Finding the Right Balance
A combination of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training is the key to success
Mention the term “workout,” and most people will immediately think of grueling long- distance running or another type of cardiovascular exercise. It seems like a natural connection to imagine long bouts of cardio on the treadmill or stationary bike. But this vision is what ultimately can lead many to fail in their attempts to become healthier. I call it the “cardio obsession.”
Cardiovascular exercise is important for long- term weight loss and fat loss. However, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Cardiovascular exercise helps to burn fat and extra calories. But when used to extremes, it can bring those efforts to a halt and lead to metabolism burnout, decreased thyroid function, and muscle loss.
The key is to find the right balance of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training to prevent these issues from happening. Assuming that we all have busy schedules, the rule of thumb would be to both weight train and complete cardiovascular exercise three to four days per week. This will ensure that you are balancing building lean muscle and burning fat in an appropriate ratio.
With that in mind, the single most important and effective exercise you can do for your body is the squat. The myth of squats being bad for your knees and back is simply that— a myth. When properly executed, the squat can have enormous positive benefits for the human body.
In fact, it’s been said that if you had to choose only one exercise to complete for the rest of your life, you should choose the squat. Not only does it work the largest and strongest muscles in the body, but it also helps tremendously with balance and hormone release.
IT’S BEEN SAID THAT IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONLY ONE EXERCISE TO COMPLETE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, YOU SHOULD CHOOSE THE SQUAT.
The squat works the lower body muscles so much that individuals who do squats often see an increase in their upper body strength and tone as well. This is because the squat causes the body to release hormones that are conducive to gaining strength and increased muscle tone. This is something from which both males and females can benefit. And you don’t have to do squats at the gym; simply stand up and sit down into your kitchen chair at home. Do this for three sets of fifteen reps and take note of the positive benefits!
Ideally, it would be best to combine both resistance training and cardiovascu- lar exercise within the same workout, with a combination of weight lifting and aerobic exercise interspersed with each other throughout the workout. However, some of us are not able to do that. For those who need to separate the two, complete the weight training first before moving onto the cardiovascular portion. And try your best to maintain that balance! Michael Stull is a wellness consultant and exercise physiologist with more than eight years of experience in designing health and wellness programs for individuals and businesses. Learn more about him at michaelstull. com.