Cardio v. Weights: Which is Really Better?

I think women for the most part have been fed some falsity when it comes to working out, losing weight, diet and healthy living in general. I think we understand that in order to lose weight you have to create a calorie deficit, but going about it, let alone doing it in a healthy way, well its seems to be some magic formula that we can’t figure out.

I also think women equate lifting weights with bulking up, or something that only men do to have big muscles.  Most women have a fear of looking “manly.” But, I also think most women are simply lost when it comes to lifting weights.  We find that part of the gym intimidating and have no clue where to even start. So, we naturally gravitate to the treadmill, elliptical or stairclimber because it’s easy.

So, which is really better? Cardio or weights?


The answer, both. While cardio burns more calories in one setting, weight-training is more effective than cardio at building muscle, and muscle burns more calories at rest that fat. Let that sink in. What this means is that when you increase you muscle mass, your body becomes more effective at burning calories when you AREN’T DOING A THING!

Specifically, research has shown that you burn more calories in the hours following a weight training session, compared to a cardio workout. In fact, there are reports of resting metabolism staying elevated for up to 38 hours after weight training, while no such increase has been reported with cardio. This means that the calorie-burning benefits of weights aren't limited to when you are exercising. You may keep burning calories for hours or days afterward. For most types of exercise, a more intense workout will increase the number of calories you burn afterward.


So, when you mix calorie burning cardio with fat burning weight training, you will achieve your goals more quickly.  Overall, you should be getting more than 150 minutes per week of moderate or vigorous physical exercise in order to produce weight loss in most people. But, even if you burn all the calories in the world, if you are failing to fuel your body with good healthy foods, you may lose weight, but you may still not like the way your body looks. No matter how much you run or crunch, if you eat 1200 calories of crap, you will never have that six-pack.


The point is, neither is better than the other, and the true magic is combining both. And for me, I do the thing I least like first, so it used to be cardio. I busted that out so it was done before I headed over to the weights. But if you would rather run a marathon that pick up a dumbbell, do that part first. Or, get crafty and combine the two. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are at the gym grab a trainer, its their job to help you and show you what to do. They are just itching to. If you are an at-home person, check out YouTube or subscribe to a program that Beachbody on Demand, Les Mils, Tone it Up, or Kayla Istines.

Regardless of what avenue you choose, remember that working out doesn’t have to be a chore!