The age-old battle of Cardio vs Resistance training for weight loss is still raging on throughout gyms the world over. There hasn’t been a day in my career that I haven’t explained to some degree which is better for overall weight loss and why.
Over the past decade, it’s become more and more commonplace for people to answer this question with a quick, affirmative “resistance training is better!” when asked about cardio vs resistance training for weight loss. But the reality is a little different and depends on what your overall goals are.
If you are simply wanting to lose weight quickly and are more obsessed with the number on the scales and are quickly looking to drop a dress size or some extra weight for a holiday/special occasion then cardio will indisputably burn more calories per minute than strength training. This is shown in countless scientific studies where people focusing solely on aerobic exercise would lose more weight in a short period than those focusing on resistance training. However, people who diet and train in this way will often then regain the weight back if not more so over time.
In contrast, most people don’t want to just lose weight rapidly and instead want a healthy toned look. In order to achieve this, you need to suck it up and start moving some weight around in the gym. Resistance training may burn fewer calories in the short term when compared with aerobic exercise alone however for each additional lb of lean muscle you add to your frame the body will burn 120 calories per day more just by sitting on the sofa.
It’s this muscle gain that over the long term will not only lead to an increase in weight loss but also be a major contribution in whether you manage to retain your new weight or bounces back once dieting and exercise stop.
Cardio vs Resistance Training for Weight Loss – Which is Better?
When I’m asked this question in the gym my answer is always the same, a combination of both. My clients will have 2-3 resistance training days in the gym and will do additional cardio post workout or on non-resistance days. This offers the best all-round results, an increase in calories burned over a 7 day period coupled with resistance training to build new lean muscle mass and retain existing muscle mass. The result is often similar weight loss when compared to individuals focusing solely on aerobic exercise with the added benefit of retaining and building muscle tissue making it easier to retain the new physique in the long run.
I will say this, however, the training itself is just the stimulus for weight loss and muscle growth and results will only come quickly when coupled with a balanced, well-structured nutrition plan that is tailored specifically to your goals. Your training will often only make up 7-10 hours of your week the rest is down to rest and adequate nutrition and it’s these two that will really boost your results.
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