It’s another busy Monday. You’ve worked late and the kids need help with their homework. Your husband (thankfully) made dinner. You only have 20 minutes to try to squeeze in some kind of a workout so everyone can get to bed on time. You can either:
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and do a few sets of squats, lunges, shoulder presses and rows.
- Lace up your running shoes for a quick jog on the treadmill.
It’s the classic dilemma. When you only have a short amount of YOU time, how do you spend it wisely?
Here is the answer you’ve been waiting for:
Strength is priority one so spend your time with the weights.
In my opinion and experience, if something has to fall off your plate let it be cardio.
This is a huge mental shift for a lot of women. Cardio is still seen as the “gold standard” for fat loss. I have clients come in all the time who failed to do their strength homework but who are proud of the fact that they walked or spent some time on the elliptical. While I don’t want to discourage them (because all movement is good for health) their goals CANNOT be met by cardio alone.
Muscle drives your metabolism.
We lose muscle as we get older, thus slowing down our metabolism. Strength training is the ONLY way to preserve muscle.
Muscle boosts your metabolism.
If you want a bigger “afterburn” do it with weights. Repairing the muscles after a workout takes energy in the form of calories burned. Cardio’s metabolism raising effect wears off within hours (how long depends on intensity) while the boost of your weight workout can still be felt the next day.
Strength training creates the shape you want.
You can get a cardio effect from your strength training.
If you use multiple muscles groups or focus on big muscles, like the legs, your heart rate will go up. (You should see mine when I do deadlifts!) You can also minimize rest between sets or do a circuit to keep your heart rate up.
I realize there are exceptions to my rule. For example, if you’re training for a half marathon your runs should be priority one. But for most of us who are training for life, to stay healthy and happy, strength training is the workout that should not to be missed.