If you’re looking to drop some pounds––and not in a fun shopping trip way, although those bags make great weights––you’ll be looking for ways to optimize your exercise routine to do just that. When it comes down to it, the question most people want to know is: “which is better cardio or weights for weight loss?”

The contenders–– cardio vs. weights

Let the battle commence, who will be the winner and take the stand on the podium of the most effective weight loss tool. Keep reading and let’s find out.

Cardio

jogging

In one corner we have cardio, this representative advocates for the cardiovascular approach that truly gets your heart pumping. As you run your body enters aerobic exercise mode, which means it uses oxygen to break down glucose, fat and amino acids to power your system by turning them into ATP. This makes it a great fat-burner.

Not only that, but cardio also has numerous other benefits, such as strengthening your heart muscles, boosting your mood, lowering your blood pressure, and reducing your stress levels. It aids in toning your muscles, making them appear more defined and looking like you’ve dropped a few pounds.

Now, let’s get down to business, how does cardio measure up in the cardio vs. weights battle.

Calories burned with cardio:

  • Interval sprints: 460 calories (30 minutes activity)
  • Swimming: 370 calories (30 minutes activity)
  • Jogging: 370 (30 minutes activity)

Weights

gym workout

Next up in the blue corner, weighing-in at whatever you’re lifting, you’ve guessed it––it’s strength training. Many women who are new to weight lifting believe that strength training will leave you looking like a beefcake––that’s gym myth No.1.

To get a bodybuilder’s physique, you’d need to put in a lot of hours at the gym, increase your diet, and even consider supplements; so, don’t worry, lifting those weights won’t leave you looking like a champion wrestler.

Instead, look at the weight versus cardio argument from this perspective; strength training can be a helpful tool in weight loss, just not in the same way cardio is. Strength training builds your muscles, which, in turn, increases your basal metabolic rate (the calorie burn rate, just for you to survive). This means that even once you finish your session, if you strength train regularly, you could be set to burn more calories overall––minimum effort, maximum result.

But, of course, the trick is getting to this level, unfortunately you won’t wake up one day with those muscles, effort needs to be put in. So, how does cardio vs. weight stand in terms of fat loss? Let’s see.

Calories burned with strength training:

Weight training: 130-220 calories (per 30-minute session)

You didn’t think it would be that simple, did you?

Ok, we admit it, the title was a bit tricky, but the fact of the matter is that to successfully lose weight and keep it off, you need to forget the cardio or weight training for weight loss competition and go for the dual approach––cardio and weights.

Your best bet to hitting your target is a combined approach. Research suggests that you should get 150 minutes of exercise a week, about 22-30 minutes a day, to maintain your health; however, if weight loss is your goal that needs to increase.

But, no matter which route you take––strength training or cardio or both––remember, weight loss doesn’t exist in a vacuum, you will also need to work in other factors, such as diet to ensure your success.

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Your body transformation starts with sticking to a healthier and more active life filled with regular exercise.

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