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       Fitness Tips For 11/17/2004           

The Great Weight Lifting vs Cardio Controversy
by Bill Whedon

It's another case of people wandering around with blinkered vision, 
touting that which they see as the One And Only Way, the Holy 
Grail of Fitness.  Aerobics classes with "toning" sessions, using 
tiny, ineffective weights.  Weight-lifting advocates telling all 
and sundry that trips to the Aerobics Room will create the dreaded 
"free radicals", burn up muscle tissue... it's all just too bizarre!  
Add to that the "infomercials", complete with "World Famous Personal 
Trainer (insert name)", selling us "The Four Minute Workout!!", and 
separating the wheat from the chaff, almost becomes an exercise in 
futility.  Whom do you believe?

Believe This:

Exercise is a Good Thing.  Aerobic exercise improves the 
cardiopulmonary system and the "endurance" muscle in the body.  It 
increases the metabolism, both while being performed, and for some 
period of time afterward, which causes the body to use more "fuel", 
some of which is going to be fat.  Weight training improves the 
"strength" muscles in the body.  It also increases metabolism during 
and after the exercise, and as an added bonus, increases LBM (Lean Body 
Mass), adding muscle tissue which is metabolically active, and which 
uses up those pesky kilocalories even when at rest!

Exercise has Negative Aspects, too.  Actually, any sort of exercise at 
all will cause the body to create free radicals -- it's a fact of 
biochemistry.  It's also why just about everyone in the health and 
fitness industries (along with much of the medical community) will point 
you to antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and foods containing beta 
carotene, as a regular part of your diet.

The thing to remember, amidst all the confusion, is that there is a lot of 
half-truth, and text-out-of-context out there.  People find one thing 
which works for them, and believe that it will work for everyone.  Or 
they'll jump on a bandwagon and demonize any method which doesn't match, 
precisely, their narrow view of exercise.  It is best, therefore, to 
spend some serious time finding all the information we can, from several 
sources, (preferably sources with no axe to grind, or profit to make 
from supplying information), and to make our own genuinely informed 
decisions, based on real knowledge, rather than opinion, advertising, 
and innuendo.

Why Do We Exercise?

Pick a reason, and you'll find someone who exercises for that reason.  
Looking better, feeling better, being able to perform better at some 
sport, just for fun -- there are lots of possibilities.  But the 
ultimate result of all of that exercise, should be a healthier you!

So, What Should We Do?

Weight Training and Cardio

There really isn't a single specific answer to that question, which 
fits everyone.  The best general-purpose plan I can give you here, 
goes something like:

   1. Do some aerobic work 3 to 4 times a week, for about 20 to 30 
minutes per session (not including warmup and cooldown); make it 
something you really enjoy -- not something you'll consider a chore.  
Exercise only works if you keep it up!

   2. Go lift some serious weight twice a week, concentrating on 
hitting every major muscle group.  This need not take more than 30 
minutes per session, if you're doing single-set, low-rep-to-fatigue 
(or failure) routines.  See a Certified Personal Trainer for more 
information on HIT (High Intensity Training) methods.  If you 
enjoy living in the gym, of course, you can go on and do pyramids 
and ad infinitum reps; just don't expect those methods to work a
any better than HIT for simply adding mass -- they won't.

   3. Eat properly, and frequently (5 or 6 small meals a day, 
rather than 2 or 3 large meals).
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Neither trulyhuge.com nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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