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Friday, 9 March 2007

Cardio vs Weights

When I first began exercising at 80kg I couldn't imagine the thought of cardio. I was quite proud that I lost nearly all of my weight without "breaking a sweat". My weight routine was simple, 1 exercise per body part, 2 body parts a day, each body part once a week, 1 day off. I was a "newbie" -- I lost weight and gained muscle quickly.

After I got to my goal weight and joined the gym I did all sorts of variations -- split routines, compound exercises, pyramid weights etc. etc. I have never really found anything that thrilled me, or even produced much of an improvement. During this time I endured 20 minutes of steady state cardio prior to each weight lifting session as my calorie burning effort .

Since I discovered high intensity interval cardio [with a little bit of help from my Cardio Coach Sean O'Malley] I think I have become addicted to the sweating, panting and endorphin rush a hard, hard cardio workout gives me. In fact in the past two weeks, it's all I have wanted to do --I have not wanted to lift weights.

I guess the main reason I've gone off weights is the simple fact that it hurts! It hurts while you're doing it and it hurts the next day(s) -- 24/7. You can't walk up the stairs, or pull up your knickers, or laugh at a joke without pain. Frankly, lactic acid, muscle failure and DOMS is exhausting!!

So what is the solution? I don't want my muscles turning to fat [LOL] because they look good and speed up my metabolism.

Do I just jump on my new treadmill, pump up the music and run until I'm shagged until I get it out of my system? Do I go back to my simple weights plan and lift light so it doesn't hurt so much?

I guess I sometimes get to this weird place where I don't want to do something that is not going to produce "results" so I do nothing at all. You know -- why would I go for a walk when I know it doesn't elevate my heart rate enough any more to burn a significant number of calories? So I just sit on the couch reading your blogs instead. All the fitness gurus [the ones on the internet at least] tell me light weights, high reps are pointless so because I can't bear the thought of lifting dumbells I can barely get off the ground [exaggerated for dramatic effect], I don't lift at all. You see it sounds crazy when I actually say it out loud.

I guess it comes back to why I exercise. Do I do it because I enjoy it while I'm doing it? Or do I do it as a means to an end -- losing weight, being fit and producing an athletic body shape? Is the price to pay [pain] reasonable for the results I achieve [lean body mass]?

I am confused about what to do ... how do you determine if what your body is telling you is what it needs ['I need a break'] or is it just an excuse for laziness? Am I just trying to find a way of getting out of the 'work'?

It's not like I want to do NOTHING, I am just a little tired of physically hurting.

Any thoughts?


  1. Anonymous10:18 pm

    Katie, of all the people, you are the least likely to not want to exercise just to get out of doin it.... if you need a break, take a break!!
    A rest is sometimes the best thing for us as it means that we have more energy to get back into doing the things that we love!!!!
    Sue xxxxx

  2. Thanks Sue -- gee that was quick -- I just finished typing it!!
    I thought my holiday was meant to be my rest -- but I'm still exhausted.
    K xxx

  3. I do a lot of yoga and a lot of pilates - the kind where you only lift your own body weight - and not the fast cardio kind - the slow, meditative kind. I am down to very little free weight or weight resistance machine work - most of my muscle work is just working my own body. So, after your break - you might try some different classes or activities and see if you are just ready for an all around change. Deep water aerobics is also wonderful - resistance of the water - no impact - different - good workout.

    I have NEVER been one to use heavy weights - I have back and knee problems and am 45 years old and still want to be exercising and healthy and in no pain when I am 85 and 95. So, when I did use free weights and machines - I always used the lightest weights and moved very very slowly. One of my pilates teachers told me that a world champion level arm wrestler - trains - by holding a tea cup - out at arms length - for long periods of time - it isn't always the size/heaviness of the weight nor the pain that gets the "gain".