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Cardio OR Weight Lifting for Weight Loss?

Cardio OR Weight Lifting for Weight Loss?

One of the very popular questions among people who want to lose weight is whether they should do cardio or lift weights. In fact it is really hard to discern which one to do in order to better use your time. All you need to know about cardio VS weight training for weight loss is found in this blog.

Cardio Burns More Calories per Session:
Many research have been done about how many calories people burn during different kinds of activities. It has been found that to estimate how many calories you will burn during different kinds of exercise (including cardio and weight training), you can use your body weight. And for most activities, you will burn more calories when you weigh more. For instance, you will burn about 250 calories per 30 minutes of jogging at a moderate pace if you weigh 73 kg, and you would burn around 365 calories in 30 minutes if you were to run at a faster pace of 6 miles per hour. Conversely, for the same amount of time, if you weight trained, you might only burn around 130-220 calories. Therefore, commonly, for about the same amount of effort you’ll burn more calories per session of cardio than weight training.

Weight Training Helps You Burn More Calories Every Day:
It is true that weight-training doesn’t burn as many calories as cardio, but it has other significant benefits.
Weight training workout is more efficient at building muscles than cardio.
Muscles burn more calories at rest than other tissues like fat. So, the key to increasing your resting metabolism (how many calories you burn at rest) is building muscles. It is worth to mention that your metabolism will not increase tremendously by weight training and building some more muscles.
The most important benefit of weight training is the calorie-burning effect that lasts in the hours following a weight training session. This means that the calorie-burning benefits of weights aren’t limited to when you are exercising (like cardio workout): you will keep burning calories for hours or days afterward.

High-Intensity Interval Training Provides Similar Benefits to Cardio in Less Time:
While cardio and weight training are two of the most known workouts, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) emerges to be another popular option as well. HIIT involves short bursts of very intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods, takes about 10–30 minutes typically and can be used with a variety of different exercises, including sprinting, biking, jump roping or other body-weight exercises.
-HIIT May Burn More Calories: The effects of cardio, weight training and HIIT have been directly compared. It has been found that HIIT burned 25-30% more calories than the other forms of exercise, such as weight training, biking and running. On the other hand, this doesn’t inevitably mean that other types of exercise aren’t good enough for weight loss.
-Traditional Cardio and HIIT May Have Related Effects on Weight Loss: They both reduce the body fat and the waist circumference of overweight and obese adults to similar extents. Also, HIIT-style workouts may burn about the same number of calories as traditional cardio, although this depends on the intensity of exercise. Since rest periods are included between the intense periods of activity, you can spend less time actually exercising and this is what gives HIIT a high significance.

How Much Should You Exercise per Week?
The American College of Sports Medicine states that you need more than 150 min/week of moderate or vigorous physical activity like cardio to lose weight.

Which Types of Exercise Should You Do?
Using Multiple Types of Exercise May Be Best. ACSM found that weight training is not very helpful for weight loss. However, even if your weight doesn’t change, your body composition may be improving as weight training can lead to a decrease in fat and an increase in muscle; if your muscle and fat change by the same amount, the scale may stay the same but you get healthier. A program that combines cardio and weights may be best for improving your body composition.

Both Diet and Exercise Are Critical for Long-Term Success:
Many people know that a healthy diet is crucial for weight loss, yet some others believe that diet is the only thing that matters. It is very important to recognize that commitment to the best exercise program is not enough, as you still need to be aware of your diet if you want to maximize your progress. The ideal program for long-term weight loss includes a good exercise program with a parallel moderate reduction in calorie intake.

The Bottom Line:
Combining cardio to weights is the ideal exercise program for improving body composition and health and for becoming more fit. Cardio workouts burn more calories than weight-training workouts. Yet, your metabolism may stay elevated for longer after weights than cardio, and weight lifting is better for building muscle.

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon


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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian