Weight Lifting vs Cardio: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Weight Lifting vs Cardio

If you’re interested in dropping those extra pounds the first thing that comes into your mind is “cardio” right? Especially for a woman, all you hear from people is to do cardio and stay away from weight lifting because it will give you that “bulky” look. Let me tell you right now…They are wrong!

The biggest mistake that most people (especially women) make is not including strength training in their workout plans. Let me break it down for you…

Cardio Vs Strength Training

Weight Lifting vs Cardio
When your goal is weight loss, you may be wondering if is it better to do cardio or strength training? The answer is… they’re both important.

Cardio tends to result in early weight loss, but for sustained results as well as a healthier body image, you need to work on including strength training in your exercise plan. Cardio gets your heart beating fast which is beneficial for your cardiovascular health, but it doesn’t do much for your muscles.

However, most people fall into the trap of just doing cardio and skipping any sort of resistance training. But let me tell you right now you are missing out on a lot of benefits of doing weight training. Let’s talk about the benefits…

Increased Fat Loss

When trying to lose both weight and stubborn fat deposits, studies have shown that lifting weight is definitely the way to go. Researchers at Penn State put dieters into three main groups:

  • 1. No exercise,
  • 2. Aerobic exercise only,
  • 3. A combination of weight training and aerobic exercise.

See they all lost some weight.

However, the group that lifted weights lost six more pounds of fat than those who did aerobic exercise only. Researchers found that the lifting group lost almost pure fat while the other groups lost both fat and muscle tissue. This study is supported by another researcher on people who exercise regularly but don’t lift. On average, 75% of their weight loss is from fat, but 25% is a loss in valuable muscle tissue.

Muscle loss will end up in dropping the weight, but it doesn’t provide a toned body and makes it much more likely that you’ll gain back the weight you lost.

Do you see what I mean?

You don’t want short-term weight loss but rather a sustainable one for many years to come.

Increased Resting Metabolic Rate

Weight Lifting vs Cardio
Lifting weights on a regular basis increases the number of calories that you burn throughout the rest of your day. This phenomenon does not happen after just a cardio workout, so you’ll only see it during a strength workout. After this type of workout, your muscles need increased energy in order to repair the muscle fibers.

In fact, researchers studying weight training found that when women did a total body workout with just three major moves, their metabolism increased for 39 hours after the workout. Remember also that lifting weights provides a better burn during exercise sessions.

Doing a circuit of eight moves which probably takes about eight minutes can expend anywhere from 150-230 calories. This is about the same as what you’d burn through if you run 10-minute miles at the same duration.

Concerns About Hypertrophy

While these concerns are understandable, they are also completely unfounded. There are a few main reasons why weight training isn’t going to cause you to bulk up but will actually boost weight loss. 

First, there are a variety of hormonal responses that can cause increased muscle growth and the main one is testosterone.

While women have small amounts of testosterone in their bodies, their ratio of testosterone to estrogen is significantly smaller than a man’s body. 

Because of their low levels, stimulating large muscle mass is extremely difficult and can take years of work. Instead, regular weight lifting is going to tone muscle groups, but not cause any significant sort of muscle gain.

Secondly, while you may have seen pictures of women bodybuilders, most of these women follow extremely strict and specific diets, engage in a tailored workout plan, and take a huge variety of supplements designed to provide or stimulate testosterone production.

In short, there is no chance of a woman achieving anything similar to that body type without an extreme lifestyle change. In fact, even with these changes, many women can still not achieve gaining large muscles, so women shouldn’t be concerned about hypertrophy or large muscles. 

Chances are, women will actually start seeing more definition but not any sort of significant muscular gains.

Final Thoughts

Weight Lifting vs Cardio

Remember that no matter what your workout goals are, weight training can help you achieve them.

  • Whether you want to tone muscle groups
  • Lose weight or lose extra fat…
  • Or just improve your overall health…
  • Lifting weights is extremely important.

To see the best results from your efforts, be sure to do both cardio and weight training then complemented by a healthy diet as well.

If you do these, you can finally stop fighting with your scale and start seeing real results. Even if you still have doubts, just try including strength training in your workout plan and pay close attention to the changes you see. Trust me my friend the results will be significant!

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