There’s a lot of conflict in the fitness community on whether you should lift weights or do cardio to lose weight. Some fitness professionals say cardio is not only a waste of time, but will cause negative effects, while some fitness professionals develop all of their programs based on cardio alone. But really, there is truth to both ends of the spectrum. Today, I am going to tell you what is better for weight loss: weight lifting, or cardio.
First, I want to discuss weight lifting. The saying “I don’t lift weights; I don’t want to look like a man” is something I hear far too often
I am going to tell you now that lifting weights will absolutely not make you look like a man. Having toned arms, or even bulkier arms is not manly, and saying that is wrong and hurtful. But more importantly, gaining “too much” muscle is extremely hard to do! For you to get to a point to where you wouldn’t like the way you look would take years and years of intense workouts and extremely strict diet. So, stop thinking that way.
Weight lifting is excellent for weight loss. When it comes to burning off fat, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Yes, doing any form of cardio will burn more calories than lifting weights will. But the long-term effect of lifting weights will do way more for you than cardio. Think of weight lifting as an investment. You invest 45 minutes of your time 4-5 days per week for 3 months, and you are able to put on 5 pounds of muscle. Each pound of muscle you have on your body will burn up to 50 calories per day. So, after 3 months of training, you are now burning up to 250 more calories every single day! And that is without doing any exercise.
When it comes to cardio, an average 20-minute session of cardio, on the elliptical for example, will burn about 220 calories. An average weight lifting session for 45 minutes will burn close to the same amount. If we are looking only at calories burned, then of course it makes more sense to skip the weights and hit the treadmill.
However, if we are able to add 5 pounds of muscle, AND do a 45-minute weight lifting session, which will burn close to 200-250 calories, the situation completely changes. Instead of just the 200 calories, you have an extra 250 calories being burned everyday, rather than just days you exercise. So, does that mean skip cardio altogether and only lift weights?
Well, if you absolutely must pick between the two, then yes, prioritize weights over cardio. But the thing is, you don’t need to pick. Stay off your phone while you’re in the gym, get your sets done faster, and use the time you saved on the stair climber to burn some extra calories. A 20-minute session or so is plenty if you’re doing it after lifting weights. Or even a 4-minute session of HIIT would be beneficial, but then things get a little tricky. Maybe someone should make a video about it?
When it’s all said and done, you should be lifting weights and doing a short cardio session 4-5 days per week to see excellent results. Doing both of those together shouldn’t take more than an hour each day if you prioritize your time right.
I’ll talk to you guys next time!