If you’ve been reading about fitness and training for a while, you will know that various trainers and fitness experts have a view about which type of exercise is best for health, fitness and body composition — fat loss, muscle building, strength and aerobic and anaerobic capacity.
The truth is, if you want all round fitness with a lean body, good muscle development and strong endurance, power and speed, you should do all three because they complement each other, even though at some level one will start to dominate the others. Here is a summary of how each type of training affects for your health and fitness.
Steady-state aerobics is basically cardio training on the road, track, treadmill, bike etc for anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours. It need not be long slow distance (LSD) as some trainers suggest it is. It does need to be continuous, non-stop activity — allowing for a few tens of seconds or so for refuelling or rehydration. It is valuable in building an aerobic ‘base’ for any fitness activity and for weight loss.
The characteristics of steady-state aerobics are:
Interval training is shorter bursts of exercise, often at high intensity, with breaks in between. Running fast laps of an oval, resting, then doing it again is an example. This trains you to continue to do fast exercise at a high intensity. Fast interval training is essential for team sports, sprints, medium distance races and even endurance races. Interval training can be an important component of a fat loss program.
Weight training, resistance training or strength training is about lifting weights or alternative devices, including your own body weight, in order to improve strength and usually, build muscle.
It’s worth doing all three of these types of exercise. Obviously, you need to concentrate on one if your sport demands it, but for general fitness, each provides an element of fitness not available from the other two.