Cardio vs Weights for Fat Loss
Which is best for achieving fat loss?
So, as you know as we always, always preach, it’s all about being in a calorie deficit.
But is cardio going to get you there or weights?
Whichever you have access to, enjoy more and will stick to is superior for fat loss because consistency is key.
Let’s break it down.
What is it? Cardio is a type of training that raises the increases your heart rate and breathing rate, and improves the function of the lungs, heart, and circulatory system. To do this it must involve major muscle groups to create a high enough demand for oxygen that the cardiovascular system has to work and therefore improve.
Some examples of cardio are – running, cycling or brisk walking.
What is it? Weight training comes under the umbrella of resistance training, which is when the body performs a movement, generally a lift, push or pull with a resisting ‘force’. That resistance could come in the form of weights, resistance bands or body weight.
Resistance training breaks down the muscle fibres which, when repaired by the body, can result in hypertrophy of that muscle. If your wanting to grow some muscle or to look more “toned” (we’ll go into toning in another blog) then you need to be progressing with your resistance training.
Resistance training whilst in a deficit is vital for retaining muscle mass.
Some examples of resistance/ weight training are – squats, press-ups or deadlifts.
Which burns more calories?
First, your food intake is key to achieving a calorie deficit. You could do hours of exercise every day, but if you’re eating more than you burn, you will not see the progress you want. So, before you start stressing about the best exercise for fat loss (there isn’t one), make sure your food is on point.
It’s hard to say that one always burns more than the other but as a rule of thumb if both workouts were of a same level of effort and duration then cardio would burn slightly more calories during the workout. However, resistance training has been shown to increase resting metabolism for up to 36 hours following the session – this means more calories will be expended outside of the exercise session.
There are long term benefits of consistent resistance training as well, as muscle is an active body tissue it uses more calories at rest than fat. As long term consistent resistance training can result in a more lean body composition (greater percentage of muscle), it will result in more calories being used at rest, known as an increase in resting metabolic rate.
- Both cardio and resistance training are beneficial. For optimal health outcomes it’s best to combine both.
- Exercise is not just about burning calories.
- No exercise is inherently better for weight loss.
- Pick what exercise you enjoy, what makes you feel good and what you will adhere to.