Cardio vs. weight lifting: Which is better for losing weight?

Many people who have decided to lose weight are caught with a difficult question: should they do cardio or lift weights?

They are the two most popular types of workouts, but it can be difficult to know which is the best use of your time.

This article tells you everything you need to know about weight training against cardio to lose weight.

Cardio burns more calories per session

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Many scientists have investigated how many calories people burn during various activities.

Based on this research, you can use your body weight to estimate how many calories you will burn during different types of exercise, including cardiovascular exercises and weight training.

For most activities, the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn.

If you weigh 160 pounds (73 kg), you will burn approximately 250 calories every 30 minutes of jogging at a moderate pace (1).

If I had to run at a faster pace of 6 miles per hour, I would burn around 365 calories in 30 minutes (1).

On the other hand, if you weigh trained for the same amount of time, you could only burn around 130 to 220 calories.

In general, you will burn more calories per cardio session than with weight training for approximately the same amount of effort.

Summary: The amount of calories you burn during exercise depends on the size of your body and the intensity of your exercise. Normally, a cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than a weight training of the same duration.

Weight training helps you burn more calories every day

Although a weight training does not usually burn as many calories as a cardiovascular exercise, it has other important benefits (2).

For example, weight training is more effective than cardiovascular exercise in building muscle, and muscle burns more calories at rest than other tissues, including fat (3).

Because of this, it is commonly said that building muscle is the key to increasing your resting metabolism, that is, how many calories you burn at rest.

One study measured participants' resting metabolism during 24 weeks of weight training.

In men, weight training led to a 9% increase in resting metabolism. The effects on women were minor, with an increase of almost 4% (4).

While this may sound good, it is important to think about how many calories this represents.

For men, resting metabolism increased by about 140 calories per day. In women, it was only about 50 calories per day.

Therefore, weight training and building some muscle will not cause your metabolism to go off, but it can increase by a small amount.

However, weight training also has other important benefits for burning calories.

Specifically, research has shown that you burn more calories in the hours after a weight training session, compared to a cardiovascular exercise (5, 6, 7).

In fact, there are reports that resting metabolism remains elevated up to 38 hours after weight training, while no such increase has been reported with cardio (7).

This means that the benefits of burning calories from weights are not limited to when you exercise. You can keep burning calories for hours or days afterwards.

For most types of exercise, a more intense workout will increase the amount of calories you burn later (8).

Summary: Weight training can improve your metabolism over time, although the changes are not huge. In addition, weight training is usually more effective than cardiovascular exercise in increasing the amount of calories you burn after a workout.

High-intensity interval training provides similar benefits to cardio in less time

Although cardiovascular exercise and weight training are two of the most popular workouts, there are other options.

One of them is high intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves brief bursts of very intense exercise alternating with low intensity recovery periods (9, 10).

In general, a HIIT training will last between 10 and 30 minutes.

You can use HIIT with a variety of different exercises, including sprinting, cycling, jumping rope or other bodyweight exercises.

HIIT can burn more calories

Some research has directly compared the effects of cardio, weight training and HIIT.

One study compared calories burned for 30 minutes of HIIT, weight training, running and cycling.

The researchers found that HIIT burned between 25 and 30% more calories than other forms of exercise (11).

However, this does not necessarily mean that other types of exercise are not good for losing weight.

HIIT and traditional cardio can have similar effects on weight loss

Research examining more than 400 overweight and obese adults found that HIIT and traditional cardio reduced body fat and waist circumference at similar levels (12).

In addition, other research has shown that HIIT-style workouts can burn approximately the same amount of calories as traditional cardiovascular exercise, although this depends on the intensity of the exercise.

Some research estimates that you can burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes of cardio or HIIT if you weigh around 160 pounds (13.3 kg) (13).

One of the potential benefits of HIIT is that you can spend less time exercising, since rest periods are included between intense periods of activity.

Summary: High intensity interval training (HIIT) can burn calories in a short period of time. Some research shows that you can burn more calories than weights or cardio. In general, it can produce a weight loss similar to cardio, but with less time spent on exercise.

Using multiple types of exercise can be better

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is one of the largest and most respected organizations offering exercise recommendations.

He has published recommendations based on evidence for weight loss (14).

How much should you exercise per week?

In general, the ACSM states that less than 150 minutes per week of moderate or vigorous physical activity such as cardio is probably not enough to lose weight.

However, he states that more than 150 minutes per week of this type of physical activity is enough to help produce weight loss in most people.

In addition, research shows that people tend to lose more body weight when they have higher levels of physical activity (14).

What types of exercise should you do?

Interestingly, the review of the research conducted by ACSM found that weight training is not very useful for losing weight.

However, it is important to remember that even if your weight does not change, the composition of your body may be improving.

For example, weight training can lead to an increase in muscles and a decrease in fat.

If your muscle and fat change in the same amount, the scale can stay the same, even if you are healthier.

A large study of 119 overweight or obese adults helps put everything in perspective with respect to exercise and weight loss. The participants were divided into three groups of exercises: cardio, weights or cardio plus weights (15).

After eight months, those who did cardio and cardio plus weights lost more weight and fat.

Meanwhile, the groups of weights and cardio plus weights gained more muscle.

In general, the cardio plus weight group had the best changes in body composition. They lost weight and fat, while gaining muscle.

This means that a program that combines cardio and weights may be the best to improve the composition of your body.

Summary: Cardio is more effective than weight training to reduce body fat if you do more than 150 minutes per week. Weight training is better than cardio to build muscle. A combination of cardio and weights may be the best to improve the composition of your body.

Both diet and exercise are critical to long-term success

Most people know that exercise and a healthy diet are essential for optimal health.

All major health organizations recommend changing their diet and exercise routine to promote weight loss (14).

The commitment to the best exercise program is not enough, since you should still pay attention to your diet if you want to optimize your progress.

Research has shown that the ideal program for losing weight in the long term includes a moderate reduction in calorie intake and a good exercise program (16).

While many people know that a healthy diet is essential to lose weight, some go too far and say that the only thing that matters is a diet.

However, it is important to realize that exercise also helps.

A scientific review that included more than 400 people examined the effects of diet weight loss plus exercise and compared them to the effects of dietary changes alone.

The researchers found that the combination of changes in diet plus exercise led to a weight loss 20% greater than changes in diet alone after a period of 10 weeks to a year (17).

In addition, programs that included diet plus exercise were also more effective than diet alone in maintaining weight loss after another year.

Summary: A healthy diet and a good exercise program are two of the most critical factors for the success of long-term weight loss. Weight loss programs that include exercise can lead to greater weight loss and better weight maintenance over time.

The bottom line

Both cardio and weight can help you be healthier and in better shape.

A cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than a weight training.

However, your metabolism can stay elevated longer after exercise than cardiovascular exercise, and weight lifting is better for building muscle.

Therefore, the ideal exercise program to improve body composition and health includes cardio Y Weights is better to do both.

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