Cardio or Weights: Which is Better For Weight Loss?
If you are looking to lose some weight you might be wondering what is the fastest and best way to get rid of fat. At the very basic level, to lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit. That is, to burn more calories than you are taking in. Of course, there are many things that can complicate that simple (but not easy to do) equation. Those complications aside, and not taking your nutrition into account, what is the best way to exercise to burn more calories and lose weight? Cardio or Weight Training?
Cardio, like running, the elliptical, brisk walking, a Zumba class or spinning, is great for your heart and does burn more calories per minute than resistance training while you are completing the exercise. The amount of calories expended depends on the type, intensity and duration of the exercise. Keeping your heart rate elevated at a consistent level is called steady state cardio (for example, walking at the same brisk pace for 30 minutes). Varying the intensity of your cardio (for example, sprinting for 1 minute then jogging for 2 minutes) in high intensity intervals (HIT) burns more calories than steady state cardio and does create more calorie burn for up to 24 hours after you exercise due to your body recovering from the high intensity intervals.
Resistance training with weights is important for building and maintaining muscle and bone mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate overall. That means you will burn more calories all the time with more muscle! Also, you will continue to burn calories after a strength training session. With steady state cardio, your calorie burn ends with the exercise. This afterburn created by weight training is due to your body repairing the microscopic muscle tears that happen when you challenge your muscles with weights. These tears will repair and that is how your muscles get stronger.
Which is better for weight loss? It’s a close call, but weights edge out cardio for weight loss when you look at the metabolic effects that occur after weight training. According to a study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (2017; doi:10.1016/j.sams.2018.02.010), even when a cardio and weight training session burnt the same amount of calories, the group who worked out with the weights had more metabolic effects that could influence long term training results.
For the best results, do both! Both weight training and cardio exercise are important for your overall health. Either combine your cardio and strength training in intervals or complete your strength training then get your cardio in for optimal calorie burn. Choosing the type of these workouts depends on your fitness level and which you like doing. The exercise that will burn the most calories is the one that you will do on a consistent basis!
Have questions about how to plan your workouts for optimal weight loss? Contact a LivRite trainer today!
Looking for great weight training workouts? Take a look at our exercises library for instructional videos.