Aerobics or Weight Training? A Nurse and Fitness Trainer Shares Her Program


Aerobics or Weight Training? A Nurse and Fitness Trainer Shares Her Program

By Debbi Jouradjian, LVN and Certified Fitness Trainer
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Over the years, I’ve heard many debates about which exercise is best for fat loss. Some are passionate about the effects of weight training, while others are vehement that aerobic exercise reigns supreme. After losing 77 pounds and keeping it off for nine years, what I have found is that a well-rounded approach is truly best. Here is the exercise program that worked for me:

Take the First Step: Get Moving!

Start slowly by walking just a few blocks and stretching afterwards. Eventually it becomes much easier, since our bodies become efficient at doing what we practice. As you improve and master longer walks at a brisker tempo, increasing your intensity for longer durations will show progress. When I initially began my walking program I never imagined that two blocks of a snail’s pace trot could eventually evolve into running 10Ks. Who’d have thought — me running a 10K? Now I look forward to them!

Results That Are Worth the Weight

While cardio gets the heart moving, strength training builds muscle. Begin using light weights. As you become accustomed to the amount of weight, and have mastered the correct form, technique and execution, you can begin to challenge your body by lifting more weight at a gradual progression. When your routine becomes easy, that is a good indicator it is time to progress to the next level. If you are unfamiliar with how to use weights, machines or other exercise methods, I advise seeking out a well-written book with “how-to” pictures or consulting a qualified professional for a personalized session. Doing so will help prevent injury and give you the results you want more efficiently.

Over the years, I’ve spoken to many people who believed in the all-or-nothing theory when came to exercising. They approached a new exercise program overzealously. While I applaud their enthusiasm, I caution that over-doing it can lead to injuries and setbacks. It is worth the time investment to learn to do it correctly and progress accordingly.

Stetching Your Workout

Flexibility training is the second half to the weight training. It includes stretching after each exercise session or taking a yoga class. Many exercises can shorten our muscles, and it is important that we keep them stretched and elongated to maintain a balance.

Maintaining a high level of motivation is key. As you progress in your exercise program, it is important to keep your routine interesting by changing your exercises. Doing so will also allow you to work your muscles in different ways and avoid overuse injuries.

Diet and Rest

Sometimes a misconception exists – “if I exercise more, I can eat more.” Initially, I fell into this pattern of thinking, but the truth hit me: if I didn’t reduce my caloric intake, no amount of exercise would result in fat loss. It produced health benefits but not FAT loss. I needed to monitor my intake versus expenditure closely to continue losing fat. Along with a healthy exercise routine and diet, you must include rest. Adequate rest provides the body with time to heal and repair itself.


Day One: Aerobic activity: brisk walking 20-30 minutes (distance and/or intensity constantly increased each week); stretching 10-15 minutes
Day Two: Weight training for the entire body 30 minutes; stretching
Day Three: Rest
Day Four: Rowing machine 20 minutes (time and intensity increased as tolerated); stretching
Day Five: Weight training 30 minutes; stretching
Day Six:  Rest
Day Seven:  Brisk walking 25 minutes; stretching

As I became more conditioned I’d add more time to my workouts and eventually went from training five days per week to six days. It was a natural progression. I needed to assess my energy levels realistically in relation to my work day and be careful to do as much as I could to exercise effectively yet not over train my body into an exhaustive state.

Many of my clients stated they learned what their body could tolerate and were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they responded to the conditioning exercises even at older ages. It is wonderful when people feel happy and healthy as a result of making exercise an integral part of their lives. They beam with pride about their fat loss successes. With careful planning and practice, healthy eating and exercise habits can be a stellar addition to the quality of your life. Happy training!   

Debbi Mouradjian is a certified fitness trainer and has been a licensed vocational nurse since 1987. She speaks on topics such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension and embracing lifestyle choices to reduce obesity. She can be reached at and blogs at

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