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Cardio or Resistance?

Ah, one of the classic questions. So which is better, cardio or resistance training? Now, let me get this out of the way real quick. I’m not a professional, no certified personal trainer, but I have been involved in the fitness industry and have been researching for many, many years, and do know my stuff! Most of my knowledge comes from actually trying these things out for myself, so anything that I share or recommend is based on my own personal experiences. So let’s get down to it. It seems that there is always a debate on which is better for you, cardio or resistance training. You will hear women say that cardio is better, but then men swear by resistance training. What is all comes down to, though, is how your body responds and what your goals are.

I’ve been a Beachbody Coach for over 3 years now, helped literally thousands of people get into shape, and the one thing I’ve discovered is that everybody is completely different. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Yes, there are some common basic things that everybody can do to see some results, like monitoring your calories, sticking to whole grains, fruits, lean protein, etc., but eventually you’re going to have to make your own adjustments in order to reach your goals. Maybe your goal is to bulk up, and if that’s the case, of course doing high intensity cardio every single day is not going to be the answer for you, and you’re going to want to stick to heavy resistance training, taking in a ton of calories and using the right supplements. The key to gaining mass is to take in more calories than you burn, so burning 1,000 calories with an Insanity Asylum workout isn’t going to be the answer. However, if you’re looking to lose weight and you’re not worried about putting on any mass at the moment, then more cardio than resistance would be best.

Now here’s something that will throw a wrench in the whole thing. Personally, I lose more body fat if I stick to JUST resistance training. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t make sense because you see all these articles and hear all these things on the news about how cardio training is the answer to losing body fat, but apparently my body doesn’t like to listen to any of that. When I went through my first round of P90X, which is a balance of both resistance and cardio training, I got absolutely fantastic results losing 25 lbs and 10% body fat in my first 90 days. A few months later I decided to try Insanity for the first time, which is pretty much ALL high intensity cardio training for those of you who don’t know, and I had to stop after the first 3 weeks because of losing so much muscle mass! On top of that, my fat loss was very, very slow and to be honest it was very frustrating! When I took a step back and analyzed what the issue was, I discovered that my body responds better when I incorporate some sort of resistance training into my routine. When I found that out, I started doing a P90X/Insanity hybrid and started losing body fat again. Then I decided to experiment and do nothing but resistance training, and I got into the best shape of my life, having the lowest body fat I’ve had and being the strongest I’ve been in years. I put on about 12 lbs of muscle without sacrificing ANY body fat.

Why did that happen to me? My body burns more fat when I do resistance training rather than cardio. Cardio helps me burn a lot of calories, but it burns muscle as well. Straight resistance training allows me to maintain my muscle mass but lose fat at the same time. For the last 3 months all I’ve done is resistance training and I’ve gotten some of the best results I’ve ever gotten. I’ve got to mention, though, that my resistance workouts aren’t a joke. They are super intense, and I’m always speeding up, slowing down throughout the workout to get some sort of cardio in. I get my heart rate up there, but I’m not doing some crazy jump knee tucks either, but it works for me. Something I’m looking forward to, though, is doing P90X2, which is coming out in December, which is going to incorporate some high intensity cardio training and some resistance training, so it looks like I will start doing some cardio again.

So, which is better, cardio or resistance training? The answer lies with you! You have to discover what your body responds to best. If you don’t know, experiment like I did. However, you can’t go wrong doing a balance of cardio and resistance raining, like what you would find with the P90X Classic schedule or with a program like Chalean Extreme. Even if you are a woman, it’s very important that you still do some resistance training so that you can build some muscle and burn more calories throughout the day. Plus, it will allow you to tone your muscles.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about P90X or any other Beachbody Program, email me at coachspence8@yahoo.com.

3 comments

  1. Best line of all: “The answer lies with you! You have to discover what your body responds to best.”

    Fitness is a journey and there’s no “one size fits all”… that’s part of what makes it so fun.

  2. hello josh so basically stick to the classic routine till i figure out whats best for me then?

  3. @Collin. Yeah. With the Nutrition Guide, I’m not sure where you can get it. You will need to create a MyFitnessPal account to know how many calories to take in.

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