Whenever we start something new, we like to gather as much information on the topic as possible — it’s all part of human nature. Therefore, the beginning of your weight loss journey can be intimidating at first, especially when you're bombarded by an onslaught of information coming left and right from a variety of sources, including your friends, the internet, and family members.
They might mean well, but this is something you must go through on your own. During your journey, you’ll realize which diets work best, how to track your progress efficiently, and put the eternal debate on strength training vs cardio to the test. The road ahead isn't easy, but we will be your benevolent fairy godmother today and guide you through the last point in the following post. Let’s get started!
Cardio vs Strength Training
It’s an age-old question — strength training vs cardio — which of the two is more effective in weight loss? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First and foremost, to shed pounds, you need to be in a calorie deficit, that is, to expend more calories than you take in. A suitable workout regime and a balanced diet will help you achieve that.
When we consider cardio and strength training from this perspective, many factors come into play. Cardio, for instance, raises your heart rate, thereby burning calories. On the other hand, strength training helps you gain muscle mass and improves your metabolic rate, helping you burn calories even while resting. As you can see, both sides have their strengths, no pun intended, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the following sections.
Advantages of Doing Cardio
As its name suggests, cardio workouts positively impact your cardiovascular system. Most experts suggest doing at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise like dancing, cycling, running, or anything that will increase your heart rate daily. The perks of these activities are numerous, but let’s look at the most important ones in the context of weight loss.
Manages Your Appetite
Cardio can assist you with munching habits if you’re a foodie and keep getting inexplicable snack cravings. Namely, certain studies indicate that high-intensity cardio can help rein in hunger. As the blood circulates through your body during these workouts, it is diverted from the stomach, causing your appetite to decrease.
Helps With Fat Loss
When it comes to weight loss, experts suggest that cardio burns more calories minute-to-minute compared to strength training due to the continuous nature of these exercises.
Still, to achieve your goals, you must choose the right exercise type. Namely, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is better suited for those looking to retain existing muscle and burn fat effectively. Conversely, LISS (low-intensity steady-state cardio) is a good option if you’re a beginner and want to lose more weight.
Aerobic exercises are an excellent budget-friendly option if you’re on a budget and can't start hitting the gym just yet. The range is endless — you can choose from cycling, running, hiking, walking, dancing, and spinning. So whenever you get bored of a particular activity, you can try something new without breaking the bank.
You may be thinking how this doesn’t really tell us what’s better for weight loss: cardio or strength training. However, recent studies suggest that individuals doing aerobic exercise lose up to 4x more weight than those who only focus on strength exercises. Remember that this is just one side of the coin, and building muscle has its merits as a weight loss strategy.
Perks of Regular Strength Training
We already mentioned that weight training won’t burn as many calories as cardio, but that doesn’t mean these workouts don’t have a positive impact on your weight loss journey. Obviously, lifting weights will help sculpt and build your muscles, but let’s see what role it plays in fat loss.
Boosts Resting Metabolism
Cardio vs weights for weight loss is an ongoing debate for a reason, considering that both help burn calories but in an entirely different manner. Adequate strength training is undoubtedly essential if you want to grow your muscle mass. But, you might not know that muscle burns more calories at rest compared to other tissues.
As a result, by training with weights, you’ll be effectively working on your resting metabolic rate. Some studies have found that one’s resting metabolism will stay elevated for up to 38 hours after a strength workout, deeming it more effective than cardio for that purpose.
Reduces Stress Levels
Overproduction of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, is linked to belly fat and can even lead to a breakdown in our muscles. The good news is that strength training can reduce stress levels. Once in the zone, you’re not thinking about anything besides using your strength to lift that weight. Credible sources like the Journal of Sports Medicine have indicated that weight training for two weeks can significantly diminish cortisol levels in certain individuals.
Which One Should You Choose?
We’ve seen all the benefits of cardio vs strength training, but how do you know which one to choose? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that doing aerobic exercise for 150 minutes a week is more effective than weight lifting. That said, a combination of both is the best route for individuals looking to improve their overall body composition.
The bottom line is that both cardio and strength training will help you with your weight loss goals. Meanwhile, the amount and intensity of workouts will depend on your current fitness levels. If you’re a beginner, it’s better to start slow and adjust your exercises as you go. Of course, if you have doubts about your regime, you can always consult a professional.
When you combine the right workout, a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, and an app or device that allows you to track your body metrics, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight becomes effortless. For a comprehensive understanding of your health journey, consider incorporating the EROS Smart Scale into your routine.
This advanced scale not only measures weight but also provides vital body composition metrics like muscle mass, body fat percentage, and water weight. By tracking these metrics consistently, you can gain deeper insights into your health and make more informed decisions about your fitness and nutritional strategies. Start your journey towards a healthier you today by integrating the EROS Smart Scale into your daily wellness routine.