Strength Training Versus Cardio for Weight Loss: Which is Best?

By Mark / a few months ago
There are many ways to do HIIT cardio.

Both strength training and cardio are fantastic exercise options. But which one is best for weight loss? Find out here…

Strength Training vs Cardio for Weight Loss

When you are trying to lose weight, you are faced with a lot of tough questions to answer. Some fitness gurus will say that strength training is the best for weight loss. Others say that you can only lose weight by doing cardiovascular exercise.

You peruse magazine articles, websites and watch fitness shows on TV trying to find which is best for you. But often you just end up with more questions. This article will help you answer these questions by giving you the benefits of strength training and cardio for weight loss.

How Does Strength Training Help?

Strength training involves using some sort of resistance to help you increase musculature in the body. You can perform exercises with dumbbells, barbells, or use resistance equipment.

In order to do it properly, you need to learn how to perform certain exercises, but this is easy to do and it will help you lose weight. Strength training can help you with weight loss by increasing your metabolism, burning more calories at rest and burning body fat.

Increase Your Metabolism

Working out with weights will help your weight loss efforts by increasing your metabolism. When you strength train, you burn a certain number of calories, but your metabolism doesn’t slow down after you finish training.

Your body works very hard to help you put on muscle. It’s working during your training session, to help you complete your workout, and it’s working after your session to help you recover.

Muscles get larger after the body repairs small tears in the muscles that you create when working out. In order to repair itself, it needs to burn extra calories. This elevation in metabolism can last up to 38 hours after you finished working out. A higher metabolism means more weight loss.

Burn More Calories at Rest

Every activity that you perform throughout the day burns calories. Sitting, walking, and breathing all come with a caloric expenditure. Body fat burns calories and muscle burns calories. The thing is that for every pound of fat you have, you will only burn two calories and for every pound of muscle you have you will burn six calories.

Over the course of days, weeks and months that translates to a lot of calories. If you want to ensure that you lose weight today and keep it off, your best bet is to increase your lean mass through strength training.

Strength Training Benefits

If you want to use strength training for weight loss, doing a lot of repetitions per set (15 or more), can help you burn body fat while keeping or increasing lean mass.

In this type of workout, you will get your heart pumping with the high number of reps, but since you are still doing resistance exercises, your body will also try to keep the muscle you have. In the end, you will burn only body fat, instead of burning body fat and losing lean mass (which often happens when only cardio exercise is performed).

How Does Cardiovascular Exercise Help?

Cardiovascular exercise is any form of exercise that uses your body weight. Running, jogging, walking, cycling are all examples of cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise helps you lose weight by burning calories during your workout and increasing metabolism.

Cardio Benefits - Burn More Calories During Your Workout

The greatest benefit of cardio exercise as it pertains to weight loss is the amount of calories you can burn in each session. A man weighing 205 lbs (92 kg), running at a speed of 5 miles per hour (8 km) will burn 745 calories. If that same man swims for an hour, he will burn 931 calories. Cardio exercise is the best way to burn a lot of calories at one time.

Cardio Benefits - Increases Metabolism

Cardiovascular exercise, like strength training, has the ability to help you increase your metabolism depending on which type of cardio exercise you perform. If you use the above examples and run or swim, the post-workout metabolism increase will be fairly low.

If, on the other hand, you perform HIIT (high-intensity interval training), you can experience an increase in metabolism that lasts hours after your workout. In addition, if you are concerned with specifically losing body fat, HIIT sessions have been shown to mimic strength training by preserving lean mass while getting rid of body fat.

In your battle to lose weight, strength training will increase your metabolism, help you burn more calories at rest and will target your body fat. Cardiovascular exercise lets you burn a lot of calories at once, or if you perform HIIT, you can perform short sessions that will give your metabolism a boost just like strength training.

Deciding Which is Best

If you are trying to decide which is best, the answer is both. If you want to maximize your weight loss efforts, you need to perform strength training and cardiovascular exercises.

About the author


Hello, I'm Mark. I'm a bodybuilding champion and have been active in the industry for over 10 years. I created this website to provide fellow bodybuilders with useful information to help them achieve their dream physique.