Demystifying Training Principles for Women (PART 2)

Cardio vs Strength Training

Yoga and the treadmill have their place within an exercise regime, however, they alone are not enough to achieve personal goals of losing weight or toning as quickly as training strength and cardio together. Most women avoid resistance exercises purely for their desire to lose weight and not look ‘bulky’. What most women aren’t aware of is that strength training produces a more efficient weight loss effect than an equal amount of cardio. Current research states that when you exercise with resistance, your muscles are broken down. Over the next 24-48 hours, your body is then expending energy to rebuild and repair those muscles which consequently leads to recruiting more calories. This process is known as the ‘afterburn’ affect and implies that once your workout is finished, your metabolism operates at a faster level and you are still burning calories whilst simply sitting on the couch watching television. For this reason, it is evident that strength training will produce a more efficient weight loss effect than an equal amount of cardio, such as running on the treadmill.

By incorporating moderate-heavy resistance training into your exercise regime, not only will you be burning more calories but your muscles will get stronger, denser and you will burn the fat on top of your muscle, consequently achieving the ‘toned’ look that most women desire. Therefore, scientifically proving that it is purely a myth that females who lift moderate-heavy resistance, will get “bulky”.

So can females train like males and achieve a different ‘look’?

The answer is yes! In fact, it is suggested that females can ‘train like males’ for not only a confident body, but for multiple health benefits which you cannot develop by purely doing cardio training. For example, adding resistance training into your exercise regime not only increases your muscle strength and density but also has a positive effect on bone density.5 This will then decrease your risk of osteoporosis later in life. Therefore, thanks to genetics, hormones and dietary differences, the bottom line is females can still train like Tarzan, yet look like Jane!

Jamie-Lee Gale (B.Sc.- Exercise Physiology)
Absolute Balance Consultant