Cardio vs Weight Training: Which is a Better Fat Loss and Body Toning Exercise?

Coach Sapna on November 05, 2016

Is one better than the other? Here's the answer, in case you were wondering.


“I want to lose fat. Which is better: Cardio or Weight Training?” If you ask this question to the average gym-goer, it would probably play down something like this. - "When you want to lose fat, you should start doing cardio" - "When you want to build muscles, you should do strength training" Falling for this common misconception is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and it is bound to hinder your progress. Here’s why. After a weight training workout, your metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours post-workout. The first reason I am going to give strength training a point is due to the after burn effect (calorie burn after the workout is completed). It means that you burn more calories even when you are at rest.

Why is weight training good?

Weight training helps you in building muscle mass which is lean but large. Ultimately it helps in burning the calories your body has stored up. Another factor which is to be considered is that it helps in boosting your long term metabolism up to almost 36 hours. Toning exercises also help in increasing the mass on your body. This means if you have more mass, your metabolism rate would be higher. Eventually, the calories you would burn would give you better results in the long run.

Another great benefit weight training has over cardio training is it makes you stronger while also giving a new shape to your body. It helps in reshaping your body by toning your muscles, instead of just losing weight. Cardio training only helps you in losing weight. However, if weight training is combined with cardio – you would be losing a combination of both fat and muscle and regaining it too. Weight training helps you keep good fat and strengthens your muscle power – giving you fat which is necessary for your body shape.

Weight training also helps in gaining good muscle mass instead of just fat. While cardio exercises are good, these only give results on a short term basis. After some time, due to the release of cortisol during cardio training fat accumulates around the region of abdomen.

Cardio and Fat Burn

As far as cardio exercises go, if you do these exercises for a longer duration and keep increasing the length of your session – it would help you burn calories to a large extent. Around 700 calories can be burned with a good and high intense cardio session which is a great number to bank on. You can easily achieve your fat loss goals with such a type of training on a short term basis.

However, in the longer run, cardio exercises are the ones which prove a much better option for overall calorie burn. While weight training might not show you the results during the actual workout – the results would show after the calorie burn on your muscles. Hence, calorie burn through weight training, is easily the winner here over cardio training.

However, one great benefit of carrying out cardio training over weight training is that your heart rate and lungs get more life during this session. It is an intense session of rigorous working out and helps you getting your blood pumped and keeping your lungs healthy with enough oxygen intake. The cardiovascular exercises help you in increased circulation and bone strengths too. Plus, the ligaments and the joints in your body get prepared for further exercises which require high intensity as you increase your workout sessions. Weight training might not be suitable for people with heart disease, but cardio can be a great healer for such people.

So, the question remains - how to tone your body? You should not eliminate the cardio exercises entirely as it is an important part of a training schedule. But you can always pair them up with weight training – in fact, a good option is to do more of weight training and keep cardio exercises a little on the lower side.

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Coach Sapna

PGDM from Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies | PGDHRM from Symbiosis | Graduation in Microbiology (Hons) from Delhi University Marketing enthusiast by profession, with the love for interacting with consumers to understand their psychology towards any brand/product. Through my articles, I intend to help all those who are looking for inspiration and happiness in life.