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Training for Strength or Endurance: Why Not Both At Once?

*** (I am going to try to keep this as unscientific as possible, layman terms only)

Body adaptations to fitness training (FT) happen in a wide variety of ways. Typically, when training, one is looking to either increase endurance through cardiovascular training or strength through any variety of weighted exercises. In training this way, the body adapts specifically to the desired goal; either strength or endurance. But is it possible to train for both at once?

Well, have you heard of Metabolic Conditioning (METCON)?  METCON is high intensity, usually circuited, exercise completed in a fixed amount of time; typically from 10-20 minutes. It works a combination of anaerobic and aerobic cardio and some kind of weighted exercise; which can be anything from body weight to Olympic lift exercises.

But first, what are some of the adaptations to Endurance and/or Strength Training?

  1. Endurance (Cardio) Training: Uses “Muscle Fiber A”
  • Stronger Heart
    • Lower resting heart rate
    • Lower resting blood pressure
    • More efficient at delivering blood to the body
    • Can work harder, longer
    • Heart rate decreases faster post exercise
  • Stronger Lungs
    • Increased VO2 Max: can take more oxygen in and use it more efficiently
    • Get oxygen from the blood easier
    • Helps flush toxins out faster
  • Increased Energy Storage
    • From increased oxygen (see above)
  • Increased Blood Flow
    • Increases nutrient absorption
    • Aids in muscle repair process
  1. Strength (Weight) Training: Uses “Muscle Fiber B”
  • Increased muscle size (cross-section) <<< sorry
    • Produce more force “lift more”
    • Increased blood flow and nutrient absorption
    • Can work harder, longer
    • Can store more energy (glycogen)<<<my bad
  • Increased Metabolism
    • Muscles need and burn more calories
      • Burn more calories even at rest
    • Other Benefits
      • Tendons, ligaments, and bones all get stronger

Now we will take a look at the adaptations associated with METCON training. Changes seen are a combination of both cardio and weight training modalities.

  1. METCON Training: Uses a arrangement of “Muscle Fiber A and B”
  • Uses multiple energy sources
    • Burns sugar, oxygen, and fat dependent on the phase of the workout
  • Increased fat and weight loss
    • Burns more calories post exercise “after burn”
  • Increased lean body mass
  • Increased strength
  • Increased endurance (sprint and long- slow distance)
    • Get better at cardio
  • Able to work stronger over a longer period of time
    • Get better at strength training

 

So, as you can see, each types of exercise with it its own set of benefits. Dependent on your particular goals, which exercise type you choose, should be best to help you reach them. However, if you are short on time, want to simply get more overall fit, or have hit a plateau with your other training style, METCON training is a proven winner. Incorporate it with an emphasis on your objective as both endurance and strength can be increased through METCON training.

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