Cardio vs weights? Which is better for fat loss? Should you choose one over the other for that purpose?
While one can be better than the other, depending on how you look at it, we let Max Posternak take the reins on the debate of cardio vs weights for better fat loss.
Max Posternak is the founder of Gravity Transformation, a website focused on giving tips and training guidance for people looking to improve their fitness and lose weight. His YouTube channel has over 5 million subscribers.
To lose weight and body fat, one person must be in a caloric deficit, meaning you burn more calories than you consume. While the easiest and most effective way to do that is through diet, you can always improve the calories you burn via exercise. And this is where the debate over cardio vs weights training begins.
How Can Someone Lose Fat with Cardio?
Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio, can be an effective way to lose fat. When you engage in cardio activities like running, cycling, or swimming, your body needs energy to fuel the movements. To meet this energy demand, your body starts breaking down stored fat for fuel. This process occurs because fat stores contain a lot of calories, and by doing cardio, you create an energy deficit where your body needs to tap into those fat stores to keep going. As a result, over time, consistent cardio workouts can lead to fat loss.
Additionally, cardio workouts increase your heart rate and breathing rate, which boosts your metabolism. When your metabolism is elevated, your body continues to burn calories even after you finish exercising. This is known as the “afterburn effect” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). During EPOC, your body works to restore itself to its pre-exercise state, using stored fat as fuel for this recovery process. So, not only do you burn calories during your cardio workout, but you also continue to burn calories even when you’re at rest, contributing to fat loss.
How Can Someone Lose Fat with Weights?
Lifting weights, also known as resistance training or strength training, can help a person lose fat by building lean muscle mass. When you lift weights, your muscles are challenged and micro-tears occur in the muscle fibres. After your workout, your body needs to repair and rebuild those muscle fibres, which require energy in the form of calories. To meet this energy demand, your body taps into its stored fat reserves and burns calories, leading to fat loss.
Moreover, having more lean muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate. This means that even when you’re not actively exercising, your body burns more calories throughout the day just to sustain its muscle tissue. By incorporating weightlifting into your fitness routine, you can boost your metabolism and continue to burn calories long after your workout is over. Additionally, weightlifting helps shape and tone your muscles, giving your body a more defined and sculpted appearance as you lose fat.
Cardio vs Weights for Fat Loss
With that information in mind, which one is better for fat loss? Cardio vs weights?
Obviously, there are different types of cardio and different types of strength training. Cardio can be done in light intensity, such as walking, or something more intense like swimming or HIIT exercises.
In general, according to Posternak, while cardio takes the advantage when it comes to calories burnt minute by minute, weight training has the advantage with calories burnt over time. Check the video below.
Posternak also talked about one research done with overweight people that did only cardio, only strength training, or both. The weights group gained muscle mass and didn’t lose weight, the cardio group lost 4 pounds of fat while the group that did both got the best improvement in the ratio of fat to lean muscle mass – they also lost their waist circumference more than the cardio or weight group.
Read More: Cardio Before or After Weights?
There are several ways to lose weight, but the most effective and sustainable methods involve making healthy lifestyle changes. Here are some strategies that can help:
- Create a calorie deficit: To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body burns each day. This can be achieved by eating a balanced, low-calorie diet and increasing your physical activity.
- Eat a healthy diet: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid sugary, high-fat, and processed foods.
- Exercise regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week. Strength training can also help build muscle and boost metabolism.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism, leading to weight gain. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Manage stress: Stress can lead to overeating and weight gain. Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
- Seek support: Join a weight loss program, enlist the help of a friend or family member, or work with a registered dietitian or personal trainer for accountability and guidance.
Remember that sustainable weight loss takes time and effort. Focus on making healthy lifestyle changes that you can stick to long-term rather than quick-fix solutions.
Lowering belly fat can bring several benefits to your overall health and well-being. Here are some of the benefits:
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases: Belly fat is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Lowering belly fat can help reduce the risk of these diseases.
- Improves insulin sensitivity: Belly fat can affect insulin sensitivity, which can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Lowering belly fat can improve insulin sensitivity, which can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.
- Boosts metabolism: Belly fat can slow down your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Lowering belly fat can help boost your metabolism, making it easier to burn calories and lose weight.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Belly fat can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular problems. Lowering belly fat can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of these problems.
- Increases energy levels: Carrying excess belly fat can make you feel tired and sluggish. Lowering belly fat can increase your energy levels and improve your overall quality of life.
Overall, lowering your belly fat can bring many benefits to your health and well-being, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving insulin sensitivity, boosting metabolism, improving cardiovascular health, and increasing energy levels.