It seems simple but no matter what I answer there will be someone who disagrees with my point of view. I have friends and fellow trainers that swear by cardio as the basis for achieving 90% of your training goals, but my weight lifting and strength training friends would strongly protest this assumption.
There are studies that we can use to backup any view and just as many that will refute the same.
So, perhaps the better question should be; How do they compare?
One area that most studies seem to agree on is that for the best results in any sort of training, you need to do a mixture of both strength and cardio. Now this doesn’t mean that everyone has to run or cycle or swim or partake in what has traditionally been called cardio exercise. It also doesn’t mean that you should be lifting great big hunks of metal above your head in order to get stronger. Neither is necessary for a balanced training session aimed at general fitness and health.
In fact, one of the latest fitness trends is a perfect example of how you can achieve great results without doing any of the above. Calisthenics is the sport of body weight exercise that develops superb functional strength as well as improves your base cardio fitness and even your anaerobic conditioning. I will go into this more in another blog but for now a simple starting point would be to try doing 10x press ups / 10x chin ups / 10x unweighted squats with strict form for 5 sets and see how much your heart rate increases and feel how your muscles respond.
When embarking on a new fitness routine, the first question you have to ask yourself is; What do you want to achieve? What is your training goal? What are you training for?
Second question; Why? Find your why and you will find any exercise programme easier. Without a strong enough why, 90% of people fail to reach their goals.
Third question; What do I enjoy doing? What makes me smile or gives me a buzz when I'm doing it? If we base our training around something we enjoy then everything becomes easier.
Ask yourself these questions and make a note of your answers. In part 2 of this topic I will go through the pros and cons of each type of exercise.
In the meantime, just do something. Starting is the hardest step so don’t overthink it, just take a tiny step forward and start doing something you enjoy. Once you've started, working out the next steps becomes much easier.