Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why Men Need Cardio and Women Need Strength Training

   The resolutioners have hit the gym in full force! I do not resent this surge in gym membership, I simply hope they don't give up after a few weeks or months. I hope they continue to make healthy lifestyle choices even when the going gets tough. I also hope they are doing all that they need to do. As a personal trainer, I hear it all the time. Men: I want to bulk. Cardio won't give me big muscles. Women: I don't want to turn into the hulk. I want to tone up and be skinny. I don't want to lift weights. As someone who goes to the gym regularly, I see it all too much... women spending their entire time on the treadmill, afraid to go towards the free weights and the men avoiding the treadmills and heading straight for the heavy weights. This is wrong, on so many levels.
   Men, you are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease than women. I don't know why, but that's what all the doctors say. You want to work those muscles, well your heart is a muscle too! And it needs cardiovascular training to make it perform at optimal levels. You should be warming up before you hit the weights anyways, but an extra 15-30 minutes getting that heart rate up will not ruin all your gains. It has been proven through research, that cardiovascular training will not decrease your muscular performance. If anything, it will help burn more fat. Stop avoiding it!
   Women, you are at a higher risk for osteoporosis than man. Again, it's what the doctors say, especially if you are a Caucasian female over 50, the risk is even higher. The best way to prevent osteoporosis? Weight bearing activities! So yes, walking and running do count but don't let that be the only weight bearing activity your body gets. As you put your body through the stress of weight lifting, it forces your bones to become stronger as well as your muscles. You will not become the hulk. I promise you. Your body does not produce enough testosterone to become the hulk. Toned, you will become toned, from weight training. Muscles also burn more calories at rest. Having more muscle mass, means burning more calories. If you are still skeptical about this, please refer to my blog "A Pound is Not a Pound; Muscle vs. Fat".
   Still hesitant? I have the answer. PLYOMETRICS! Plyometrics are explosive exercises that work your entire body and your heart. Think box jumps, burpees, jump squats.... Any kind of explosive movement. Not only are you utilizing your entire body weight as resistance, you are getting that heart rate up. Do a bunch of box jumps and you will be a believer; not only will you be breathing heavily but the next day your legs, and abs, will be burning.
   Don't skip on something important because of common misconceptions. Always work towards a well rounded workout that includes a warm up, cardio, strength training, cool down, and stretching. This will decrease injuries and increase the positive effects exercise has on your body. Don't neglect something, it is all important! 

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