Saturday, March 29, 2014
Doing yoga with or without weights

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

I've heard a little about the benefits of yoga, both for strengthening and aerobics. How does this practice compare to weight training? Can one do both? Would they contradict or complement one another? I have done some weight training before, but never yoga.

-- Seeking Swami

Dear Seeking Swami:

If you are currently not doing any exercise, I would highly recommend yoga for a person seeking a fitness program. While I do not engage in practicing yoga, I realize the fitness and health benefits. Yoga can be fairly demanding. You don't just sit in the "lotus" position and meditate. I'm pretty certain of that. Indeed, one can become stronger practicing yoga. I believe weight training and yoga would complement each other. There was a fellow from India who performed all across the continent displaying feats of strength. He was featured several times in Muscular Development Magazine years ago. How about that? All he did was yoga, no weight training.

Saying that, I would still recommend that if your wish is to become strong quickly, I would want you to concentrate your valuable time on doing the weight training. I think this fellow from India was somewhat a genetic anomaly.

Weight lifting exerts a powerful anabolic effect on your muscles. This is well documented. If you have a lot of time, then I would say do both. Most folks do not have the luxury of much time, so if you fall into that category, you'd select one form of exercise over the other. This would be in response to what you are looking to accomplish. But certainly, the two forms are not mutually exclusive.

Since you did not elaborate in your letter what you are wishing to accomplish, perhaps you can do a little of both! That would be cool. I know of a few professional bodybuilders who do both throughout the year. They love it and they look pretty good, too.

One last thought. You should do an aerobic-specific exercise program to receive proper cardiovascular stimulation for your heart and lungs. This, I feel, is of prime importance, so do not rely on the yoga for your aerobics.

Tell you what, try to do both and write back. I'd like to know what happens. Good luck!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and former professional bodybuilder, he opened the first personal training studio way back in 1985. He has helped thousands get into and stay in shape. Contact him at:, Facebook us, or stop by Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.