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Is strength training or cardio training more effective for weight loss?

Ryan Pye , NASM Elite Trainer
Fitness Specialist

I find that they have a symbiotic relationship. While the cardio will provide more proximal results (they will help you lose weight soon), strength training adds lean body mass which increases your body's BMR and allows you to burn more calories just living your normal life.

A great way to blend the two is to do a weight training circuit. Moving from exercise to exercise with little rest helps keep the heart rate elevated which helps you burn more calories. One famous "circuit" would be a Tabata circuit, alternating 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest.

Both are the most effective.  You can't have one without the other.  Each one of these has its own benefits.  Weight training will help increase your BMR(Basal Metoblic Rate) which in turn helps you burn more calories to lose weight.  Also cardio helps burn more calories quicker than just weight training alone and helps increase your endurance, lower blood pressure and resting heart rate.  Also you can combine the two if you are short on time for workouts.  Just remember to lose weight it is all a numbers game.  You have to burn more calories than you take in. 

Both are important for weight loss. The strength training will build muscle, which will increase your metabolism, and the cardio will burn calories. For those with limited time to commit to exercise, I recommend doing your strength training in a circuit fashion so that you get the most bang for your exercise minutes.

Jay Morgan, NASM Elite Trainer
Fitness Specialist

Both activities are effective for weight loss dependent on the strategies utilized. In order for weight loss to occur the individual must be in a caloric deficit, and both activities offer calorie burning. 
Which is more effective is determined by the individual’s threshold capacities. If an individual has high thresholds aerobically and structurally weight training done in circuit fashion could burn more calories minute for minute compared to traditional cardiovascular activities. If done in a multi planar fashion, varying starting positions, varying speeds and resistance weight training would also offers less wear and tear on specific joints as compared to cardio.

However, if the individual's thresholds for intense training are at a minimum, traditional cardio can be done for longer durations and thus burn more calories. When discussing weight loss it becomes a question of calories in versus calories out. 

This is a tricky question. Both strength training and cardio are important in a weight loss regimen. Cardio helps to create a caloric deficit, you will certainly burn more calories during a 30 minute cardio session than you would during 30 minutes of weight training. However, weight training helps to build lean muscle...which in turn revs your metabolism, by creating more active tissue, helping you more in long term success. While it’s ideal to have a combination of both cardio and weight training for a successful training program, I suppose if there is only time for one I say pick up the weights. Any program should have sustainability. Doing cardio alone will help you to initially lose weight, but it’s the weight training that will transform your physique from flabby to fabulous.

Both are important. It's important to keep your body moving on a regular basis. Strength training is very important to keep your bones healthy as well as burn more calories at rest. While you are resting your muscles are repairing and that burns more calories than simply resting from getting your heart rate up for a short time. However, cardio sessions will burn fat fast leading to weight loss as long as you are not consuming more calories than you burn in a 24 hour period. Exercise WILL Increase your appetite so it's important for you to monitor what goes IN as well as what is coming out, calorie- wise. 

Strength training and cardio work best or most effective together for weight loss. Cardio is the most time efficient way to burn a lot of calories. However strength training is going to help with burning calories outside of the gym. That is because when you do strength training you are breaking down the muscle fibers which need to rebuild. By having a proper nutrition you will be able to rebuild that muscle during the rest of your day. This increase caloric burn and increases your metabolism. So when you are sitting at your job and driving those kids to school and practice you are going to be burning a lot more calories than just doing cardio alone.

Muscle equals metabolism. Cardio will immediately burn more calories, but the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn around the clock. For best results try a combination of both cardio and strength training.

Actually the combination of both cardio and strength training is most effective.  Cardio training provides an opportunity to burn many calories quickly. 

But, when you are building muscle you are increasing your metabolism.  The more muscle you have the more calories you burn every minute of the day.

The best method for weight loss is a combination of both strength training and cardio training.

Both are great for weight loss. Cardio training increases your body’s ability to process oxygen (good) and while strength training also allows your body to increase its ability to process oxygen it additionally enhances many other factors such as strength, muscle mass, and muscular coordination (control). All of these factors make your body a more effective (calorie burning) machine.

I am going to take it a step further and say that nutrition and the monitoring your calories is even more important. Weight loss is not hard. If you take in less calories than you burn you will lose fat you will lose fat, if you take in more calories than you burn you will gain fat.

Weight training has many many benefits and one is helping to increase your RMR (resting metabolic rate) and a higher RMR means your body will naturally burn more calories throughout the day. Also weight training will cause your body to expend more calories, cardio helps to expend a certain amount of calories as well. This results along with other activity a total number of calories burned throughout the day.  

Now, if you take in less calories than you have burned you will lose weight. This needs to be monitored and logged. The key is to figure out how many calories your body burns (RMR + activity, weight training and cardio) and then be about 500 calories under this on the average per day to lose a 1 lb of weight per week.

The answer is a beautiful combination of both. Doing cardiovascular training can burn more calories because there is very little rest, but resistance training helps to create tone, helps to put lines in your body, and also increases your caloric burn after your workout. Also, your body does not know whether you are running on a treadmill, rowing a boat, climbing a mountain, or lifting weights, so resistance training in circuit can be done as a form of cardio.  And, let’s not forget the importance of diet as a weight loss component.

Both forms of training complement the other. Strength training allows the user to create muscle size and strength, the benefit in this is that muscle burns more calories at rest. In combination with low to moderate intensity cardiovascular work, body fat is more efficiently used for fuel for the workouts and subsequently a change in body composition. Be aware that muscle takes up less space than fat, yet weighs more than fat, therefore numbers on the scale can be deceptive.

The best way to maximize weight loss is to combine strength training, and cardio training together. Both training methods are important parts of long-term consistant weight loss.

Both strength training and cardio are beneficial forms of exercise that one can do to assist in burning more calories throughout the day. Losing weight is all about managing calories intake and calories use. To lose weight the amount of calories we take in from food needs to be less than the amount of calories we burn on a daily basis. Muscle tissue is very metabolically active meaning that it requires a lot of energy (calories) to maintain. Therefore, strength training is extremely important because it forces the body to maintain muscle tissue even if our caloric intake is reduced; cardio training does not necessarily force the body to do this.

Both forms of training are very effective for weight loss. Weight loss will occur anytime you burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, both cardio and strength training are an essential component of any successful weight loss program. Cardio type exercise will help burn calories while strength training helps to produce lean muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you will burn. Proper nutrition is also a critical part of any successful weight loss plan. You can do as much cardio and strength training as you want but in the end if you are still fueling your body with poor nutritional choices you will not see any weight loss.

I think the question should focus more on fat loss. At least for me strength training always put more weight on the scale. Remember muscle outweighs fat! But understand that was what I was trying to achieve; weight gain along with fat loss. Weight loss rely mostly on what and how much you consume and then how active you are. You can lose weight doing cardio but what good is all the loss when your muscles can't fire up in time to fight, flight, or move quickly. If you mix strength training and cardio together with a balanced diet that promotes weight loss you can expect to lose a pound and 1/2 per week. This is because your muscles are still gaining but fat loss is also happening, and your caloric intake is lower. To answer the question you have to have the balance of everything.

Your priority is strength training. A full body strength training program will help you to burn more calories in a 24 hour period as well as build lean muscle. If you have more time in your schedule adding an interval style cardio session would be your next step!

Strength and cardio training are two legs of a three legged stool--we need both. The third leg of this weight loss stool is diet.

To lose weight we need to burn more calories than are consumed. When we restrict our calories, our bodies respond by slowing or cooling our metabolic fires. Movement, staying active demand they stay hot. The more active we are throughout the day the more calories we burn. Cardio Training and its prolonged movement is great for stoking those fires during a workout—and it is good for our heart. Most of us however, cannot, should not, have the time to, or desire to, run all day. Our muscles being more metabolically active, even while resting, help us here. They stoke our fires throughout the day. This is where the strength training leg adds its support. Strength Training helps by maintaining and building muscle. The more lean tissue we have the hotter our metabolic fires will be and the more calories we burn.

You really need both components. Cardio training will get your heart rate up and help you burn calories, but the resistance training will add fat free mass (muscle) and lower your body fat percentage. For every pound of muscle you add you will burn an additional 50 calories per day. Add 5 lbs of muscle and that is an extra 500 calories a day you will be burning.

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