There really is endless information about whether cardio or weight training is more beneficial to weight loss and to fat loss (which are two different things!) and it is really hard to say which is better. If you are looking to change your overall physique, which most people are, you would want to include both in your regimen. If I had to choose between the two, however, which for the sake of this post I will; I choose weight training hands down.
Take this picture here, the glutes on the left cannot, I repeat, CANNOT be achieved through cardio alone. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last year, you know that “strong is the new skinny/sexy”. Not that the glutes on the right are not desirable. I am sure that for many people they are, but in contrast, I believe that many women stay away from weights because they think cardio is the only way to lose weight, they either don’t know where to start, or they don’t want to get “jacked”, “huge”, “ripped”, or whatever adjective you would prefer to use.
For one thing, women cannot achieve the somewhat undesirable or masculine physique mentioned above just by adding weight lifting to their routine. Women do not have enough testosterone to achieve this look without a ton of work, i.e. a very strict diet, and a very strict workout program, coupled with a number of supplements.
The look that most women are trying to achieve more recently, we suggest a combination of cardio and weight training. I am going to outline some of the highlights from an article I found extremely helpful from Fitwirr.com. The full article can be found here.
- Although the initial calorie burn of weight training (depending on your intensity) is lower than the calorie burn of cardio, the post-workout calorie burn from just a 30 minute weight training workout is over twice as long with weight lifting as opposed to cardio. The post-workout calorie burn from cardio is 14 hours, while the post-workout calorie burn from weight training can be up to 36 hours. This may not seem significant, but the extra calorie burn per hour over the course of 36 hours can make a huge difference!
- Cardio can be more effective when it comes to actual weight loss, but this weight includes lean muscle tissue. Cardio results in 30% lean muscle mass loss and can lead to things like saggy skin, a flabby butt, and a loose stomach. A loss of lean muscle mass eventually effects your metabolism by slowing it down, which when it comes to weight loss, is detrimental. The more lean muscle mass your body holds, the higher your resting metabolic rate, meaning the more calories you burn just getting through your day. As you burn lean muscle mass, you slow down your metabolism, which leads to a weight loss plateau.
- As mentioned before, muscle burns more calories than fat. Specifically, a pound of muscle burns on average 6 calories per day at rest while a pound of fat only burns 2 calories a day. If you add that up for every pound of muscle, the difference in just one day is quite large.
- The findings determined that a combination of both weight training and cardio will get you in the best shape. In the studies mentioned in the Fitwirr article, the group who performed both cardio and resistance training lost almost the same amount of weight (less than a difference of half a pound) and gained over a pound of lean muscle mass.
- The best way to maximize your time and your workout efficiency is through metabolic resistance training, an exercise routine aiming to maximize calorie burn and increase your metabolic rate in the shortest amount of time. Performing MRT 2-3 times a week for 30-45 minutes (coupled with a well-balanced diet) may be all it takes to increase your lean muscle mass and lose fat.
In conclusion, I recommend performing a combination of weight training and cardio to change your body composition. Putting together a routine that encompasses both forms of exercise and achieves metabolic resistance training can be tricky. If you would like to eliminate the guess work, come see us at Core Progression and one of our highly qualified trainers can teach you all you need to know!