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Cardio vs Weight Training

by suhail siddiqui 06 Oct 2023

Cardio vs weight training is a kind of a debate which has been around the block for many years in terms of fat loss. Many people believe that cardio is the key to shedding those extra pounds, while weight training is reserved for building muscle. However, the truth is that weight training can play a significant role in a fat loss process, and may even be better than the cardio at effectively losing those extra pounds of fat.

So let's take a deep dive in this debate between cardio and weight training, so that we know for sure which one is better suited for fat loss.

Debate 1: Weight Training

The Calorie-Burning Boost One significant advantage of weight training over cardio is the post-workout calorie burn. Numerous studies have revealed that your metabolism gets spiked for almost 38 hours after the weight training session. Which is to say that if you were burning 60 calories per hour before your weight training session then after you are done with your weight training session you'll be burning around 70 calories per hour. Although 10 extra calories may not seem significant, when multiplied by 38 hours, the difference becomes substantial in terms of your daily calorie expenditure and if we start watching even bigger picture and consider what changes you can observe in a month, then you sure as hell will be shocked. Regular participation in weight training significantly increases your ability to burn calories, resulting in fat loss over time.

In comparison, cardio training may lead to an additional burn of 40-80 calories after a moderately paced session, depending on intensity and duration. To achieve a high level of post-calorie burn through aerobic exercises, you would need to engage in lengthy workouts. However, intense sprinting can have a metabolic impact similar to weight lifting. But, for fetching out the same benefits from sprinting you need to put in insane level of work, which can't be done by every individual.

Debate 2

The Long-Term Calorie Burn Another aspect to consider in the fat-loss war is the long-term metabolic effect. While it's great to experience increased calorie burn for 38 hours after weight training, it won't be as beneficial two weeks from now unless you maintain consistency in your workout routine.

Once you start building muscles with the help of weight training you'll observe a certain increase in your overall calorie expenditure as the extra muscle that you've gained will act as burning powerhouse along with the existing muscle that you were carrying before.

Having more muscle on your body elevates your basal metabolic rate, (which is calculated by taking muscles, bones, and organs into the consideration) and resulting in improved calorie-burning capacity 24/7. Unlike fat, muscle tissue is relatively stable and can be maintained as long as there is a stimulus on the muscles and sufficient protein intake. This long-term strategy of building muscle mass proves effective for losing body fat.

This explains why males can typically consume more calories without gaining weight. Their higher lean muscle mass leads to increased calorie expenditure throughout the day.

It's important to set realistic expectations regarding muscle growth within a specific timeframe. Overall speaking, muscle gain of around 1-2 pounds per month seems to be an average rate for men. However, for women this figure lies somewhere in between 0.5-1 pound of muscles per month. With consistent effort, this muscle development makes you more resistant to weight gain as you age, providing significant long-term benefits.

Debate 3

Total Body Reshaping One prominent advantage weight training has over cardio is its ability to reshape your entire body. While cardio may contribute to weight loss, the reduction often includes both fat and muscle, resulting in a smaller version of your current self.

On the other hand, resistance training combined with a calorie-restricted diet offers a better chance of losing pure body fat while enhancing the natural curves of your body. This comprehensive transformation surpasses the outcomes of solely relying on cardio. There are many individuals who lose significant amount of fat in a very short duration of time but looks "weak". Which is because they also lose considerable amount of muscle mass.

Debate 1: Cardio

You may be wondering about the calorie burn during the actual workout itself. Does it hold any significance?

Absolutely! A longer cardio session can burn approximately 500-800 calories, depending on the duration and intensity. This is a substantial number that aids in your fat-loss goals.

To lose one pound of body fat, you must burn off approximately 3,500 calories. Therefore, engaging in numerous cardio sessions and monitoring your macronutrient intake will lead to weight loss.

However, it's worth considering the time commitment required for lengthy cardio sessions. Over time, the factor of time may become a significant obstacle, and boredom might start to play a role.

Compared to cardio, weight training burns fewer calories per minute during the workout itself (although intensity can impact this), but the overall calorie-burning benefits it offers typically outweigh those of cardio.

Debate 2

In terms of health benefits, cardio does have an advantage. Although strength training also offers its own health benefits, cardio training has a more significant impact on cardiovascular health. Engaging in cardio exercises requires your heart and lungs to work harder for a longer duration.

While it is not advisable to entirely eliminate cardio from your fat-loss training program, dedicating time and effort to weight training is equally important. Overlooking weight training in the pursuit of fat loss can be a significant mistake that hinders your progress.

Bottom Line

Breaking Free from Misconceptions It's time to dispel the misconception that cardio is solely responsible for fat loss, and weight training is solely for muscle building and weight gain. While cardio contributes to fat loss, weight training proves to be more effective in many ways and helps you achieve a toned physique.

Engaging in weight training not only helps build muscle mass but also aids in fat loss. However, it's crucial to note that gaining substantial muscle mass requires concentrated effort and won't occur simply by visiting the weight room a few times a week.

But, if you want to shred those extra pounds off from your body, then you need to priorities weight training in your daily fitness regime. The benefits are undeniable, and it's a valuable tool on your journey to a healthier, fitter you.

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