What's better, weight training or cardio??

This is the age-old debate.  Which is better for you, weight training or cardio?  Bodybuilders and power lifters swear by the dumbbells and barbells, whereas runners are addicted to the treadmill.  As usual, the answer is it depends . . . on what your goals are.

Cardio, especially high intensity interval training (HIIT), is a big burn against those excess calories that you've eaten.  It'll also improve your overall fitness, cardiovascular endurance, and can lower your resting heart rate.  There's no question that if you're looking to lose weight, cardio and a manageable diet are the keystones.  But what if you're looking to lose as much fat as possible without sacrificing lean muscle mass?

Cardio will allow you to burn off some of that fat.  But when you're eating or exercising into a caloric deficit, your body will also go after your precious muscle mass to use as energy as you're slimming down.  In fact, the less body fat you have, the more likely your body will want to store that stubborn body fat (abs for guys and thighs for ladies) as an emergency reserve while eating away at your muscle tissue for energy.  So how do you prevent your body from going after those sweet sweet gains that you've accumulated over the years?

In order for your body to maintain your muscle mass in a caloric deficit, you need to give your muscles a reason to stay.  If your body realizes that your muscles aren't getting used accordingly, then it may go catabolic.  But if you lift weights, particularly free weights and compound heavy exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups, then you end up telling your body that it needs the muscles to lift.  So not only can you build muscle by lifting weights, but you'll also maintain and help preserve muscle when you're trying to lose weight.  Your body will be "hesitant" to go catabolic against your lean muscle mass when it realizes that it needs them for consistent lifting.  And so off to your fat stores your body will likely go, which is the ultimate goal.

So which is better cardio or weight training?  Never an easy answer, but it depends, and I would like to say that they are both important.  Whether you're looking to get big and strong or you want to develop that sweet muscle tone, you're going to need weight training to make that muscle show and stay.  And if you want good overall cardiovascular fitness, then you're going to want to do cardio and/or HIIT.  It should be noted though that a healthy diet can compensate for the missing calorie burn if you do skip cardio.  So yes, it still will and always will come down to your diet, especially your protein intake.

Happy New Year from all of us from Flying for Fitness!  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!


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