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Aerobic vs Anaerobic Training: Find the Best Workout for Your Goals | Fitness Tips & Advice

Most people that I talk to about fitness are confused as to what type of training they should go for. They ask me things like, "Should I be doing more cardio or weight lifting?"

When I hear this, I'm always tempted to give the same answer that my high school track coach gave me: "It depends." The best way to find out what type of training is right for you is to understand the different types of workouts, and how they affect the body and then, relate this to your goals.

With a little experimentation and mixing things up, you will easily find the thing that suits you best! Now without further ado, let’s have a look at the two main types of training activities - Aerobic & Anaerobic training.

What Is Aerobic Training?

Ever wondered what people mean when they talk about "aerobic training"? The term ‘aerobic’ is derived from two Greek words - Aeros & Bios, meaning “air” and “life” which is to say that aerobic activities require oxygen, in order to be sustained.

In short, it refers to any activity that gets your heart and breathing rate up and keeps them there for an extended period of time. Unlike anaerobic exercise, which is short and intense, aerobic activity is relatively low-intensity and can be sustained for long periods of time.

Popular examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and dancing. Generally, aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular and overall health, as well as increased endurance and stamina, which is why everyone should include it in their workout routines, regardless of the goal.

What Is Anaerobic Training?

Picture yourself working out. You're huffing and puffing, your heart is racing, and you feel like you can't go on after a mere 10 seconds of activity.

But you push yourself to continue, and squeeze out another 10-15 seconds. What's going on inside your body during this intense exercise? Most likely, you're engaged in anaerobic training. Anaerobic training is a type of exercise that uses the energy stored in your muscles without the use of oxygen.

As you learned, ‘aerobic’ means ‘requires oxygen,’ and well, anaerobic is the exact same thing but with the prefix “an” which means “without” in Greek, therefore, it doesn’t require oxygen and is the polar opposite of aerobic training.

Two great examples of anaerobic activities are sprinting and weight lifting.

When you engage in such activities, your body demands instant energy to fuel and sustain them. As a result, the body turns to anaerobic metabolism to meet its energy needs, where ATP, creatine, and muscle glycogen (stored carbs) are used.

Anaerobic training has many benefits - It can help you build muscle mass and strength, improve your cardiovascular health, and increase your strength and endurance.

However, it's important to note that anaerobic exercise should only be performed in short bursts.

If you engage in anaerobic activity for too long, you'll start to feel fatigued and your performance will suffer.

They Are… Different!

Aerobic and anaerobic training are two very different types of exercise, and there is no one type that is better than the other.

Instead, it is important for trainees to do both types of training, depending on their goals.

For one, aerobic training is ideal for those who are looking to improve their endurance and cardiovascular fitness, while anaerobic training is better for those who want to build muscle mass and strength.

However, both types of training have their own benefits, so it is important to find the right balance for your own fitness goals. With a bit of trial and error, you'll soon find the perfect mix of aerobic and anaerobic training to help you reach your fitness goals.

Final Thoughts

So what’s the difference? Aerobic exercise is done in a continuous and rhythmic manner. This could be something like jogging, biking, or swimming.

Anaerobic activity on the other hand involves short bursts of energy, such as sprinting or weightlifting, followed by periods of rest. And which one is better? Whichever one fits your goals the most!

If you're all about aesthetics, strength, and explosiveness, focus on anaerobic training and do some aerobic training here and there.

The opposite is also relevant - If you would like to develop more long-distance endurance, focus on aerobic training and only do intense exercises here and there.

Which is your favourite type of exercise? Comment below!

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