Nearly every time I put up a transformation picture of November until now, I get asked "How much cardio do you do?", "Did you lose weight with cardio and then lift weights?" or "I'm running 5k 3-4 times a week, should I start with weights?".
First off, I am not "anti-cardio". For me, cardio is supplementary to my goals. I am not saying you shouldn't do cardio, I just want to advise that it is not necessary if you have goals similar to mine. At the moment my goals are aesthetic (to look good) and to be flexible, strong and mobile. If my clients want to improve their overall fitness levels or have a goal of running a marathon etc. then that is a different situation.
I see so many people, women especially, killing themselves on cardio machines in the pursuit of a "toned" body. Obviously cardiovascular fitness is important too (for the heart and lungs) BUT I think so many women that want to look "toned" don't realise that the easiest way to achieve this is to grow your muscles and reduce body fat. Lifting weights with a proper exercise and nutrition program will make your muscles bigger, and it increases your metabolism more than cardio. Therefore you will burn more calories day to day and reduce bodyfat so you can see these muscles. You won't look bigger. I hope I am proof of that!
Weight training has completely changed my mindset on food/exercise. Before, I used to run 10km to come home and eat the calories I had "earned". Now I see food as fuel. The more I eat, the harder and heavier I can train and the better my results will be. You start seeing your body as a machine you build up to be the best it can be, rather than starve and break down.
For me, I just see cardio for increasing energy output and too much of it coupled with a very low calorie diet can break down muscle tissue too. If I have time to kill and I have already done my weight training that morning, you *might* see me on the stepper for 30 mins or on the bike doing some low intensity cycling, because it will burn a few extra calories. Cardio is beneficial but if I was stuck for time I would never do it instead of weight training. I like to keep it in my arsenal for when I need an extra push, or if I know I will be going over my calories for the day.
Also I find it quite boring or extremely tough so my thoughts are why do something un-enjoyable if I'm getting the results I want without it?!
Of course this is only my opinion. If you genuinely enjoy your cardio then I'm all for it. You just need to make sure you are fueled for it so you are not breaking down any muscle tissue and moving further from the "toned" look. (If that is your goal!)
If you would like to enquire about personal training or online coaching, click here.