Cardio vs Weight Training – Which is the most fast-acting solution for weight loss?
While both of them have evident perks, putting together a practice to target weight loss has to account for the core ideology behind these exercise forms.
The moment you decide to lose weight, you start cutting down on calories. Additionally, you look for a workout routine that complements your diet.
In general, what’s recommended for optimum health is moderate to high-intensity exercises along with muscle-strengthening moves.
However, how you sort these exercises to create a weight loss routine is totally up to you. This blog aims to cut through the contradicting theories that are out there about cardio vs weight training.
While both are beneficial, let’s put out facts to know which one you should prioritize in order to lose weight.
Cardio vs Weight Training for Weight Loss
Truth be told, both of these exercise forms have benefits for fat burn and in getting rid of cellulite. Where cardio involves sweat-drenching sessions, weight training is about working and strengthening muscle groups.
Let’s first have an overview of both these exercises, what they are all about, and how they benefit you.
What Is Cardio?
Cardio involves exercises that aim to speed up your heart and breathing rates, such as running or cycling.
So, by its very nature, it’s beneficial for your heart, lungs, and blood circulation.
It includes both low and high-intensity exercises. The core focus here is to challenge your cardiovascular system.
For instance, we cannot essentially qualify walking or easy bike riding as cardio exercises. For any activity to come under the category of cardio, it has to be challenging for the heart and lungs.
What Is Weight Training?
On the other hand, weight training is about using weights to build resistance. It activates the muscle groups to get stronger and bigger in size.
Weight training can be performed either with free weights or with specialized equipment.
How you form your routine often depends on what exercises you enjoy and what meets your pre-determined goals.
As opposed to cardio, weight training often requires more caution. Any wrong techniques or weight lifting moves can injure or sprain muscles badly.
So, assistance from a trainer before starting a new routine is best.
But as with practicing any physical activity, we all have different goals in mind. Henceforth, before choosing cardio vs weight training, you must understand the specific benefits.
Benefits of Cardio vs Weight Training
Cardio and weight training are two of the most popular exercise forms to lose weight and get fitter and slimmer. Here are the benefits you can expect from a regular routine.
Benefits of Cardio Workout
The Benefits of Doing Cardio usually have a lot to do with improvement in heart health and rapid fat burn.
Though, it might interest you to know that it can also be of use for cognitive health. Let’s check out the primary benefits of doing a cardio session.
#1. Intense Fat Burn
Well, cardio has been known for its potential at helping speed up fat burn due to the intensity of the moves. However, you can choose to pursue either low-intensity or high-intensity cardio.
Low-intensity is a more longer-term approach in case you have a lot of weight to lose.
However, high-intensity cardio like HIIT is pretty much a sure shot at weight loss success with the intense bursts of movements.
In fact, aerobic exercises under a cardio workout are much more useful for faster fat loss than just strength training alone. But weight training has many other weight loss benefits which we’ll talk about later on.
#2. Heart Health and Improved Blood Circulation
Incorporating cardio in your daily habit can be one of the best ways to boost cardiovascular health.
It ramps up the heart rate while increasing endurance. With enough practice, the feeling of passing out also starts to go away.
The key benefit of cardio, then, is the pumping of more blood and oxygen all around the body. This keeps your body in a healthy state and you obviously feel more energized.
In fact, better blood circulation also means fewer cravings. Here’s what you can expect.
#3. Reduced Food Cravings and Appetite
This may not be something you hear often. However, if you’ve been stuck in the debate of Cardio or Weight Training to Lose Belly Fat, maybe it’s time to think cardio.
Due to the better blood circulation around the body, the blood actually gets diverted from the stomach. This causes you to feel fewer cravings and you only eat when you need to.
Thus, cardio is an effective tool to regulate eating patterns in your weight loss journey.
#4. Improves Cognitive Functions and Immune System Response
Usually, it’s natural for humans to lose brain tissues as we get older. But those who indulge in cardiovascular workouts on a regular basis are able to reduce the loss.
Doing cardio can prevent brain tissue loss. The research has already shown cardiovascular exercises to be beneficial for brain power.
Essentially, you stay sharper with better mental agility irrespective of your age.
Plus, it has an added advantage for the immune system by increasing the production of immune-protecting molecules.
#5. Stabilizes Blood Pressure Levels
In comparing cardio vs weight training, Cardio has actually proven to benefit people with high blood pressure.
Studies show endurance exercises to reduce blood pressure levels in adults with a sedentary lifestyle.
Also, it’s crucial to maintain blood pressure levels within the normal range. Proper functioning of cardiovascular and circulatory functions very well depend on it for transporting nutrients and oxygen to organs and tissues.
Well, these were some of the key benefits of performing cardio.
As evident, besides cardiovascular health, cardio also has benefits for general health and well-being.
On the contrary, weight training has got other perks in store for you.
Advantages of Weight Training
Weight training either done through bodyweight or added resistance can help build stronger muscles and bones.
Here are some of the Weight Training Benefits you can expect.
#1. Builds and Sculpts Muscles
Well, it’s no surprise that weight training is a much better way to grow and maintain muscle mass.
Plus, it’s a useful solution for shaping the body. That’s the reason it gets the most votes when it comes down to Cardio vs Weight Training for Toning.
Using weights to train your muscles puts them under force which fuels muscle hypertrophy. The more pressure you put on muscles, the more they grow stronger.
Calisthenics offers a way to build strength and muscle regardless of the location and equipment you have with you.
Thus, home workouts can incorporate these routines to their advantage.
#2. Speeds Up Metabolism
Weight training keeps your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) in check all day long. As per logic, muscles require more energy, which leads us to more calorie burn.
Thus, as weight training helps you stack on muscle mass, you’ve better chances to burn off calories at a faster pace.
Following a weight training routine, even 3 times a week, can supercharge your metabolism to use more calories in fueling muscles.
#3. Reduces Cortisol Release and Helps You Sleep Better
The harder you train, the more it tires your muscles. Feeling tired and worn out at the end of the day helps you enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Add to that the amazing benefits of weight training in decreasing the cortisol release, and you’ve got a stress buster and relaxant together.
The International Journal of Sports Medicine has even found decreased cortisol release in people who weight trained for 2 weeks.
Considering the amazing benefits of exercising in general, it’s really no wonder how relaxing the after-effects of weight training can be.
#4. Offsets Loss of Bone Mass
Weight training can be of tremendous help when it comes to diminishing the effects of age-related bone issues.
Training for at least three times a week activates the bone-forming cells, helping to slow down bone loss.
Further, the activities involved in weight training put more stress on bones. Thus, increasing the bone density and reducing the complaints of osteoporosis.
Though, stay within the safe limits and do not overtrain as it can be too much pressure for joints.
While cardio training has overall benefits for cardiovascular health and fat loss, weight training can help you manage weight with metabolism and muscle mass increase.
The comparison of Cardio Training vs Weight Training is more than just analyzing the benefits, though.
There’s nothing like one-size-fits-all criteria in weight loss and designing a workout routine.
Here, we present the downsides to both these exercise routines to help you decide better.
Cardio vs Weight Training – Downsides
Ultimately, there are pros and cons to every exercise. While there are many upsides, there can also be some downsides to practicing cardio and weight lifting.
Cons of Cardio Training
Apparently, you need to find a balance between doing and overdoing cardio. Otherwise, these could be the side effects:
#1. Physical and Mental Exhaustion
Partaking in long cardio sessions can potentially do more damage than good.
Cardio training takes a lot of physical and mental effort and your body needs time to rest and rejuvenate. So, doing it every day of the week may not be the best route.
#2. Muscle Loss
Doing enough of the cardio along with a calorie-deficit diet pushes you towards fat burn.
However, this also endangers losing muscle mass. Major calorie deficit may lead your body to turn to muscles as an energy source. So, maintaining a well-balanced workout routine is compulsory.
Likewise, these can be negative aspects of overdoing a weight training routine.
Cons of Weight Training
The downsides to weight training have more to do with less stimulus for aerobic performance. Thus, these can be the demerits.
#1. Doesn’t Do Much for Cardiovascular Health
Weight training may negate heart health a bit. The moves usually concentrate on strengthening the muscles and not challenge the endurance.
In comparison, cardio is a much better exercise form if your focus is on enhancing aerobic capacity.
#2. Risk of Injuries
Well, training with weights or even bodyweight training requires you to practice movements with extreme precision.
Any wrong moves or overtraining certain muscle groups may lead to sprains and injuries.
That’s the reason why it’s advisable to take up weight training under the supervision of a trainer, especially when you’re a beginner.
However, it’s possible to avoid these disadvantages pretty easily with care and precautions.
These points do indicate perhaps mixing up both of these Best Fat Burning Exercises may be the best solution – more on this later.
Which One Burns More Calories?
Opting for a weight loss routine often has to consider the number of actual calories you’ll burn. After all, a calorie deficit is the basis of weight loss.
The more vigorous your exercises are, the more calories you end up burning. Though, the exact calorie burn also depends on your body weight.
Let’s figure out how both these exercise forms work in the department of calorie burn.
Cardio for Short-Term Calorie Deficit
By “Short-term”, we mean cardio helps you burn more calories per session. For instance, if you compare the amount of calorie burn a person loses during a 30 minutes workout, cardio will probably win.
However, the exact calories burned will also depend on the intensity of the exercises. You’ll obviously burn more calories while running than jogging or a relaxed bike ride.
For reference, for a person weighing 155 pounds, running for 5 mph for about 30 minutes can help burn up to 298 calories. On the contrary, the same weighted person will only burn 112 calories from weight lifting over a 30 minute time window.
With cardio, if you were to bump up the speed and intensity, you can burn even more calories. So, everything depends on how much work you’re willing to put in.
Weight Training for Long-Term Calorie Burn
While cardio burns more calories in each session, weight training works better for a consistent slow-burn.
So, comparing the calorie burn over a 48 hour period may tell a completely different story.
Weight training is much more effective at building muscle than cardio. This leads to an increase in the resting metabolic rate.
Plus, muscle tissues also require more energy leading to the use of more calories in a shorter span of time.
Your body also burns more calories following a weight training workout as it repairs your muscle tissues.
Moreover, weight training has shown to improve resting metabolic rate by 9 (140 calories per day) and 4 percent (50 calories per day) in men and women respectively during a 24 week period.
On the other hand, weight training also amps up the metabolic rate for up to 38 hours after a workout.
This directly affects the number of calories you burn in the longer run. Thus, you may be better placed to lose and keep the weight off.
So, choosing between Cardio or Weight Training to Lose Weight has to account for the above factors.
Cardio vs Weight Training – What’s the Verdict?
Based on the above analysis, cardio and weight training are complementary to each other.
In the case of Cardio vs Weight Training Fat Loss, cardio will help you burn stored fat at a rapid rate and reveal the muscle you already have.
Thus, it makes sense to combine weight training with a cardio workout to build more muscle mass while burning fat.
In essence, weight loss is more than just choosing between cardio and weight training.
Both have a unique set of benefits and combining them can work better for your overall health.
For instance, if you were to just do cardio, you would miss out on muscle building. And if you were to just weight train, you might miss out on the amazing cardiovascular and circulatory benefits of cardio.
So, the verdict is to mix both these exercise forms to achieve optimum health, weight loss, and tone the body.
Devote 2-3 days of your week for cardio while keeping the rest 3-4 days for weight training.
Weight training will work all the muscle groups which is often not possible with cardio. On the other hand, cardio will pump more blood and nutrients to the muscles for faster recovery.
Practice both cardio and weight training with a healthy diet plan and you’ll not be far away from your ideal body weight.
So, what do you think of Cardio vs Weight Training, and how you like to combine them in your routines. Share your thoughts in the comments section right below!