascular benefits? You can actually obtain all of them through circuit training (performing strength exercises in series).
Ok, why? Most people can't burn enough calories in a workout to make cardio worth the time investment. For example, as a rough estimate, if you were to run a mile in 8-minutes, you would burn 100 calories. 100 calories! That's not a great return on your time and effort investment. A bonus fact: your body continues to burn calories after you leave the gym. Exercising boosts your metabolism and remember, your body has to "heal" itself from exercise. Well that costs energy (calories). When it comes to standard cardio, your body's metabolism does not stay elevated for nearly as long as it does when you do any sort of strength training. And a last point on cardio; your body's objective is always to conserve energy (survival!). To do that, it always wants to be as efficient as possible. So as you "get in shape", you will actually burn fewer calories performing the same work. Let's contrast all of that with lifting weights/strength training. Unless you are doing interval training, the calories burned during strength training won't be all that impressive. But that's okay. What does matter is METABOLISM. Strength training keeps your metabolism elevated much longer than traditional cardio (upwards of 3 days!). In addition, your body burns even more calories healing itself from the exercise (to come back stronger to handle the demand). By the way, healing your body can burn almost 100 calories a day. Just recovering! Remember what you had to do to burn 100 calories doing cardio? Your body heals by building muscle. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day...even when you aren't working out. This entire process will get its own post as well.
Bottom line, don't feel like cardio is a prerequisite to success. There are better options. Unless your goal is cardio based (like running a 5k or even a marathon), or you simply enjoy doing cardio, I would spend my time elsewhere. In fact, even if any of the above are true, you still have to strength train. But, above all, especially in the beginning, mobility and flexibility need to be the foundation of all exercise. You cannot overlook and ignore your mobility (remember the post about Father Time?). All that said...no matter how or where you start, just start! If you are looking for the best return on your time, energy, and wallet...check out our 4-month at-home Training System. Start small, be consistent and you will Live Your Own Success Story! #bariatricsurgery #weightlosssurgery #bariatricexercise #bariatricfitness #bariatricfitnessrx #exerciseforweightloss #cardioorweights
Questions on anything you just read? Please ask! Let's talk about it!