16 Aug MIXING WEIGHTS IN WITH YOUR CARDIO WITH MICHAEL WALTON
Whether your goal is to lose weight, add strength or gain muscle mass, cardio activity should be a key part of your workout. Being an athlete—a runner at that—I combine cardio work with weight training several times a week and have been doing so since my college days at USC. It’s given me the benefit of being strong, healthy and lean all at the same time. I must admit, had I not been an athlete I might not be as generous with time in the weight room or with cardio activities. Here are a few steps to follow for beginning athletes and also experienced “workout warriors.”
If you’re a newcomer to training with weights I give the following recommendations:
- Start out lifting three days a week with a day of rest in between each, i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. When I first began weight training some years ago I was ambitious but naïve and trained everyday without rest, working the same body parts. What I found was that my body was becoming fatigued and I was not seeing significant gains in strength because I would not allow my muscles the rest they needed to grow. Learn from my mistake. Work hard while you are at the gym but make sure you have at least one day in between.
- Do full-body workouts initially. Meaning: work your upper and lower body all in the same session. If you’re a beginner it’s crucial to build a base of overall strength. Eventually, you’ll graduate to working various body parts on different days but that should be a bit down the line.
- Start with Universal Machine weights and calisthenics. Once you have the hang of things and your routine is set, then you’ll be ready for free weights.
For those who are already familiar with weight training, but seek to be leaner while still maintaining or gaining in strength, here are some tips in doing so.
- After you’ve concluded your weight lifting session make sure that you engage in some sort of cardio activity, preferably running. I’d recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio, up to five times a week. You’ll still be strong and maybe somewhat bulky (depending on you level of weight training) but you’ll also be lean with a strong heart to boot. Lifting every weight in the gym might mean you’re strong but it does not mean you’re healthy. You’re goal should always be sound overall health.
- A lean high protein diet will also assist in helping you establish that lean look that you’re aiming for. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and plenty of water are great ingredients to polish off your desired state of health. If you’re heading straight from the gym to the nearest burger joint, you’re wasting your workouts and who wants to work hard for nothing?