Strength training vs cardio: What's better for weight loss?
| FLOW Athlete
Do you need to hit the treadmill, or should you gain strength in the weight room to lose weight? Cardio enthusiasts believe that you will burn fat by torching calories when you increase your heart rate.
However, the idea behind weight lifting is to burn more calories throughout the day by gaining muscle mass. The truth is, both opinions are correct. An elevated heart rate burns more calories while gaining more muscle burns more calories every second of the day.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at what style of training may work best for you to determine whether you'll put on your running shorts or your gym shorts.
It's been previously accepted that an exercise session on an empty stomach should be long and low intensity to produce the most significant fat loss.
The go-to daily workout for many people is a long, slow run first thing in the morning.
However, when choosing which cardio will burn fat the best, you should consider which body type you want to achieve.
Distance runners tend to have lean bodies without much muscle because they log the kilometres at relatively slow speeds. By doing high intensity, short workouts, however, you’ll build muscle mass and burn fat to achieve more of a sprinter’s body.
Intensity is the key to success, and increased intensity leads to increased calorie burn. For that reason, high-intensity interval training is ideal for cutting fat while keeping (or even gaining) lean muscle.
Strength beyond strength
Strength training has been used to build muscular strength for centuries. Resistance training helps us build strength, and it also helps improve muscle size and counteract age-related muscle loss.
This is true regardless of whether we use bodyweight, resistance bands, or machines to train. Those looking to lose weight have increasingly adopted this method. Runners and cyclists, for example, can reduce body fat while simultaneously reducing muscle size, resulting in weaker muscles and more perceived weight loss, as muscle is denser than fat.
Resistance training reduces body fat and increases muscle strength and size, unlike endurance exercises.
Variety is the key
If you’d rather run, there’s no need to spend hours deadlifting, but changing your routine can be beneficial.
If you’ve been taking spin classes for years, it’s natural to get bored of it. If you switch up your routine, including weight lifting or kickboxing, it will be more enjoyable, and you will stick to it more.
Continually using the same muscles can also lead to injuries, especially if you have poor form, so that’s another reason to change things up.
Losing weight shouldn’t be your goal
Aerobic activities are known to strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, and burn calories.
The benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise include lowered stress, improved sleep, and reduced joint stiffness. In addition to increasing bone density and muscle mass, strength training can also boost your metabolism.
If you live off of pizza and fries, however, working out will not change the number on the scale.
Consider increasing your overall activity levels
There is no need to head to the gym in order to see changes in your waist size. Try getting off your butt more and being more active. You burn calories all the time, not just when you work out.
It takes calories to clean the house, take a walk at lunch, and stand throughout the day. Mood, diet, and physical activity should all be considered when planning a fitness routine.
Consider your goals: Do you want to build muscle? Are you more interested in endurance training? Cardio and strength training together can improve your overall health and appearance. The key takeaway? Your goal weight should not be achieved by doing exercises that you hate.
Do whatever activities make you feel good, and if you lose a couple of kegs along the way, great! If you're looking for activewear to help you achieve your fitness goals, take a look at our range at FLOW today.