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Weights? Cardio? HIIT? What should you be training?

This seems to be one of the most common questions floating around most gyms, what type of training should you be focusing on? It comes down to a few different factors, but your own individual fitness goals are the most important. I’ll take you through the pro’s and con’s of each.

Weight training

Weight training is the foundation training level for most gyms, and for good reason. There are plenty of benefits on offer when it comes to the weights section.

Pros:

  • Builds muscle mass whilst simultaneously burning calories: by far the best way to build muscle and add tone to your body no matter your goals!
  • Overall muscular and bone strength increases: will assist all aspects of your fitness as your body can function more efficiently
  • Injury Prevention: with a stronger working body there will be improvements in balance and posture; meaning muscular-related injuries will be less frequent

Cons:

  • Will not burn as many calories as an intense HIIT workout would
  • There is a risk of aggravating existing injuries or conditions
  • Training can be time consuming depending on your program

Cardio

You will often hear cardio being described as the best type of training for when it comes to losing weight. While this can be true, it is not the only way to build up a sweat and burn off some extra kilos.

Pros:

  • An excellent way to burn energy and fat storage’s over a period of time
  • Both comfortable and safe on the body
  • Your body can recover quickly from steady-state cardio – meaning you won’t feel as sore and energy depleted for the rest of the day!

Cons:

  • Time-consuming: Will take much longer to burn off as much energy as a HIIT session or intense weights workout would
  • Less muscle activation: Will be harder to build or tone muscles as you aren’t specifically targeting a muscle group
  • Has no ‘afterburn’ effect: your body will not continue to stay active and consume oxygen post exercise

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT training has gained popularity in the fitness world, and it is easy to see why with the potential benefits you can gain from it.

Pros:

  • Can burn a more calories in a shorter amount of time: great for those with busy lifestyles!
  • Has a large ‘afterburn’ effect: Your body will remain internally active for up to 24 hours post exercise – which adds to overall energy expenditure
  • Using multiple muscle groups: Will use your whole body to burn energy while toning up your muscles at the same time!

Cons:

  • Body will feel fatigued post workout: could impair any follow up activity such as weight training
  • Safety: There is a greater change of aggravating current injuries if technique and form is poor

To sum up – the best workout plan for you, is the best workout plan for YOU. I’d recommend consulting with a personal trainer (Hiscoes offers free plan updates for our members) to discuss your goals. In a perfect world you’d do a mixture of all three types of training, but not all of us have the time for that. While you might love the idea of HIIT training, if you’re getting over an injury, it’s just not going to suit and there’s no point putting a 10km run in your training plan if you hate running and it’s just never going to happen!

If you want to see significant measurable results, then weight training is the best way to go. Increasing the amount you lift each session is a sure way to tell you are making progress, plus it’s really the best way to change your body shape. As we get older weight training also becomes more important, in terms of increasing bone density and protecting our joints. Interested in focussing a bit more on weight training? Join our 8 week challenge. Follow a guided strength training plan over 8 weeks, under the watchful eye of a trainer every session, let the group help you with motivation and join in the weekly challenges. Read more about our 8 week challenge

 
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