Resistance training or cardio for weight loss?
Updated: May 15, 2020
A question I get asked all the time is, “what’s the best type of training to do if I want to lose weight”?
I always answer the question the same way....” if your goal is to lean out, then do both resistance training and cardio” however I personally always like to put more of an emphasis on resistance training over cardio. Focusing mainly on compound movements (multiple joint movements). The reason for this is simple. By increasing full body muscle mass you will in turn increase your metabolic rate. This means that you will burn more calories at rest and over a prolonged period of time, basically turning your body into a calorie burning machine. This is because muscle requires far more energy than fat to maintain, hence, the m
ore muscle you have, the more energy / calories your body will burn.
Further more, putting more focus on resistance training over cardio will help reshape your body and improve body composition, which will make your clothes fit better once you drop any unwanted body fat. Doing cardio regularly will absolutely help you lose weight, however without resistance training, it will not only burn fat but also muscle, which is definitely not something you want for long term results.
So in essence, when you are performing resistance training whilst in a caloric deficit, you will not only burn unwanted fat but you will enhance your body shape and achieve a better overall transformation.
Another common question I get asked a lot by my female clients is, “But won’t weight training make me big and bulky”?
When it comes to women and weight training, getting big and bulky just doesn’t happen. Unlike men, Women simply don’t have enough testosterone to cause significant muscle growth. However, gaining lean muscle mass will have all of the previously mentioned benefits, so definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. I see so many women only doing cardio to try and lose fat and tone up, which in my opinion is a big mistake.
Resistance training not only strengthens your muscles but also your bones, joints and tendons. This will have a huge carryover in your day to day life, making daily tasks far easier and give more energy overall. This is especially important as you age, where bones, joints and tendons weaken, if some form of strength or resistance training isn’t done regularly.
There are of course many health benefits to doing cardio also, which shouldn’t be ignored. Increasing the heart rate regularly really helps strengthen not only the heart muscle but the entire cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Making your whole cardiovascular system far more efficient, lowering blood pressure, lowering your chance of getting cardiovascular disease and strokes, reduces LDL cholesterol aka the bad cholesterol, increases insulin sensitivity etc.
In summary, I would say that if your goal is to get leaner and improve body composition, then a combination of both resistance training and cardio is the best approach, however, put more emphasis on resistance training focusing on compound movements and do daily LISS (light intensity steady state) training such as walking, swimming, cycling etc to help maintain a daily energy deficit. This approach will insure that you achieve all of the benefits of both types of training and will give better results over time.
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