Cardio vs Strength Training for Fat Loss

My dear readers,

Today I’m addressing the great debate – which one is better for fat loss, cardio or strength training? Well, looks like the verdict is in. Enjoy.

A primer on fat loss versus weight loss
So, you’re trying to lose weight – well, really you want that fat to melt off your belly or your arms or your thighs. Losing fat is more meaningful than losing scale weight. You can build muscle and lose fat at the same time, and your scale weight won’t change even though your body composition has changed. It’s all about fat loss, not weight loss.

Pros of cardio
Cardiovascular exercise burns more calories in a certain period of time than strength training. So you would burn more calories doing 30 minutes of swimming than 30 minutes of a weight-bearing exercise.

Cons of cardio
Your body stops burning those calories as soon as you stop the activity. So, you don’t burn calories outside of the gym. Also, each step you take brings an impact force of about two to three times your bodyweight. In a 30-minute run, a typical runner will have about 5,000 impacts, which are likely the root of an injury problem. So, you might be better off reducing calories a bit each day rather than doing cardio (especially is cardio is boring to you!).

Pros of strength training
Strength training builds lean muscle to make you look lean, have more energy, improve overall health, and lose body fat. Muscle is more metabolically active, so your body uses more energy to keep it. So, when you build muscle in the gym, you burn calories at rest outside of the gym. This is good because you can sleep and still burn fat! (Note: Ladies, you will not “bulk up”. Muscle is dense so you will get leaner and toner).

Cons of strength training
You’ll feel a bit sore after a session. But that’s okay, it’s just your body getting stronger.

The final verdict
Go with strength training as your primary form of exercise. Watch your diet (instead of doing lots of cardio) to reveal your shape, and strength train to improve that shape.

I hope you found this article helpful! Let me know if you have any other health and fitness questions. I’d love to answer them!

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