Saturday, July 3, 2010

Resistance Training.

Workouts can be classified under 2 categories. The first are the cardiovascular workouts (also referred to as cardio or aerobic workouts). Cardio workouts involve working out your heart & lungs to deliver more oxygen to your muscles. Examples of Cardio workouts are walking, running, swimming etc.

The second type of workouts are the resistance workouts - which involve some form of pushing or pulling using your muscles.

Just because this blog is all about running, one must not think that running (or cardio workouts) is the only game in town. As with all things in life, we need a careful balance between cardio and resistance workouts.

Let's first see the some of the benefits of resistance workouts:

1. Increased fat burning: When you do resistance training, you build muscles. Muscles are like fat furnaces. The more muscles you build, the more fat you burn. That should be reason enough for most of us to start with a resistance training regimen.

2. Increased Metabolism: More muscles mean you increase your body's metabolic rate (i.e. the speed at which your body burns energy). So as long as you have some nice muscles in your body, you can eat more and not gain any weight, because all the energy that you consume will be used by the muscles. Increase metabolism also means that you are more alert and active.

3. Increased bone density: As we grow older, our bones become brittle and frail - which results in all kinds of problems (including arthritis and other bone and joint related diseases). Resistance workouts reverse this process by increasing bone density.

Clearly there are plenty of benefits for resistance workouts. In fact, "The Cario Free Diet" book goes so far as to claim that you only need resistance workouts to get a great body and you should avoid all forms of cardio-activity as it is merely a waste of time.

As I mentioned earlier, I am a firm believer in balance in life. I neither want to look like those anemic Ethiopian runners who can run a marathon race in 2 hours but look like they have not eaten in the last 3 years - nor do I want to look like those extreme bodybuilders who walk like Godzilla - and make just as much noise.

A good strategy for a long-term fitness is to alternate between cardio and resistance workouts. For example, you can do cardio workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and do resistance workouts on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Sunday being the rest day. The resistance workouts will build muscles while the cardio workouts will burn fat. End result: A fit and trim body.

What kind of resistance workouts should you do?

Well, it all depends on your age, physical condition and your ability to bear pain!!. The best thing is to consult a certified trainer who will gauge your condition and recommend the correct exercises. 

I do resistance workouts 3 times a week. I tend to focus on just one part of my body each day, so my schedule is something like this:

DAY 1: Chest and Biceps.
DAY 2: Back and Triceps.
DAY 3: Shoulder and Abs.

I try to include leg workouts now and then - but usually avoid them since they hamper my running. i.e. if I do strenuous leg workouts, I cannot run for the next 2 days. I know that eventually, I will have to do leg workouts on a regular basis, but for the moment, my preference is running over leg workouts.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try your 3 day regimen above. Sound really good to me.