• Emily

Cardio vs. Weight Training: A debate for the ages

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

I want to lose weight and get toned. Should I be doing cardio or be lifting weights?


Ah. The age-old question. What will give me the most bang for my buck when it comes to exercise, lifting weights or cardio?


The simplest answer is, it depends. But no one ever likes that answer, so I'll provide a little more context to guide you.


Cardio


Cardiovascular exercise will help you burn calories. Burning more calories than you consume over time will help you lose weight. Therefore, many people choose cardio activity as their main form of exercise when trying to lose weight.


There is nothing wrong with this approach if your doctor has cleared you for cardio activity. A spin class, a morning jog, or even a brisk walk can help you lose weight and also improve your cardiovascular fitness.


Having a strong cardiovascular system can protect your heart health and overall put you at a lower risk of disease too. So even beyond weight loss a little cardio can go a long way.


So, what's the downside?


Typical cardio - running, elliptical, biking - will not necessarily help you gain muscle or tone the muscle you have. That's where weight training or resistance training comes into play.


Weight Training


As you may have guessed, weight training helps you build and tone muscle. It also can help you slim down your waist and hips, build your booty, and improve your balance.


A session of weight training will usually not burn as many calories as the same amount of time doing cardio, however, if you have more lean muscle mass your body will naturally burn more calories during the day.


Beyond weight loss, weight lifting is a great way to improve balance and overall strength especially as you age. So don't count out the importance of weight lifting even if your focus is losing weight.


And in conclusion ...


You guessed it. The recommendation here is to engage in a combination of cardio and weight lifting as part of your regular routine.


Cardio 3-4 days a week and weight lifting 2-3 days is a great starting goal. Remember that you can do the cardio and weight lifting in the same session if time allows.


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is another fitness trend sweeping the nation because it combines the benefits of both cardio and weight lifting by completing different exercises at a high intensity for short bursts of time. If you haven't yet looked into HIIT routines, do it now!


And finally, remember that if your goal is weight loss, what you do in the kitchen is just as important as what you do in the gym. Never forget the importance of good nurtiotion!


Cardiovascular exercise will help you burn calories. Burning more calories than you consume over time will help you lose weight. Therefore, many people choose a cardio activity as their main form of exercise when trying to lose weight.