Which is Better: Strength Training or Cardio?

In the battle against flab, there has been a long-standing heated debate between strength training or cardio to determine which method is best for losing weight and getting toned. Despite the popular misconception of the past that men should pump iron while women don their leotards for an aerobics class, it is now becoming clearer that a mixed balance of strength training or cardio is the best trick to shedding unwanted body fat. Below we will take a look at the benefits of both cardio and strength training to prove how essential both exercise styles are in creating a healthy fitness routine with truly spectacular results.

Burning Calories with Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise, also known as simply cardio, is any type of physical activity that increases your heart rate and pumps extra oxygen through your blood stream. According to public health guidelines, it is recommended that adults complete two and a half hours of moderate-intensity cardio activity each week to maintain good health. Known for being the exercises that make you sweat, cardio can include running, cycling, dancing, walking, kickboxing, playing sports, or swimming. Consistent cardiovascular exercise has been linked to numerous health benefits, such as improved circulation, increased bone density, enhanced sleep, reduced stress levels, and boosted energy.

If weight loss is your end goal, cardio is strongly advised for shedding extra pounds considering the fact that you need to torch around 3,500 calories to lose a single pound. Minute per minute, cardio exercises indisputably are able to burn significantly more calories than strength training alone. Recently, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that cardiovascular exercise trumped strength training for weight loss by burning the most calories in the least amount of time. Not only is cardio the crowned calorie burning king, but it is also extremely beneficial for improving overall fitness.

Building Muscle with Strength Training

On the flip side of the debate, strength training is any kind of physical activity that works different muscle groups throughout your body to become stronger and more powerful. While strength training is traditionally associated with lifting weights, it can also include using your own bodyweight to build muscle with push-ups, squats, step-ups, and lunges. Strength training often involves utilizing resistance for a tougher workout with elastic gym bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, or barbells. Even though strength training alone will not place you on the fast track to weight loss, it is essential for improving balance, strengthening bones, building lean muscle tissue, and obtaining the toned physique you desire.

Whereas cardio exercise is efficient at burning a great amount of calories, strength training is the best way to build muscle tone for giving your metabolism a boost. If you do not include weight training in your workout and restrict your caloric intake, it is estimated that around 30% of your weight loss will come from muscle loss, which is not healthy long-term. When you complete full-body strength training sessions, you are able to build more muscle, improve your metabolic rate, and burn an extra 120 calories daily from body fat even at rest. With strength training, you are also able to switch on more muscle fibers for more active tissue throughout your body for improving functional living.

Blending Both for the Perfect Fitness Plan

Rather than pounding the treadmill or pumping away with the weights every day, it is suggested that you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. For maximum health benefits, both cardio and strength training should be carried out regularly. Not only will this work various parts of your body to build muscle while also burning excess calories, but it will add the variety to your workout that you need to stay motivated for a lifetime. People who do both cardio and strength training tend to have significant better outcomes in terms of weight loss, fitness, muscle tone, metabolism, and health in general. Instead of wasting time in the debate of strength training vs. cardio, it is best to combine the best of both worlds into one highly efficient fitness plan.

Since time is precious, there are many different workouts available that have been designed to fit in both cardio and strength training, such as circuit training, kettleball training, and CrossFit. Doing both at the same time is referred to as metabolic conditioning, which is a very effective tool for physical fitness and fat loss. Metabolic conditioning involves working your body at a high intensity for a short period of time, allowing a short recovery period, and then repeating several times. Pushing yourself with short sharp bursts of high-intensity workouts is the best method for obtaining serious calorie incineration. To learn more about developing a fitness plan that blends cardio with strength training, have a talk with your fitness instructor and determine what will best support your overall health goals.

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