Answering the age-old Question: Cardio vs. Weight Lifting for Weight Loss

Cardio vs. Weight Lifting for Weight LossWhen you’re ready to embark on a weight loss journey, you’re probably stuck with one last question: Which is better, weight lifting or cardio? Here are a few thoughts to help you answer this question and embark on your new adventure.

Cardio Burns More Calories per Session

Studies have found that the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn, regardless of the activity. At the same time, they’ve also discovered that those who are serious about weight loss will burn more calories per cardio session than they would with a weight lifting session if they exert the same effort.

Weight Training Helps You Burn More Calories Each Day

Weight lifting doesn’t burn as many calories as cardio, but it has many other important benefits, including:

  • It’s a more effective way to build muscle, which burns more calories at rest than your other tissues. This is why many believe you must build muscle to increase your metabolism.
  • Studies show that you’ll burn more calories in the hours after your weight training session, than you would if you’d just completed a cardio workout. In fact, some studies suggest that your resting metabolism will remain elevated for up to 38 hours after weight training. The same cannot be said about other types of workouts though. This is proof that the calorie-burning benefits of weights aren’t limited to when you’re exercising, but that they can last for hours or days afterward. Additionally, it’s important to note that a more intense workout will increase the number of calories you burn afterward, thus helping to improve your weight loss even more.

Why You Need High-Intensity Interval Training

It’s important to explore your other options for workouts that can help you with weight loss. One of the most popular is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This involves short bursts of very intense exercise followed by low-intensity recovery periods. It’ll last for 10 – 30 minutes and consist of various exercises like sprinting, biking, jump roping, and other body-weight exercises.

When studies have compared HIIT workouts to weight lifting programs, researchers have discovered that a HIIT workout will burn 25 – 30% more calories. It’s important to understand that this doesn’t mean that other types of exercise aren’t good for you to undertake throughout your journey towards losing weight.

There was also another study done in which 400 overweight and obese adults undertook a HIIT exercise regimen. Here it was discovered that traditional cardio workouts were able to reduce a person’s body fat and waist circumference to a similar extent.

You’ll also find some research studies that show that HIIT-style workouts can burn about the same number of calories as traditional workouts. However, these studies did find that this depends on the intensity of exercise you choose to undertake. This is also based on research estimates that show a 160 lb. person can burn around 300 calories in about 30 minutes with a traditional workout.

Another possible way in which you can benefit from HIIT is by spending less time exercising. This is because you have rest periods included in between your intense periods of activity. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) this is very beneficial. Considering that they’re one of the largest and most respected organizations when it comes to exercise recommendations, you can trust in their evidence-based recommendations when you want to lose weight

The Bottom Line

Fitness 360 truly believes you need a personalized fitness routine consisting of both weight lifting and cardio to help you meet your weight loss goals. Get in touch with them today to create your ideal exercise program.

Picture Credit: Clem Onojeghuo5132824