I Do Cardio Boot Camp, Do I Need Basic Weight Training?

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Answered by: Laura, An Expert in the Benefit of Weight Training Category
Nothing can replace basic weight training, except lifting on machines or with certain angles and your body weight. There are two types of exercise your body needs to stay in ultimate shape: aeorobic (cardio) and anaerobic (weight training or resistance training.) Doing one without the other is like dancing without music; you just don't get the full effect.

High intensity cardio workouts -- even those that use light weights to get your heart racing, sweat pouring and muscles burning -- primarily work your body aerobically. That means your body uses oxygen for energy. Your body becomes highly efficient at transferring oxygen from the lungs to the tissues to give you more stamina. Running, spinning, Zumba and Boot Camps and cardio machines like the elliptical and stair climber all increase your cardiovascular health and promote a healthier heart.

Basic weight training, not Olympic or bodybuilding programs, is the ideal complement to aerobic training. Both energy systems were designed to act as our body's defenses against natural disasters and enemies. The hormones produced by heavy resistance training help balance the body and contribute to your good health. Exercise has never been more important than in the last decade as technology allows us to live more sedentary lives, and weight training is more necessary than ever.

Two hundreds years ago, and all the tens of thousands before that, gave us plenty of reasons to run, climb, dig, build, harvest and hunt. These two strength systems developed to meet those needs and it will be some time before evolution may change us to spongy blobs with only a few small skeletal muscles for pushing buttons. In the meantime, we need to find ways to aerobically and anaerobically exercise our bodies regularly.

Active Hobbies

Walking, running, dancing, swimming, basketball, tennis and bicycling are all good hobbies to keep you aerobically fit. Aerobic technically means "with oxygen," and anaerobic means "without oxygen." So what fuels a good heavy bench press? Hormones, triggered by your mind in response to your "need" to lift this weight and keep it from crashing your chest cavity.

Therefore, you can't read and weight train. You can't watch TV and weight train. You can't work with weights that present no challenge to your strength. You must concentrate on the lift. You must rest -- sometimes up to two minutes -- between heavy lifting. The mirrors on the walls are not to admire your physique, they are there to help you concentrate on the flexion of the specific muscle you are working. You don't have to look like a bodybuilder to weight train, but you do have to lift like one.

The effort you put forth triggers a chain of hormones that eat up blood sugar, build bones, balance brain chemicals and make you feel good. As you become stronger and can accomplish day-to-day tasks that used to make you groan, you'll discover your self-confidence grows. This will help you to take on more adventurous activities.

There are many weight training programs written for specific sports, for men, for women, for the young and the old. Start with basic weight training. It's worth it to have a book with pictures and thorough descriptions, or a personal trainer to start you off right. Weight training, because it requires rest, is most effectively performed every other day for three to four times a week. Cardio training can be done daily, and you should never let more than three weeks lapse without either workout. Both types of exercise should be performed for life.

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