The Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following exercise guidelines for aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly.
Resistance training alone is not a effective for weight loss. There is a lack of evidence to support weight training for weight loss and maintenance. However, it’s important not to discount the role of resistance training in health improvement.
In addition to functional movement and performance benefits provided by regular resistance training, lifting weights has been associated with improvements in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, even in the absence of significant weight loss. Regular resistance training has also been shown to decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and decrease triglycerides. [Kelly & Kelly 2009]
The human body is composed of two primary components: fat weight and lean weight. Lean mass is subject to decrease with aging and with a lack of training. While strength training has obvious implications for improving power production, it is equally important from a health and fitness perspective. Properly performed resistance training has a positive impact on the entire musculoskeletal system*. With appropriate training, muscles grow and become stronger while without appropriate training, muscles diminish and become weaker.
If your goal is to lose body fat, combining cardio and resistance training will get you results. Here are some examples on how to combine the two:
Increase Muscle with Weight Training Muscle helps to burn more energy at rest, even if only a little.
Combine Resistance Training Resistance training with continuous movement in a circuit training program or a similar an aerobic training program in which you work out on progressive workstations at a moderately high intensity.
Do Regular Aerobic Exercise* of Your Choice, with Jogging, Cycling, Swimming or Walking. Considering the amount of energy you would use in an hour of either static weights or cardio, you must do some form of consistent aerobic or cardio work to burn fat. Try alternating weights and cardio days for five to six days each week.
Do High-intensity Cardio* for Shorter Elapsed Times, or Try High-intensity Interval Training*. High-intensity exercise, even if only in short bursts, may rev up the metabolism and mobilize fat in the post-exercise period. However, don’t overdo it! Burning fat is a long-term project and you don’t want to get ‘burned out’.
The Standard Advice is to do Cardio and Strength Workouts in Separate Sessions or on Alternate Days. A sample program would have cardio workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, strength training on Tuesday and Friday, and use Thursday for yoga, stretching, or recovery or vice versa. Or, you can do your cardio in the morning and strength training later in the day. If you are concentrating on building strength, this will allow you to work on your upper body one day, then your lower body the next, most days of the week. But if you have trouble making time for exercise each day, combining cardio and strength workouts in one session is an option.
A well-rounded fitness program includes resistance training to improve joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercises.
*Musculoskeletal system: Provides for, support, stability, and movement to the body
*Aerobic Exercise: Simply means “with oxygen”. Any physical activity that has the ability to elevate your heart rate to its target and maintain that level for a minimum of 20 consecutive minutes.
*High Intensity Cardio (Steady): Steady state cardio is what many of us are used to. This involves exercising at a consistent speed and level for the entire workout. The idea is to work at a level where you can talk with little difficulty.
*High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Involves pushing your body well out of its comfort zone for anywhere from 5 seconds to 8 minutes, depending on the workout your doing. The idea is to work about 80 percent to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate.
HIIT vs. High Intensity Cardio? Which one should you do? The answer really depends on your fitness level and goals more than anything else. Keep in mind, completing HIIT more than two to three times a week is not recommended.
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