Weights vs. Cardio: Which Is Better For Fat Loss?

By Henry Gould – Oct 10th, 2018

If you want to start a debate with someone, simply bring up the three forbidden topics of polite company: “politics, religion, money”. But never mind the rules of stuffy dinner parties, if you want to start a debate with a group of personal trainers, just ask them each whether cardio or weights is a better solution to fat loss. Chaos is sure to ensue.

This has been something discussed for years, with body builders and strength trainers always insisting weights burned more calories, whereas endurance athletes could always point to their single digit body fat compositions, and maintain cardio was in fact best.

It’s 2018, so I figured the science would be settled on the subject. Turns out, it’s not so simple.

For me personally, I’ve experienced significant weight loss by doing both predominantly cardio routines (~30km / week of distance running) and weights (working out on my own and with Yard Athletics). Obviously if you’re running for extended periods of time, the body will acclimatize and get better at …. running for extended periods of time. That’s great if you’re training for a marathon, but potentially not feasible for crossover into cycling, weight training, or other sports that don’t demand medium paced running in a straight line.

An interesting article written in 2017 by CNN asked the very question of cardio vs. weights, and which was better. Overall, pound for pound it said cardio was better for calories burned and therefore weight loss, but that obviously depends on what kind of training you’re doing.

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has become popular as of late due to the shorter workouts that encompass both weight training in addition to cardio. The cardio component is typically reached because each set is done explosively, very quickly, followed by other exercises. This leaves little time for rest, causing elevation of the heart rate over the workout.

As has been written about on this blog previously, sprinting is one of the best exercises you can do for fat loss, and burns arguably the most calories over time. It also activates more muscle stimulation than traditional long distance running, which helps improve performance in the weight room.

Overall, for maximal performance and fat loss, a combination of weight training and cardio is likely to be the best solution for hitting your goals. Leave it to the professionals at Yard Athletics, setup a free consultation (info@yardathletics), and see what program will work best for you.

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