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Strength Training Versus Cardio Training

We are so excited to announce MOVEMENT as the newest module to Rapid Refine! All movement is great, but did you know your body makes adaptations specific to what type of training you do?.  

Benefits of Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular training, also known as aerobic training, uses oxygen to meet the energy demands of exercise.  With consistent aerobic training,  the body will adapt to have better aerobic fitness, as measured with a Vo2Max test.

Cardio Improves Heart Function

With chronic cardio training, the heart increases wall thickness and the left ventricle becomes larger.  This adaptation makes it easier for the heart to pump more blood with each contraction.

It is also shown that cardiovascular training can have a positive effect on blood pressure, especially for those that started off with high blood pressure. (1)

Cardio Affects Skeletal Muscle

In skeletal muscle, aerobic endurance training:

  • Increases capillary density
  • Increases mitochondrial density
  • Enhances oxidative enzyme activity

To break this down, cardio essentially increases the size and efficiency of the “engine” in muscles. (2)

However, chronic aerobic training has little effect on muscle size.  The demand for this type of training mainly uses type I (slow-twitch) muscle fibers so these fibers will see a small increase in cross-sectional size. 

Cardio Affects Metabolism

Cardio increases the reliance on fat for energy during submaximal exercise.  The body becomes more efficient at conserving energy and glycogen stores are preserved better. Cardio may also enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce body fat.

Benefits of Strength Training

Strength Training is conditioning in which muscles are working against a force.  It is anaerobic, meaning the body doesn’t require oxygen.  Type II muscles are typically trained in anaerobic conditions. 

Strength Training Increases Lean Muscle Mass

Strength training is excellent for increasing muscle mass.  A common misconception is strength training will make you “bulky” instead of the desired “toned” aesthetic.  “Toning” is actually defined as increasing muscle mass while decreasing fat mass, and the best way to achieve this is by strength training. (2)

Strength Training Improves Bone Density

Improving bone mineral density with strength training will help reduce the risk of fractures.  The stress placed on the bones during strength training results in stronger and more dense bones.  

In the elderly population, strength training could improve quality of life not only by reducing the risk of stress fractures but also by improving balance and control with stronger leg muscles. (3)

Strength Training Improves Metabolism

An increase in lean muscle mass will increase the resting energy expenditure.  This means your body will burn more calories at rest and will become less efficient with conserving energy, making it easier to lose weight. 

The Takeaway

All forms of exercise are great, but without careful planning, you could end up never seeing real progress.  A well-planned workout and nutrition program designed by Fitness trainers and Registered Dietitians is a great way to ensure you will reach your goals and beyond!

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