Cardio addict trying to understand strength

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So I am recovering from an addiction to cardio exercise and actually exercise addiction so today I challenged myself to go to a new class that isn't cardio....Bodyworks plus abs. Figured my friends from spin class went so it would be intense...and it was but in a weird way.

We did tons of squats and reps with weights, but I didn't sweat and wasn't out of breath. Not at all like spin where I am drenched and heart pounding out of chest. But every single muscle in my body is sore. I was overcome with the desire/compulsion to do cardio, but could barely walk so it didn't happen.

I shared my concerns with the instructor who then shared how she has overcome exercise addiction and everything. It was amazing and too much to post here, but something else she said struck me. She said there was enough cardio in that class and that I would be burning more calories after because of the weights. I am so confused? What was she saying. How could I be burning calories in excess of just normal functioning if I didn't even break a sweat in class. Does strength training still burn calories?

Replies

  • RllyGudTweetr
    RllyGudTweetr Posts: 2,019 Member
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    Yes, it does. Sweating means you're sweating; it doesn't necessarily indicate you're burning many calories.
  • snazzyjazzy21
    snazzyjazzy21 Posts: 1,298 Member
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    Sweat isn't related to calorie burn, it's a byproduct of your body trying to regulate temperature. Everything burns calories. Strength training wouldn't normally burn calories, but it strengthens (and if you're not eating at a deficit) build muscle which in turn helps to burn more calories throughout the day.
  • cacollieotr
    cacollieotr Posts: 2 Member
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    So I'm trying to get my head around this, too. I'm new to strength training and to myfitnesspal. I love seeing how the cardio I do offsets the calories I've eaten. However, I just finished an hour long strength work out and it seemed to have no impact on the calories allowed for the day. Do I understand correctly that strength training does not burn calories?
  • rick_po
    rick_po Posts: 449 Member
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    Bodyworks plus abs is probably another cardio program. Just because it uses weights doesn't mean it's a strength program. I'm sure there is a small strength component for newbies, but without a rigorous progression plan, it's simply an intense cardio class. For your first class, you might be experiencing that newbie strength component. But that will go away soon, and then you'll be doing plain cardio.

    For a lot of these programs, the weights are there to add intensity to the cardio. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't make the program a good strength program.

    If you want to get strong, look for a program that has clear, specific progression rules. For a beginner strength program, it is common to increase weights more than once per week.
  • kimothy38
    kimothy38 Posts: 840 Member
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    I sweat just as much lifting weights as I do doing cardio. Doesn't matter if I'm doing bodyweight exercises or using dumbells etc. Good on you for not giving into the need to do cardio.
  • mathjulz
    mathjulz Posts: 5,514 Member
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    So I'm trying to get my head around this, too. I'm new to strength training and to myfitnesspal. I love seeing how the cardio I do offsets the calories I've eaten. However, I just finished an hour long strength work out and it seemed to have no impact on the calories allowed for the day. Do I understand correctly that strength training does not burn calories?

    I think it depends on how you set up your sets and such, and how intensely you strength train, but it will burn some calories, just not as much as cardio. For example, according to MFP, running for an hour at about 6mph, I would burn around 600 calories. Lifting weights for the same amount of time give me about 200 ... much fewer calories, but IMO so much more effective at meeting my goals (lower body fat, look good :wink:). You can log strength training as a cardio and it will give you a burn, but be careful of overestimation. (I usually do supersets so there's less resting in between, if you do a lot of resting, you won't burn as much, just one thing to be aware of).

    OP - like others have said, sweat isn't an accurate gauge of calorie burn. I break a sweat vacuuming my house if the a/c isn't on, but don't consider that a workout. Feeling tired after the class is an indicator that you've worked your muscles. And like I said above, strength training burns calories, but probably 1/3 or less than the same amount of time in cardio ... however, maintaining muscles (at a deficit) or building muscle (at a surplus) will help boost how many calories you burn overall, because muscle is "expensive" to maintain.
  • JustinHastings
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    So I'm trying to get my head around this, too. I'm new to strength training and to myfitnesspal. I love seeing how the cardio I do offsets the calories I've eaten. However, I just finished an hour long strength work out and it seemed to have no impact on the calories allowed for the day. Do I understand correctly that strength training does not burn calories?

    Strength training absolutely burns calories, as does any physical activity, but I don't believe MFP adds calories to your daily allowance from strength training. I imagine this is because it's too difficult to properly estimate calories burned with weight training, but that's just speculation.

    Weight training helps you burn calories both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, you're burning calories from the exercising itself. Long-term, you're burning more calories from the additional muscle mass you've gained.

    Edit: I see now from the previous post that you can add in weight training in the cardio section and it will affect your daily allowance.
  • RllyGudTweetr
    RllyGudTweetr Posts: 2,019 Member
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    So I'm trying to get my head around this, too. I'm new to strength training and to myfitnesspal. I love seeing how the cardio I do offsets the calories I've eaten. However, I just finished an hour long strength work out and it seemed to have no impact on the calories allowed for the day. Do I understand correctly that strength training does not burn calories?
    If you search for 'weight lifting' under the cardio header in the exercise tab, you'll see calories burned. Some choose to list it there.
  • JoeDenison
    JoeDenison Posts: 18 Member
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    If you do strength training that utilizes full body movements or at least involves multiple major muscle groups at a high enough intensity, you will get a cardio workout at the same time and you will sweat big time. You won't experience that if you do isolated exercises like curls and such, or if you do a few reps of heavy lifting and then have long rest periods. There are many examples to see: I'm following a high intensity interval strength training program from maxworkouts.com. It definitely kicks your butt if you give it all you've got.
  • apriltrainer
    apriltrainer Posts: 732 Member
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    Bodyworks plus abs is probably another cardio program. Just because it uses weights doesn't mean it's a strength program. I'm sure there is a small strength component for newbies, but without a rigorous progression plan, it's simply an intense cardio class. For your first class, you might be experiencing that newbie strength component. But that will go away soon, and then you'll be doing plain cardio.

    For a lot of these programs, the weights are there to add intensity to the cardio. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't make the program a good strength program.

    If you want to get strong, look for a program that has clear, specific progression rules. For a beginner strength program, it is common to increase weights more than once per week.

    Agreed! Progression is SO important. There is a book called New Rules of Lifting for Women. Great place to start. I barely sweat when I am powerlifting, although I get REALLY fatigued toward the end of my work sets. But my bodyshape has changed dramatically.
  • cacollieotr
    cacollieotr Posts: 2 Member
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    Thanks for the feedback, especially the tip about weight lifting under cardio!
  • VelveteenArabian
    VelveteenArabian Posts: 758 Member
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    You have to understand exercise.

    Cardio is short for cardiovascular - which basically means your heart and blood vessels, but also includes your lungs. When you are doing cardio workouts, your heart and lungs are really what you're exercising, which what helps your heart race and you feel out of breath.

    Strength training is about building muscle all over your body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn doing the same exercise as if you were less muscled. You will also tend to weigh more because muscle is more dense than fat (Here's a visual: http://forlivingstrong.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/fatvsmuscle.jpg) This is why a person can weigh more than someone else, but be way skinnier. You can also be "skinny fat" and have very very little muscle, and can actually have more fat than when you were heavier but look small because you've just depleted your muscles that much.