Cardio is good, cardio is great, lets us put more on our plate….IF you love it, that is! I personally do NOT love cardio, and am willing to eat cleaner and train in a specific way so I can do less.
This is not a new concept, and it was first introduced to me by Bill Phillips, author of Body for Life (one of the gold standard programs for beginners in my opinion). The idea is that lifting weights will always kill more fat than cardio because of the afterburn it creates. You burn more fat during the cardio session than you would with weights, but once you step off the treadmill, it’s pretty much over. However, the effects of your lifting session will continue to burn calories up to 15 hours later, increasing the overall fat oxidation as a result. Not to mention you’ll completely change the shape of your body, which cardio alone will never do.
For this reason, weights are always priority number one for me. If I am short on time and have to choose between them, it’s always weights. And on days when I want to incorporate both, I revel in the fact that weight training increases my heart rate enough to serve as the initial warmup for my cardio session.
You know the old addage that says you have to put in 20 minutes of cardio before your body starts to burn fat? Well, you’ve already done that with the weights, so theoretically you’re getting the effects of a 40 minute cardio session with just 20 minutes of actual cardio activity. I find this to be one of the THE most compelling elements of this training, and I’ve grabbed onto it with both hands, my friends.
The bottom line is this: I get that many of you love your cardio, so by all means do it to your heart’s content, but at least make sure it immediately follows your lifting session so you get the most out of the overall workout.
If you don’t love it, try doing only 20 minutes immediately after the weights OR ditch the traditional cardio and complete a metabolic finisher (under 10 minutes) and see what happens. You might just do the impossible – create some precious time for yourself, which is most likely a scarce commodity in your world.