Many believe the best way to lose weight is to spend hours doing spin workouts or jogging. Besides, aerobic workouts were until recently usually targeted at women, whereas strength training was considered a manly activity.
But recent research shows that strength training with a challenging weight can benefit women as well. You don’t have to use just 2-pound weights if you can lift 40 pounds! Lifting as much as you can handle increases your bone density, changes your shape and increases your resting metabolism. That way, you can burn more calories even when you’re watching TV.
Does that mean strength training is better than cardio to achieve your dream body?
Read along to find out.
Cardio burns a lot of calories. An hour of Tae Bo can burn up to 1000 calories. Conversely, an hour of strength training barely leads to 300 burnt calories.
So, if you want to lose 2 pounds by the end of this week, cardio is the fastest way to get there. It’s not the best long-term solution, though.
That’s because strength training increases your lean muscle mass. As such, your metabolism accelerates so that you can burn more calories throughout the day, even when you’re resting.
Verdict: You get a higher net expenditure with strength training. Therefore, cardio is better for quick weight loss, whereas strength training is better for sustainable weight loss.
A lot of people engage in long cardio sessions to lose weight faster. During the first couple of weeks, you’ll notice your pounds magically melting away. That’s not all water weight either. If you’re overweight, cardio helps you burn a lot of fat mass if you’re also eating healthily.
But after six to eight weeks of exhausting daily cardio workouts, you’ll notice a plateau or even some weight gain.
These rough workouts destroy your muscle tissue, which slows down your resting metabolic rate. The result is that you’ll have to constantly reduce your caloric intake to maintain your desired weight.
Conversely, strength training allows you to eat normal food portions throughout the day because bigger muscles require more fuel. Besides, a bigger lean muscle mass will help you burn through your fat stores quicker.
Verdict: Cardio workouts are good for quick fat loss, whereas strength training is better for long-term fat loss.
Reshaping Your Body
Cardio can tone your muscles well. However, you have to keep a proper form and squeeze your muscles as you’re performing your exercises. Flailing your limbs around is dangerous and it doesn’t activate your muscles as well as deliberate movements.
Conversely, strength training increases your muscle mass and sometimes that’s better.
For instance, if you have flabby arms, you need more than simply toning your triceps. You need to increase your triceps so that they can burn the surrounding fat.
Some women avoid strength training because they’re afraid of bulking. They prefer cardio workouts or some toning exercises with little to no weight. If that’s you, remember that your hormones are different than male hormones.
As such, you’ll need to lift extremely heavy weights for the better part of the day, often with supplementation, before looking bulky.
Verdict: Cardio is good for toning your muscles, whereas smart strength training reshapes your body.
If you want to achieve your dream body, you need it to be healthy. Let’s see how cardio and strength training can help.
We already explained how weight lifting melts fat and increases your resting metabolism for the long term. Strength workouts also increase your bone density, strengthen your joints, and improve your balance. People who strength train are less at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and stress-related mental conditions.
Cardio workouts are essential to keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure in check. Doing cardio is good for your bones and stimulates the production of endorphins, the happiness hormones.
Verdict: Both cardio and strength training have a slew of health benefits.
Cardio Vs. Strength Conclusion: Why not Both?
Cardio and strength training are best in moderation. Each has its benefits, but together they’re the best choice you can make.
Here’s how you can combine them for top results:
For sustainable toning: Do a short, 10-minute cardio workout before your daily strength training. This cardio burst will keep your heart rate up during your strength routine. As such, you can burn more calories during your workout andkeep burning more when your workout is over.
For quick weight loss: Do strength training during days one, three, and five of your workout week. Do longer, 45-minute cardio sessions on days two, four, and six. Rest on day seven.
Remember that more is not always better so rest if your muscles are too sore to work out. You should always warm-up and cool down correctly to minimise your risk of injury and to help your muscles recover faster.
Discuss your workout routine with your doctor to make sure it fits your needs and medical history.