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Topic: Cardio + Strength, What is the right mix?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2012, 3:01 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I joined a new gym a little over a month ago and am getting in a really good routine of the various classes offered.  I'm curious, though, what is the right mix of cardio vs strength training?  My goal is just to lose weight and firm up, plus build endurance for hiking.

My weekends will be cardio - I don't go to the gym on the weekend and doubt I will - mostly hiking, biking or kayaking.

How many days should I do strength?  Was thinking
M/W/F strength
T/Th/Sa/Sun - cardio
maybe a yoga day thrown in there


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2012, 5:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

FD, that's a loaded question and I'm sorry I don't have a great answer.

My goal is cardio. I want the bigger engine (lungs) for my racing. That's me. I like it, I'm addicted to it, and it works FOR ME.

Now, I do understand the importance of strength for muscles and how those muscles are required to help me go. Their strength plays into my muscular endurance and how long I can go.

Therefore I need both.

I typically do cardio 6days a week and even then sometimes 2x a certain days. But I have been tossing in weight training 3x a week. Most of it is total body, or body weight exercises and usually in circuit form.

I'm seeing strength gains as well. The strength will help pack on muscle (BUT DO NOT READ THIS AS BULKING UP) and help torch more calories while in a resting state. The general metabolic rate for muscle is higher than that of fat.

The increase in muscle also helps with injuries. It will help with the prevention b/c they are stronger. It will help with the toning.

Try adding a few (2-3) short weight routines a week. See how your body responds. If you like it, feel good doing it, see progress, keep it going by adding another day. Just be smart about it.

And come back and tell us what you did and what you thought.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2012, 6:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Will do, thanks.  I am completely a class-based person.  I don't do well when I try to hit the machines or the weight bench, but I'll go regularly if there are classes that hold my interest.  So, I'm finding a mix of both types of classes and supplementing cardio with swimming. 3 days for strength is probably good, I'm at two right now.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2012, 6:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just remember that muscle mass doesn't increase during exercise (that's just blood infusion.)  You get the benefits of weight training after the workout, mostly while you are resting or sleeping.  Thus, you need adequate rest and nutrition to benefit from your weight training.

Check your pulse immediately after you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed.  As long as your are staying level or tending downward you are ok.  But if your pulse starts to rise several days in a row then you are probably overtraining and you need to cut back immediately.

Many years ago I overtained while attempting to train for a mini-tri.  I spent 2 weeks in bed and almost 9 months recovering.  I never got back to the same times I was able to achieve before the muscular-skeletal breakdown.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2012, 6:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You should try swimming and fixed cycling to improve your body stamina and endurance power. Swimming will most suitable to improve your upper body endurance, your arms and shoulders muscles. This will be good to have a good performance in hiking. Jogging, cycling and rope skipping are good for lower body region.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2012, 7:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I always looked at things different. You can do whatever you want at a gym. It'll never prepare you for laying block, swinging a sledge or hanging drywall.
Practice hike heavy, recreation hike "reasonably" light.
Push ups and pull ups are the two best workouts. Squats( machine) are the best thing to do in the gym.
Jogging wont make you a hiker and hiking wont make you a jogger.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2012, 9:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(nogods @ Aug. 23 2012, 5:36 pm)
QUOTE
...
Check your pulse immediately after you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed.  As long as your are staying level or tending downward you are ok.  But if your pulse starts to rise several days in a row then you are probably overtraining and you need to cut back immediately.
...

Fantastic advice!

I have actually gone to the extreme of wearing a heart rate monitor during the nights a couple times a month, and when I feel run down.

Amazing what knowing a baseline and then seeing the recorded numbers will tell you.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2012, 9:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tony222 @ Aug. 25 2012, 5:53 am)
QUOTE
You should try swimming and fixed cycling to improve your body stamina and endurance power. ....

Agree with this too..

If you can swim, and are comfortable, you will see some great gains here as well.

Total body workout with both cardio and strength.

Also, it has been pretty heavily documented that those with a swimming background will do better moving to other sports because the cardio aspect is already heavily improved and it's simply a matter of getting the routine/muscular development down.

You'll see this a good bit in swimmers going to running/cycling mostly.

Still great advice. By the way, it really makes me miss the pool. I need to get back in the water!


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2012, 12:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The fastest and safest way to weight loss is a program that includes exercising your largest muscles in a strenuous controlled manner 3 times a week.  This should be under the guidance of a certified trainer (to make sure you don't do the wrong thing the wrong way that could lead to injury or pain) and at a gym that has, at least in the beginning, the 'captured weight' machines.

Associated with the weight 'lifting' is a diet that is higher in protein than you probably are used to, lower (generally) in carbohydrates and fat.   You eat equal sized smaller meals regularly spaced through out the day - 6 or 8.  Each meal has protein, carbs, vegetables and fat. Unless you are very obese, you will probably end up eating more food than you are used to eating so that you will have enough energy to move those weights often enough to get some spectacular results.

With some guidance from a trainer, you should have almost no pain associated with what you will be doing.  But you you should be so tired at the end of a session you can hardly get out of your clothes for a shower.   In about two weeks after the start of an active weight lifting program you will begin to have considerable and noticeably more energy.

The idea is to trick the body into thinking is has plenty of nutrition all the time and to keep it from going into a low metabolism mode to keep you from starving.  The second part is to encourage muscle growth especially in the bigger muscles (75% of which are below the belly button).  This will cause the body to 'scavenge' the fat from all over your body - including the hips, flabby arms and tummy.  Everybody's body is a bit different, so your tummy might be the last to go if it was the first bank your body used to make the fat 'deposit'.

Unless you have lots of money, you will be doing a lot of this on your own, following a daily 1 hour plan outlined by a trainer.  They don't have to be there except to once in a while, help you to keep going and to track your progress to make changes and suggestions to increase the weights and repetitions and equipment.

Most gyms stress cardio in their classes, mainly because it is easier schedule and to do it with a large group at once.

In 8 weeks, following your trainer's plan (they will try to sell you hours and hours of their time - don't fall for it), you should have some amazing results on your own.  You need a couple of hours of their time to start with to show you what to do and how much (take notes), and then perhaps every other week an hour to change your program.

You will have a lot more success if you can get a work out buddy who has the same needs you do.   You will show up on time more often and you will probably get more done in the hour if you plan it and don't gab most of it.  And you can exchange notes on your routines and food choices and meals.

If you have extra energy after the day's work out, don't use it on cardio machines - next time put it into more repetitions of the weight program.  After 8 weeks you can move to the cardio machines as you loose weight and gain the muscles to support a cardio effort.  Running, jogging or step machines are ok, but take waaay too long and more effort for the same weight loss results.

During the week you want a plan to get as many different muscles involved in using up energy (converting fat to energy) as you can. Your most efficient effort is to get the large muscles involved in converting fat to energy and muscle.   A lot of the body's activity is happening while you sleep - it is an excuse to get plenty.  Be sure to rest those muscles you put under stress for at least 48 hours.  This means a regimen that works out the lower muscles on odd numbered days and the upper body muscles on even days, with a complete rest day for both once a week.

You need to drink copious amounts of water to insure the chemistry has all the fluids it needs.  You have to skip sugars (all kinds) and alcohol...sorry.  What you learn to eat over that first 8 weeks has to be a lifetime change.  You are now what you ate before.  If you don't like the results of your nutrition 'plan' before, then you have to go to plan B.

You will get plenty of cardio (lots of huffing and puffing in between repetitions) and you will be able to take on most anybody on the trail by following a proper weight 'lifting' plan.   Leave the real cardio for later.  You need the energy now to loose weight.

Don't be discouraged if you don't loose much weight the first month.  Muscle is more dense than is fat.  Net loss might be zero.  What you will notice is you might loose a dress size tho. :).  Weigh your self every other week.  Talk about self control!!

Oh.  You won't end up looking like a man with bulging muscles.  Women don't build muscles like that with out some chemical help.  Female muscles are flat and shaped. Well, unless you push it all the way to look like an Olympian.

If you have time to spend extra time for you boss (working late or at home), your family and your friends you should be spending some of that time on the most important human in your life.  YOU.  An hour day on you is not a lot - in the realm of things.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 26 2012, 11:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Speacock - I need a like button.

I believe you nailed it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 26 2012, 4:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

good stuff.  you definitely need strength before cardio can pay maximum dividends.

be wary about trainers who provide too much nutritional advice, though, unless they have certifications there, too.

my father's trainer has him eating a dozen eggs per week plus protein shakes to increase his protein consumption...but hasn't addressed my father's MAIN dietary limitations: a horrible lack and imbalance of fruits and vegetables, insufficient fiber, and WAY too much sugar.  I don't think the trainer is providing advice that's as bad as it seems, because you do need to make sure you have enough protein when you're working muscles.  the problem is that the trainer hasn't really looked at what my father ACTUALLY consumes to make an assessment of his whole diet.  he really needs a nutritionist to overhaul his diet.

be aware, however, that not all cardio is created the same.  what a lot of people think of as "cardio" is low intensity blah work.  and I agree with SPeacock that that sort of workout is going to take too much time to achieve solid results.  but, interval training is also cardio work.  but it's not JUST cardio work.  Interval training pushes your muscles to the max, backs off, and then pushes them again repeatedly.  

a lot of strength workouts follow this general scheme, too, to incorporate cardio into a strength workout.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 27 2012, 9:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Body For Life program is a solid system for improving strength and cardio. It has the added side benefit of re-sculpturing your body.

I've only used their principles for the workout routines and skipped their supplement/nutritional side of things. Although I still recommend a protein supplement daily when on a program of that intensity.

Small portioned, regularly spaced, balanced meals should be sufficient to feed the machine. When "training" I've been making protein smoothies with the VitaMix, yummie!    

After consuming nearly every legal supplement available over the years only a basic protein supplement has shown to be actually worth while. That and creatine are the only ones that seemed to really have any impact. Creatine is unnecessary for what we are discussing here.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 27 2012, 3:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Goals:
1. Lose weight
2. Tone (firm) muscles
3. Build endurance

With those goals, both cardio and strength training are important.  With all the recent bad press surrounding CrossFit, I hate to steal from their vocabulary but it sounds like you're looking for what the CrossFitters call "functional fit" - fitness that serves you well in strenuous daily activities.

I'm the opposite of the OP.  I really dislike gyms and classes.  I much prefer the outdoors, and the solitude and variety that I find in developing my own workouts and doing them by myself.  So, with that said, I have no idea what a traditional gym might offer in terms of classes that would meet the OP's goals.

Speaking generally, the best way to increase endurance is to increase your breathing and heart rate for longer and longer periods of time.  The most benefit comes when you are in what is called the VO2 Max state (where you are consuming maximum oxygen).  The easiest way to determine whether or not your are working out in the VO2 Max state is by utilizing a heart rate monitor (HRM).  Technically, a HRM does not measure oxygen consumption but a measure of your heart rate is a strong indicator of your oxygen consumption rate.

Interval training is a widely recommended method for gradually increasing the amount of time you can spend working out in the VO2 Max state.

Workouts that put you in the VO2 Max state for more than 30 minutes at a time will be highly effective at increasing endurance, facilitating weight loss (when combined with a good diet) and firming muscles.

Workouts that combine VO2 Max performance with resistance of some sort build strength and endurance.  Add in flexibility and balance and you have the four pillars of fitness/exercise.  Equal focus on strength, endurance, flexibility and balance will give you a "functional fitness".  Routines that focus too much on one of the four pillars will provide you with sub-optimal functional fitness.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2012, 10:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

FireDancer.

It is best to do the thing that you will continue and enjoy doing.  If you don't show up to do something for which you have little interest in or just not you, you loose.

There are the known and proven ways to get 'in shape', but if you just don't do anything instead because that is not 'you' then you shouldn't.  Better to do less than little.

But whatever you are doing follow a regimen that challenges you and at the end of the workout, you should be very tired.  The following link is a great resource for managing a cardio program.  Note the jog/run program (beginners page under 'cardio') has specific expectations with each work out that you have to strive for.  For example, jog for so many minutes then walk for so many minutes then jog then walk.  Given that you are healthy, follow those guidelines even if they are uncomfortable and difficult to meet.  Somebody has spent the time to figure out the best way to that goal.

The body responds to stress in a wonderful way.  You just have to stress it without injuring it.

The cardio classes you go to should be increasingly difficult over a period of several weeks.  As should your weight lifting classes.  Each should have well defined and difficult goals to strive for.  

http://exrx.net/   (beginners page)


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 10 2012, 7:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I alternate between endurance and strength and recovery days.  My favorite for endurance is mountain biking.  For strength I run 5 flights of stairs for 20 or 30 minutes.  Recovery is 20 minutes on a speed bike at a low cadence or a day off.  This kicks my trash fast and has made it very easy to hike up steep trails.

If you want to get complicated check out any of Joe Friel's books.  More information that I will digest in a lifetime.  Mark on for training for training for Triathlons which applies to backpacking as an endurance activity.  

He helps you how to avoid over training.  apply what he calls smart training.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2012, 1:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Why don't you try aerobics classes its fun to do aerobics especially because of music and dance steps along with it, gives lots of strength with enjoyment.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 20 2012, 2:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I excersise every day because i use my bike for transport.
I suggest you do the same.Ride every day but dont over do it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 25 2012, 2:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is no specific right mix as needs vary by individual.  I lift weights 5 days per week for 1 hour per day.  All of my cardio is done outdoors, either hiking/backpacking or walking the dogs.  Do whatever works for you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 27 2012, 10:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks, all.  Having just gotten back from a 17 day vacation, I'm getting back into my workout groove.  I've found great strength classes for M, Th and Saturday, which is perfect.  The other days are a balance of swimming or something outdoors (bike, hike, kayak) and yoga once a week.  Feeling good, loving the swim routine and looking forward to keeping that up through the winter (bonus=hot tub/steam room after!)

Next step is the big one, which is the diet.  I've been working out hard for a couple months and haven't lost any weight (although I can tell my arms and legs are toning up.)  It's because I still am not eating great and eating way too many carbs.  So, I know what I need to do on that aspect.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2012, 4:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Firedancer @ Sep. 27 2012, 10:37 pm)
QUOTE
Next step is the big one, which is the diet.  I've been working out hard for a couple months and haven't lost any weight (although I can tell my arms and legs are toning up.)  It's because I still am not eating great and eating way too many carbs.  So, I know what I need to do on that aspect.

You definitely want to eat a balanced diet, but don't be afraid of carbs.  You can eat a diet that consists of 50% carbs, but be sure that the carbs come from quality whole food sources (e.g. sweet potatoes).  The bottom line for weight loss though is simply to bur more calories than you consume.  Figure out how many calories you approximately need using one of the countless internet calories calculators and then adjust as needed based on weight loss/gain.  Keep in mind that the numbers on the scale aren't nearly as important as waistline measurements since the gains in weight may be largely muscle.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2012, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In the first few weeks of exercising and eating sensibly for your work out program, you might not see a loss of weight.  Muscle is more dense than is fat (weighs more per same volume).  If you are building muscle at the expense of fat, you may not change the scale much but you will loose inches (in some places - usually not what you would want to go first).  By the end of two weeks if you restrict you diet to not  include sugars, alcohol and generally fast food; decrease the importance of fat, increase the protein a bit and be mindful of the carbohydrates you don't need to eat, you will loose weight at a surprisingly good rate.

You should not try any starvation diets.  That is just non productive if you have an exercise program you - need to have energy to do that.

Just make sure to include as much exercise and thought into working as much as you can on the bigger muscles (abs are not BIG muscles).  Those will be the ones using up the most fat calories.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 02 2012, 10:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

ALF, is right ... at its essence, weight loss is about using more energy than you take in.  Easier said than done.  "Working out hard" means different things to different people.  Without some measure of the number of calories burned during your workouts, it's virtually impossible to find the balance of food intake and exercise output that allows you to lose weight.

My workouts are hard enough (and long enough) that it's difficult for me to eat enough to maintain my weight (I don't want to lose any more than I already have).  

Are you using a calorie tracker for your workouts and diet?


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