Before my point of view comes across as an avid bodybuilding fan with his back against the wall, let me get my point of view across. Resistance training is in my opinion the superior form of exercise for body recomposition AND general health. Many gym chains will have you believe the cardio section of the gym is the best place to optimise your health and fitness, I have a different take on it and I will try and explain why. In contrast, for those of you who enjoy hitting the cardio hard on a regular basis that is fantastic and of course (most of the time) it should be beneficial to your health. It is just that I believe resistance training is superior, here is why.
When somebody describes ‘’cardio’’ exercise and points to any machine which is used for prolonged periods of exercise, generally the cross-trainer, treadmill, rower and so on. The term cardio is simply an abbreviation of ‘’cardiovascular’’ which means exercise which utilises your cardiac system, aka lungs and heart. For those who are yet to brave it and dabble with resistance training let me tell you, when it is applied correctly nothing gets the cardiac system working quite as hard. Keep the rest periods to 30-60 seconds, use drop sets and triple drop sets and then get into giant sets. Tell me your cardiac system isn’t working!! Although I never ever run, I am quite competent at going for a jog or prolonged aerobic exercise and I put this down to my intense weight training regime. My blood pressure and rest BPM are all healthy, better than ever in fact.
Lots and lots of prolonged periods of aerobic exercise, year after year can lead to a weakening of muscles which work in relation to your posture and joints. Resistance training (when done right) helps improve the strength and functionality of your muscles leading stronger posture and joints. Yes, wear and tear can occur with resistance training however I am not relating to ‘’hardcore’’ bodybuilding here but instead intelligent use of resistance circuits for improved health and function.
Most of us care about the way we look, it is human nature. If a client of mine has just 20 minutes 3 times a week to spare you can bet they are hitting the weights, not the treadmill. Resistance training creates a hormonal response within the body which leads to improved overall body composition, the opposite of what prolonged periods of aerobic exercise achieve. Men’s Fitness Magazine showed this theory at its best recently with the transformation (done by the mighty Nick Mitchell) of their editor, Joey Warner. An ectomorph with a passion for running was forced to drop that and lift weights just 4 times a week. The before and after pictures told the story, nothing else needs to be said.
Next time you think that sacking weights for lots of time of the runner will improve your long term health, think again.