I was having coffee with a friend the other day and she asked me what my exercise schedule was. My answer, three days cardio three days strength. Someone had told her it was better to only do 2 days of cardio, she asked what I thought.
So for my third week of 52 Tips for Health and Fitness Success I thought I would share my answer with you.
My thoughts on what your exercise schedule should be…..two days, three days, four days, it really should be what works for you, but you need to do both, strength and cardio. When you show up to your workout, give it your all. If you are going to do cardio, do it, don’t show up and go through the motions because your not fooling anyone, especially yourself. You know if your cheating yourself, and that is just a whole lot of negative energy that you are putting out and carrying around. If your going to put on the exercise clothes, go to the gym, get it done.
Pick a cardio exercise (spinning, running, hiking, cross country skiing, swimming) that works for you, and work to your maximum level. With that being said I think its important for you to understand what your max cardio or aerobic level is, and you need to know when you reach it and if you are going past your max aerobic level into your Anaerobic level.
So what the heck is Aerobic Exercise and Anaerobic Exercise?
Aerobic means “with oxygen” or “ with air”
During Aerobic exercise oxygen is carried through your breath to the muscle giving them the energy they need to sustain the effort. When your exercising Aerobically your body uses two sources for fuel; glycogen (stores of carbohydrates in your body tissue) and fat.
Here is the scientific explanation: During Aerobic exercise Lactic acid does not form in your muscles.
Lactic acid the acid that forms in the muscle that interferes with the electrical signals in your muscles and nerves, that slows down reactions by impairing muscle contraction. Making your muscles sore and fatigued.
Anaerobic means “without oxygen” or “without air”
During Anaerobic exercise oxygen is not present because your body’s demand exceeds the supply. When you exercise Anaerobic your body only uses the energy source glycogen as fuel, burning fewer calories than Aerobic Exercise.
Once your body uses up all the glycogen your body starts building up lactic acid in your muscles. This can happen very quickly, which is why Anaerobic exercise is best in small bursts, one or two minutes.
That is what your spin instructor means when she yells “don’t go into your lactate threshold.” Well mine yells it…
So what does all that mean?
Aerobic exercise is great for overall cardio fitness and quality of life. It burns fat and strengthens your heart and lungs, reducing your risk for disease. I choose to do it three days a week, but two is fine.
Anaerobic is great for developing stronger muscle mass, improving your cardio-respiratory fitness (the way your body consumes oxygen), building overall endurance, energy and fitness level.
So which exercise type burns more calories?
Aerobic exercise burns more calories than Anaerobic because it is more efficient and uses fat as a fuel source. It strengthens your heart and lungs and makes you a happier healthier person.
However, Anaerobic exercise helps you to build lean muscle. The more lean body mass (everything in your body besides fat) the more quickly you will metabolize the calories you consume.
According to Fitness author Christian Finn, every pound of muscle you have your body will burn 6 calories a day, every pound of fat burns 2 calories. That means muscle has the ability to burn three times the calories as fat.
Aerobic is the better choice to burn the number of calories during an exercise, but Anaerobic offers you a long-term calorie burn.
Which should you choose? Both, mixing in Aerobic and Anaerobic will give you the overall cardio fitness with the strength you need to sustain your self as you get older. Try a spin class where the instructor will take you anaerobic a few times in a class, or throw in a few high intensity sprints into your jog routine. Try a workout class that offers interval training or throw in my 16 minute Tabata workout during your week.
For some inspiration below is one of my Tabata routines. ‘Tabata is a type of high intensity interval workout.’