Sunday, September 18, 2011


I am just about finished reading an interesting book by Alex Hutchinson titled "Cardio or Weights".   It was published this year.  The book is about fitness myths, training truths and the science of exercise.  The book provides the latest in research on the science of exercise and has plenty of tips to improve fitness, reach weight loss goals and achieve better results.  The book also points out what science can't explain in the area of exercise.

Alex Hutchinson has an impressive resume.  He has an editor role at several magazines, is a columnist, has a master's degree in journalism and a Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge.  

I learned a number of things from reading this book and a number of pages are folded at the corners as a reference guide for me to go back to.  Here are some examples from the book:
  • Starting in your thirties, you lose one to two percent of your muscle mass each year.  Strength training can slow this decline and help you keep your bones strong.
  • You won't accomplish much if you want to tone your muscles by using light weights.  You need to lift more than forty to fifty percent of your one rep maximum.
  • The amount of protein is more than enough in a typical North American diet to build muscle with a strength training program.
  • Each additional pound of body mass puts four additional pounds of stress on your knee, so packing on an additional pound a year for 10 years will increase your chances of developing arthritis in your knees by fifty percent.  
  • Activities that build muscle (like strength training) or provide jarring impacts (like running or basketball) are better for building stronger bones than cycling, swimming or elliptical training. 
  • Losing weight through exercise alone is challenging.  One study found that middle aged women had to exercise for an hour just to avoid gaining weight. 
  • Aerobic exercise burns the most calories but strength training keeps your metabolism high.  You need to combine both for the best results.
  • Based on a set distance, running burns more calories than walking and walking burns more calories than cycling.  For a set amount of time, running is first for calories followed by cycling then walking. 
  • If you are consuming a low calorie diet to lose weight, increase the amount of protein you consume to thirty five percent of calories to help avoid muscle loss.

If you are looking to learn more about the cardio and weight training training tips, improving fitness and the science of weight loss I would recommend reading this book.  The other thing I liked about the book as it is written in non-scientific jargon and is easy to read.

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