weight lifting vs cardio Why I Love Strength Training?

I have been studying hormones recently in relation to how we burn fat fast and get ourselves looking younger and sexier. Things I have noticed is that there are a few myths out there as to what gets us the best results. Ive studied numerous styles of training from self defence, yoga, olympic lifting, pilates and bodybuilding for strength and tone.

The thing that I find interesting is what gets us the best results! The old school of thinking is that running for hours such as marathons or even 10k runs is the key to fat loss. I have to say I disagree strongly and my two criticisms are 1) running does not fix your posture and 2) running is not the fastest way to stimulating your core from a hormonal perspective….. sprinting and walking does but I will address that another day on another blog. To me Pilates and Strength Training are excellent and safe ways of getting superbly flexible, fit and toned in one shot.

Running or any long distance cardio can be hard work especially if you are asthmatic, if performed poorly it can wear and tear on the joints, especially if we are trying to lose weight and have lots of fat to lose. The other thing from a hormonal perspective is that it can actually damage some of us if we have too much oestrogen in our body, a clear sign of this is if we are storing more fat around the legs, chest and arms than we want; or if we store too much fat at the mid and upper back, which is due to being a sugar burner, someone who eats lots of sugar or is addicted to sugar. The problem with cardio for fat loss is it encourages more desire for sugary foods and carbohydrates generally.

 The Solution…. Strength Training! Squats, Deadlifts, Push Ups and Core Work.

You may not realise this little idea, and I am a real advocate of it, but standing exercises performed in yoga, martial arts, pilates and strength training all have movements performed standing which work the core in a real hardcore manner as they get the trunk and torso to engage and hold the body upright and in balance, from single leg or double leg work standing.

I have been looking at old school legends like Joe Pilates who by the way, is and was an absolute legend for so many reasons. I’m going to mention a few. He is an inspiration and has influenced millions in improving core, strength and tone as well as posture, things that I very much favour and teach for one reason, it works. What people don’t know about Joe is that he was a gymnast, a self defence expert hired by Scotland Yard and he was also a competitive boxer who studied Yoga and Qi Qong whilst also being a pioneer in corrective exercise. The last interesting fact about Pilates is that he was asthmatic so he dedicated his life to improving physical strength because he believed that the modern lifestyle and poor posture led to inefficient breathing which is the roots to poor health.

I am so proud of his achievements and for years have been massively passionate about posture and strength training to optimise hormones because I love the impact that strength and postural correction has on peoples overall health, tone and energy. Joe and I believe in the benefit of one exercise massively and this blog would turn into a book if I wrote every benefit on this exercise… in fact some people have written books on it! The Squat. The reason is that when oestrogen is too high in the body especially in women but in worse cases also in men fat will store in excess on the front of the leg, the quads and also the back of the leg, the butt and hamstrings. The squat will work all of these and of course the core as well.  The other thing it benefits, if done correctly and with good technique is in the postural correction which will elevate energy levels and improve core. With the barbell its all about the position of the elbows and shoulder in relation to the bar, and from pilates movements the core is challenged more when the arms are overhead and more work is emphasized on correcting the trunk and core whilst performing the squat movement.

My idea of keeping young is picking exercises that are prescribed to the individuals challenges and address those concerns. Lets look at movements that use full range of flexibility and that affect the hormones to make us look and feel fantastic. The reason I’ve used the Squat as the exercise for this article is that, the Squat is used in so many forms of exercise from fitness junkies to pilates enthusiasts and to martial artists. Yet I see it performed incorrectly every day by not only your average gym users but also especially in Group Exercise Classes. Also for this articles sake the message I’d like to give is, if in doubt get professional help on this movement on a one-on-one coaching basis. The benefits are so great, it will be well worth it!

The back squat performed correctly gives you a phenomenal shape in the legs, the butt, the back and the core and to boost it even more it boosts men and womens testosterone levels making you look younger and feel stronger. Not a bad combo for one movement.

Like I said earlier and I repeat again it enhances posture, strength and tone if used correctly I have a Squat You Tube video ready for you to give you an idea of how best to perform this exercises and some of the variations, so check it out yourself.

Make sure this is a foundational part of your exercise programme. Get Squatting…. See and Feel the Results