Which Is Best: Strength Training or Cardio?
If you plan to start exercising, then you should know that generally there are 2 broad categories of exercise.
The first category is cardio. This refers to things like running, jogging, skipping rope, using exercise bikes, using treadmills, etc.
The idea behind cardio is that it gets your cardiovascular system pumping and it helps you lose weight by burning off calories
Strength training, on the other hand, is designed to help you burn calories and build muscle by making you do exercises like weight training, anything involving dumbbells, push-ups, pull-ups.
But which is best for you?
Which is best for burning fat?
If your goal with exercise is to burn fat and shed some pounds, then without a doubt the best option is cardio.
Now, that may be confusing for some. After all, both cardio and strength training are forms of exercise, so why should cardio be a better option for burning fat?
Well, the reason is rather simple. 30 minutes of cardio burns more calories than 30 minutes of strength training.
This may come as a surprise to some people, especially since you will find many people stating that strength training is the only way to go.
However, recent research has shown that cardio is just a much better way of burning fat and burning calories.
For example, a conducted by researchers at Duke University, looked at whether resistance training, cardio or a mixture of both was the best way to lose weight. The study concluded that if your goal is simply to lose weight and burn fat, then your best option is just to do cardio alone.
Cardio proved to be superior both to strength training and strength training mixed with cardio.
Now, this is not to say that strength training is useless, just that when it comes to losing weight, cardio is the better option.
Which is best for building muscle?
If you want to build muscle, then the best option is strength training. In order to build muscle efficiently then you need to do strength training.
Cardio is simply not intense enough to let you build muscle. In order to really build muscle, you need to do rapid, high-intensity exercise sessions.
Strength training takes on more importance for people who are getting older, as strength training is the only way of ensuring that you maintain some muscle mass.
The truth is that we are all different, so the best option is really what works for you and what you personally enjoy. This will probably be some combination of both strength training and cardio!
How to Combine Strength Training with Cardio for Best Results
If you’re trying to get great results in the gym, you should find the best way for your body to maximise the time and energy you have.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, tone up, build muscle or just become healthier in general, combining strength training and cardio is arguably the best way to do it.
What is cardio?
Cardio is exercise which raises your heart rate, such as running, swimming and cycling.
The main difference with cardio and strength training is that typically you don’t use any form of weights or resistance while doing cardio.
What is strength training?
Strength training is exercise which involves using weights and other forms of resistance in order to encourage the contraction of muscles.
Over time, this type of exercise replaces any excess fat with muscle, and promotes the growth of muscle mass, thus helping you to tone up or build extra muscle.
How can the two types of exercise be combined?
Combining cardio and strength training doesn’t mean you need to find a form of exercise where you can do both of them at the same time.
It simply means that during the week, you should vary your workouts and try to incorporate both into your daily or weekly routine.
You might want to go to the gym and do cardio for half an hour and then strength training for the next half an hour.
Alternatively, you could alternate your workouts by doing cardio one day and then strength training the next.
All that matters is that you get a good balance of both cardio and strength training during your workout week.
How does a combination of cardio and strength training benefit you?
While some people consider the two types of exercise to be polar opposites – the popular misconception is that cardio is for those looking to lose weight and strength training is for people who want to get big muscles – this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Strength training helps you to improve your fitness levels and burn calories and fat long after you’ve finished your workout, so you’ll burn more the next day when you do your cardio workout.
Cardio, in turn, builds stamina and improves the health of your heart, making it easier to lift heavier weights and do more reps while in the gym.