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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?

3 comments:

  1. 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

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  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

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  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".

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