There is a lot of controversy surrounding weight training and cardio exercise. Just to name aÂ few; heavy weight vs. light weights; long cardio workouts vs. short intense workouts, walkingÂ vs. running, combining both kinds of workouts; How many time s aweek and how long; andÂ the list goes on. With all the equipment available and all the advice freely given, I’ve askedÂ Maggie to help sort this out. So, just few questions to someone who should know. MaggieÂ Garemani and of course her “˜to the point’answers.
Maggie: Let’s start with the obvious.Â Why combine weight training with cardio?
Before I answer your question I want to discuss the positiveeffects weight training andÂ cardio exercise can have in reducing the stress most of us feel in our day-to-day lives. It isÂ not only “˜getting into shape’and staying there that’s a result of weight training and cardioÂ exercise, it’s the tremendous effect it has on the mind as well.
These days stress seems to be an inseparable part of our lives. There can be good stress;Â the kind that motivates us to perform better and, bad stress; the one that causes us to worryÂ about things in our day-to-day life and the really bad stress; that is brought on by a climacticÂ event. Stress causes the body to start stockpiling fat in the mid-section. Dr. Oz explains,Â ”"¦your system thinks a crisis is coming”¦.It deposits fat cells into thebelly because it’s theÂ most convenient storage space.” So Maggie says, “To relieve the stress, take long natureÂ hikes and try to explore the beautiful trails around Southern California and elsewhere. ClearÂ your head by tuning into this magnificent and breathtaking creation of Nature.Â By lettingÂ go of the “˜negative’messages in our heads, tuning into the marvels around us and seeing theÂ harmonious connection of all things, you’ll experience a sense of stress-free relaxation.Â Besides exercise and meditation, keep healthy snacks around to munch on in order to avoidÂ empty calories. Things like apples, grapes, raisons, and any other fruit you like. Ok, enough,Â let’s answer your questions and I’ll spend a lot more time talking about stress in futureÂ issues.
When we do a cardio workout, our body burns hundreds of calories, but our metabolismÂ slows down almost instantly when we stop. On the other hand, after strength training, weÂ burn fat for hours. “Regular weight lifting can boost our metabolic rate by 15% and IÂ recommend that a good 45-60 minute workout, 3 times a week should be just about right forÂ most people.”
Also, combination workouts help us eat less. American and South African researchersÂ discovered that people who combined aerobics and weight trainingfor 16 weeks curbed theirÂ intake of calories, carbs, proteins, and fats. The aerobics onlygroup reduced only their fatÂ consumption and the weight onlygroup saw no reductions. The researchers think thatÂ combo workouts alter metabolism in a way that makes you feel full sooner.
When doing weight training what size weight and how many reps do you recommend or am IÂ lost?
Let me give you a little hint -If normal everyday activities like going up or down the stairs,Â carrying bags of groceries, gardening, or picking up heavy objects tires us out, it might be anÂ indication that our muscles may not be getting the workout they need. Women who loseÂ strength steadily beginning in their 30′s often train with weights that are too light toÂ maintain muscle, a study in sports medicine and exercise sciencesuggests. So, you shouldÂ not push yourself like an Olympic bodybuilder. If you want to stay strong as you age, do 2 toÂ 3 sets of strength training exercises with weights that are heavy enough to tire out yourÂ muscles after 8-12 repetitions and slowly increase the weights as needed.
How much cardio should be in the mix and what type?
Cardio exercise can relieve depression, anxiety and stress. A 30 minute walk may make youÂ feel better when you are “˜down in the dumps’, University of Texas researcher found. Try toÂ do a cardio exercise of some type for 90 minutes -5 times a week and you’ll get the biggestÂ boost. According to a new study from Temple University, one possible explanation is:Â Walking (cardio exercise) helps the body produce endorphins, themood-boosting chemicalsÂ linked to “runner’s high”. Now, if you really feel aggressive, try riding a bike, either a roadÂ or mountain bike. I like the mountain bike better because you don’t have to compete withÂ 3,500 pound cars!
What do you consider a “˜comprehensive’program of strength and cardio in just a fewÂ sentences?
You are asking the wrong person because I personally like to experience all kinds ofÂ different exercises. Obviously you can get down on the floor and do sit-ups, pushups andÂ stretching exercises and accomplish a lot with virtually no expense. You can then walk 3-5Â miles in an hour or use a stair-master or treadmill. I actually tried riding a mountain bikeÂ recently with a friend, and I found out that it was harder than I first thought, although it gotÂ me out in nature which is where I love to be. Keep a few light-weight barbells around theÂ house and use them daily. That ought to do it, BUT don’t over do it!
How does your eating regimen play into the above mentioned program as far as energy andÂ calories?
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I like to have a high protein energyÂ breakfast. I suggest you skip the cereals and muffins loaded with sugar. The sugars in theseÂ items are easily digested, which means they speed through your system providing virtually noÂ value and much more harm than good. “An egg white omelet is a good choice”says LouisÂ Aronne, MD., Director of the Weight Control Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital inÂ New York City. Another very good choice for me, which I hardly change, is the combinationÂ of 2 tablespoons (level) of raw/unsalted (better yet organic) almond butter with raw/organicÂ honey for sweetening, slicing or smashing one banana in it and sprinkling a generousÂ amount of cinnamon on it. Banana is very high in potassium whichseems to be low in over-Â weight people. So by raising their potassium level they are actually lowering their sodiumÂ level as well. Besides, it really tastes good!
Do you have suggestions for the type of food one should eat just prior to a work out?
Actually no, but I normally grab an apple or a banana or a few almonds and you’d beÂ surprised how much energy it gives you for an hour or so workout. Remember, your bodyÂ burns the sugar it stores in your muscles first, so it makes sense to force the body to storeÂ more sugar in your muscles rather than your fatty tissue areas. It gets used quicker. It’s likeÂ having a full tank of gas or stopping at the station every 20 minutes.
What about the intake of water before during and after?
You know my take on that subject. You can never get enough. I passedÂ along an email recently regarding the hot weather. Drink a bottle or soÂ of water 20-30 minutes prior to your workout and then keep drinkingÂ throughout. The secret is no secret ““hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Most people have good intentions when it comes to fulfilling expectations, but we are onlyÂ human and fall short a lot of the time. How many of us have said, “I’ll send you that”¦’or I’llÂ meet you there at 7:30 or I just got too busy or I don’t have the time to exercise”¦”? We allÂ have. The problem is most of us don’t think of how it affects others or how they perceive usÂ when we fail to follow-through on our commitments ““no matter how small. Here is a quoteÂ from an anonymous source that says it all.
CommitmentÂ is what transforms a promise into reality
It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions, and
It is the actions which speak louder than the words.
It is making time when there is none.
Coming through time after time, year after year after year.
Commitment is the stuff of which character is made.
It is the power to change the face of things.
It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.