What Should I Do? Cardio vs. Strength training

I was just getting ready to write the other day about a hot topic in the fitness/exercise world…but I held my tongue because I knew that some people might get upset.  Today…my tongue is held no more and here is what I was going to say:

There is a lot of controversy over cardio and the true benefits that it has.  Articles have been published, read by us, shown to our friends or to us and we are then left trying to decide on our own if we should be running miles at a time each day.

images (24)The same goes for strength training.  Some opinions are still out there that woman shouldn’t be strength training and the reasons vary from…getting too bulky, shouldn’t be allowed to lift heavy, we are too weak, etc.  The body image splashed across the magazines for clothing and ads aren’t necessarily of woman who strength train…but rather woman that are just skinny.  Seeing muscles defined on a woman’s body seems to only be in ads for fitness equipment or on fitness quotes throughout Pinterest and the web and those photos are quite extreme at times.

It is SOOO confusing, right?!?  What REALLY is going to give us the results we are looking for and what SHOULD we be doing?

Honestly, I think this is an answer that each person needs to ask themselves.  We need to look at our goals that we have individually and see what it is that we want to do and what we need to do in order to reach that goal.  PLEASE…and I’m serious about this…DON’T LET WHAT YOUR FRIEND IS DOING OR WHAT I LUV BE WHAT DICTATES HOW YOU EXERCISE!

Personally…my goal is fat loss and strength building.  Why?  I have fat to lose 🙂 and that has been my goal since day 1 on this journey.  Strength building is important to me because I need my body to work.  When I don’t focus on strength training as much as I should I start to have pain because one muscle isn’t as strong as it needs to be for me.  Lately my hips have been giving me a lot of pain and that is because I have backed off a lot on strengthening those muscle groups for that area and my body is just letting me know that I’m forgetting to do something.  I need my muscle groups strong in order for my body to function with the least amount of pain possible but I also need to balance those muscle groups.  Example:  When I do back squats I am using mostly my quads and also need to make time for my hamstrings as well so I work the front AND the back of my legs.  One of my goals is to also have a stronger upper body because it is really weak compared to my lower body.  I’ve had issues with one of my shoulders and I know that if I just get it stronger that the chances of injuring it again will be less.

Running usually causes me some issues once I get to about 2 to 2.5 miles.  I used to only be able to walk/slow jog (I’m talking at a pace of 3.5 mph groupies which I know some of you mall walk faster than that) a total of 1/2 a mile when I started.  THAT WAS MY LIMIT IN DISTANCE & SPEED.  I was like the tortoise in the story and all my friends were running past me and could have run laps around me.  That was frustrating but that was what I needed to do and what I was capable of doing at the time…so now that I can get to 2.5 miles without my hips killing me is pretty good.  BUT (this is a big part right here…), BUT when I have pain I know that what I’m doing is not something that is good for my body and I need to stop or slow it down so I don’t have pain.  I honestly don’t think that I will ever be doing a 10k and I really probably should think about how many 5k’s I do in a year.  Last year was a few too many.  This year I have 2 scheduled and am thinking that I might do a third…but in the back of my mind I am hearing the words, “Don’t push it.”

969703_375869895850999_1440142239_nWhen the question “Should I strength train or should I be working on running 5k’s, 10k’s, etc.?” comes up and is asked of me…this is my answer…

Do what makes you happy and what helps you reach your goals.  If you like running…go run!  If you like strength training…go lift something.

We recently have started two different challenges at The Journey…

  1. “Let’s Lose This Fat!” Challenge that I will be leading.  If you are interested in learning about fat loss and strength training…come on over and join us!  We are following a book written by Nia Shanks and we just started last week so you still have time to catch up and be part of this group.
  2. Couch 25k program that will end with a virtual 5k which Cori is leading.  This starts this week and there is an app that is available you can download we have posted on this event to help you on this journey.

Any of these challenges sound interesting to you?  These are both events on our Facebook page and can be found at www.facebook.com/smallchangesbigpicture.  Click on the link and come on over.  You may even learn that you have a new luv!  🙂

Remember…if you are having fun while working out you will probably be more consistent and have better results!

Thanks!

– Jessica

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