Cardio or strength training for weight loss? Do you know which is best?
The long standing debate on the benefits of each is exhausting and confusing to try to sort through. To put it simply, cardiovascular exercise certainly burns more calories DURING than strength training, but has a limited recovery response so not many more calories are burned post exercise. Additionally, cardio typically does not focus on muscular strength or development so those exercisers exclusively doing bouts of cardiovascular exercise could potentially end up looking like track runners in those little bikini running suits with about 15 percent body fat. Not that attractive.
On the flip side, strength training doesn’t burn too many calories DURING exercise but post exercise caloric burn has been scientifically demonstrated as the muscles try to recover from the workout. Also, muscle of course requires more caloric energy at rest than fat. However, focusing exclusively on strength training might result in the body building Arnold Schwarzenegger appearance. Not that attractive.
So if you want to look like a mix of a bodybuilder and a track runner wouldn’t it make sense to do a combination of cardio and strength training? To me, skinny is not sexy. And looking like a man is not high up on my priority list. So to achieve an athletic physique, utilizing workouts which combine the very best from cardio and strength are my best recommendation.
How to do this?
Some simple formulas:
Formula 1: add cardio intervals in between your weight lifting sets. Perform your normal weight lifting routine and add 15 jumping jacks or jump rope for 30 seconds in between each move, spiking your heart rate and keeping it elevated as you complete your regular routine.
Formula 2: use functional training exercises such as burpees or plank jacks to keep your heart rate elevated while also increasing muscular strength by utilizing your body weight against gravity. Perform a H.I.I.T style workout which elevates your heart rate AND challenges your muscles.
Formula 3: If you work out frequently (more than 6 times per week), you can dedicate 3 of these workout sessions exclusively to cardio with the other 3 to strength. Since most of my clients only work out 3 to 4 times per week I typically stay away from this option but it is available for more frequent exercisers.
Choose the formula that works for you and start seeing results FASTER by combining cardio and strength training for fat loss. Not sure where to get started? Contact me for a free personal training consultation. I can show you how to use explosive function training moves to spike your heart rate and tone and shape your muscles.