I often get asked the same question:
“Is cardio or weight training the best way to lose weight?”
To anyone just starting out their fitness journey, this question is always on their mind. So what is better?
Let’s take a look at the facts of what we know to be true.
Muscle is a living organism that needs to be fed, and only by burning calories can this be accomplished. Fat on the other hand doesn’t need to be fed. Therefore, it will remain there with no problem. Even if you work out, fat would be one of the last things your body will touch to use as fuel.
Now, let’s put this into perspective.
A person that does cardio will burn calories as they do their cardio routine. But when they are watching TV or sleeping, they will not be burning the same amount of calories. However, when you build muscle through weight training, even while you are sleeping or watching TV, you are burning the same amount of calories in order to keep the muscle alive.
This helps build muscle mass, and muscle tissue burns more calories — even when you are at rest — than body fat.
To give you a better idea, 10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories. I always recommend to build some muscle in order to get better results.
Both weight training and cardio exercises have their own benefits when it comes to weight loss.
Incorporating weight training into your fitness routine helps build lean muscle mass.
Muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even at rest. As you gain more muscle, your metabolism increases, resulting in a higher calorie burn throughout the day. Additionally, weight training can help improve body composition by reducing fat and increasing muscle tone, resulting in a more sculpted appearance.
Cardio exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), primarily focus on increasing your heart rate and improving cardiovascular fitness.
They burn a significant number of calories during the exercise session, which can contribute to weight loss. Cardio workouts also benefit your overall health, such as improving heart health, boosting mood, and increasing endurance.
Weight loss can always be achieved through a combination of both, as they complement each other and offer various advantages.
If you do combine them, just keep in mind that you need to be moderate on the cardio if you are trying to build muscle because too much cardio can affect your muscle development (this would be another topic of its own). Nevertheless, if done right, combining the two approaches provides a well-rounded fitness regimen that maximizes weight loss potential.
Regardless of the type of exercise, consistency will be key to weight loss.
Most importantly, proper nutrition and sleep are also main components to weight loss. It is essential to find a routine that suits your preferences, fitness level, and schedule, ensuring long-term adherence and sustainable results. The important thing is to stay active. We always recommend for you to consult with a fitness professional or a registered dietitian to provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs and goals.