Last Updated on May 20, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
When it comes to fitness, I’ve noticed there are two primary groups of people: those who want muscle mass and those who want to lose weight. Personally, I believe in balancing muscle mass and getting more cardio exercise. You don’t have to aspire to be a body builder in order to enjoy a stronger body. On the other side of the coin, I’ve also seen incredibly strong arms attached to a body that is wider than mine. Why not work for an overall fitness?
Balancing Muscle Mass and Core Exercises
I would rather slim myself down a bit and enhance my physical strength. I don’t want to look like an underwear model, but it would be nice if physical activities took less effort. Why should you want to balance between strength and cardio workouts?
The core muscle groups are responsible for helping in a variety of activities. These support the rest of the body in virtually any activity you perform. For example, I can feel my abs tighten slightly when curling dumbbells. This is because the abdomen and lower back are both working to keep my balance while standing and shifting the weights around in front of me. I can even feel my abs tighten while sitting at the curl machine. Your core is an important piece to most activities.
Working on your core enhances general health, such as improving the heart and cardiovascular system. It reduces the onset of many diseases and will contribute to your mental capacity through increased blood and oxygen to the brain. It will also make many weight-lifting workouts that much easier to complete.
What Can You Do When Balancing Muscle Mass and Cardio Activities?
Unless you’re aiming at developing a ripped body, it really doesn’t take much additional effort to enhance muscle mass while getting a core workout simultaneously. In fact, most of my current workouts involve a mix of the two. It has made a profound difference in my life, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can adorn the cape and cowl and show myself off as a superhero. Here’s what a general workout looks like for me while using 10-pound dumbbells:
- 25 reps of curls x4: This has been one of the more noticeable enhancements to my body. It’s increased the size of my biceps, but not to the point where I look like an athlete.
- 25 reps of military presses x4: This is actually quite easier than I thought it would be. My shoulders have always been strong, though.
- One minute of standing toe touch x4: This is another exercise that has been monumental for me. Since doing these, it’s been easier to play golf and I am capable of standing on my feet for longer periods of time.
- 25 reps of dumbbell flies x4: Flies have helped define my pectorals, which has been helping reducing the “man-boobs” I was starting to develop. My greatest fear was to be in a bra before my 11-year old.
- 25 reps of dumbbell floor press x4: This is another exercise that puts strain on my chest, triceps and shoulders. It’s my goal to improve the number of push-ups I can do by strengthening these key points of my body.
- 10 reps of lying leg raises x4: While I’m on the floor doing presses and flies, I’ll merge into lying leg raises. This works out the core group of muscles. At one point in 2014, I was doing 15 of these with each set. It was amazing by how well it improved things in my life after a few weeks of steady workouts. For example, I was able to get up from the floor without straining for balance.
This is only my current beginning workout. Once I get to a certain point, I start adding planks, glute bridges or even play 30 minutes of Xbox Kinect Tennis after lifting weights. The point is, you can commit to balancing muscle mass and cardio exercise to improve yourself as a whole.
Any Weight Will Do
If you don’t have dumbbells, don’t fret. You probably have all kinds of things in the house you can use. For example, fill up a Walmart sack with rocks from outside. Go to the kitchen and curl a gallon of milk. If you have cats, empty cat littler containers work great for weighted workouts. Anything that ads resistance to your muscle groups is beneficial, regardless of how much it weighs.
When I play the Xbox, I wear weighted gloves. It’s only an extra 1.5 pounds per hand, but it makes a vast difference in calorie burn and fine muscle development. For instance, I can tell the difference when playing Kinect Tennis with and without the gloves. When I take them off, I am way faster than I was before. This is because I’ve grown accustomed to the weighted resistance. It’s the same effect that lifting dumbbells will do for you. After a few weeks you’ll notice lifting various things around the house takes far less effort.
You don’t have to work at being as dense as a brick for fitness. Creating a mix for balancing muscle mass and cardio improvements can create a healthier and stronger body in general. There is nothing in the rule book that says you have to commit to one over the other. Work out your heart as well as your arms. Every muscle in the body should be a focus if you want optimum health.