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Cardio vs. Weight Training: Which is Best for Weight Loss?

If you are trying to lose weight, chances are a daily exercise regimen is part of your plan. Like many, you may be wondering which type of exercise is best for shedding the extra pounds. This post will examine the two most common approaches to exercising for weight loss: cardio and weight lifting.


Cardio (cardiovascular) exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate. This makes your cardiovascular system stronger and healthier, so it can deliver more oxygen to your muscle cells. This leads to more efficient fat burning. Cardio includes exercise such as jogging, biking, and swimming. Typically, cardio workouts burn more calories per session than weight lifting. However, the number of calories you burn depends on your weight and how intense the exercise is.

Weight Training

Weight training doesn’t burn as many calories per session as cardio, but it can help you to burn more calories every day. Weight lifting workouts are great for building muscle. Muscle burns calories faster at rest than most other tissues. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest or when you are not exercising. This is called your resting metabolism, and it tends to increase with a weight training regimen. This increase is usually a small amount, but weight training has another key benefit as well. Research has shown that in the hours after a weight training workout, people burn more calories than in the hours following a cardio workout. In other words, weight lifting exercises continue to benefit you long after you have completed your workout.


While both cardio and weight training are effective for weight loss, there is another option that many are not aware of, called HIIT. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and alternates between short bursts of intense exercise and low-intensity recovery periods. HIIT workouts typically last between 10 and 30 minutes and can be even more effective than traditional cardio. Plus, because of the periods of rest, you will spend less time actually working out, with similar benefits.

Cardio, weight training, and HIIT can all be effective means for losing weight and improving overall health. Each type of exercise has benefits on its own, but a combination of two or all three may be the best option. Whatever method(s) you choose, congratulations on making the commitment to losing weight and improving your health!