Cardio or Weight Lifting – Which is Better? Part 1 | TRAINING
Cardio and weight lifting are two of the most popular types of workouts. Many people who want to lose weight find themselves asking — should they do cardio or lift weights? I know, it’s a tricky question. It can be hard to know which is better.
Now don’t you worry, this article will help you better understand which of the two is better for weight loss. I have divided this topic into several parts, so this would be the first installment. Stay tuned for part 2!
Cardio Burns More Calories Per Workout Session
Various studies have been done to determine how many calories you can burn during different types of activities. One research in particular, published in 2011 in the scientific journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, reported that for most activities, the more calories you will burn if you weigh more.
What does this exactly mean?
Based on this study, you can estimate how many calories you will burn using your body weight. You get to measure the calories you burn during different types of exercises, including cardio and weight lifting.
Let’s discuss one example.
If you weigh 73 kg, you will burn approximately 250 calories after 30 minutes of moderate-paced jogging. Or, you would burn about 365 calories for the same amount of time of faster-paced jogging. Now how much calories would you burn within 30 minutes if you were weight lifting?
According to the study, the number of calories you burn during exercise depends not only on your body size, but also at how intensely you exercise. This means that since a cardio workout is more intense, it can burn more calories than weight training of the same duration.
Does this mean weight lifting is useless?
Weightlifting Helps Burn More Calories Even After a Workout Session
According to a study, weight training has other important benefits even though it doesn't typically burn as many calories as a cardio workout.
In another study, scientists revealed that weight training is more effective at building muscle. The good news about this is that muscles can burn calories at rest compared to other bodily tissues. This means that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.
Building muscle therefore, increases your resting metabolism.
Related article: What Does 'Metabolism' Mean?
While this may sound good, it’s important to think about how many calories this represents. One study measured participants’ resting metabolisms during 24 weeks of weight training.
In men, weight training led to a 9% increase in resting metabolism. The effects in women were smaller, with an increase of almost 4%. For the men, resting metabolism increased by about 140 calories per day. In women, it was only about 50 calories per day.
Thus, weight training and building a little bit of muscle won't make your metabolism skyrocket, but it may increase it by a small amount. However, weight training also has other important calorie-burning benefits.
Specifically, research has shown that you burn more calories in the hours following a weight training session, compared to a cardio workout. In fact, there are reports of resting metabolism staying elevated for up to 38 hours after weight training, while no such increase has been reported with cardio.
This means that the calorie-burning benefits of weights aren't limited to when you are exercising. You may keep burning calories for hours or days afterward.
Conclusion – There’s More!
Weight training may improve your metabolism over time, although the changes aren't huge. Also, weight training is typically more effective than cardio at increasing the number of calories you burn after a workout.
However, for most types of exercise, a more intense workout will increase the number of calories you burn afterward. In the next part of this article, we’ll discuss more about what type of exercise can increase the intensity of your workout sessions.
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1. 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values
2. Prescription of resistance training for health and disease
3. Specific metabolic rates of major organs and tissues across adulthood: evaluation by mechanistic model of resting energy expenditure
4. Effect of strength training on resting metabolic rate and physical activity: age and gender comparisons
5. Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management