People tend to associate losing weight and burning fat with cardio exercises. Weightlifting training gets forgotten and judged as one of the lesser priority components in dropping body fat. Now I think it’s safe to say that minute per minute, cardio burns more calories than weight training if you’re working at a respectable level of intensity, however multiple studies have shown that after an effective weight training session, your metabolism can stay boosted from 24 to 36 hours post workout. So which one is best? Well let’s delve deeper:
There are many health benefits from incorporating a staple cardio plan into your training regime: greater lung function, lower resting heart rate, improved heart health and improved recovery to just name a few. The two divided forms of cardio are Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). As far as burning more calories during activity, LISS actually has a higher calorie burn compared to HIIT. Although HIIT is normally done for shorter bouts of time, it has been proven to burn more calories post workout which will work better for most effective fat burn, greater use of gym time and also a greater challenge compared to its lower intensity counterpart.
Everyone knows that weight training is essential for building muscle, but you could build muscle and drop body fat simply through effective weight training. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn. Just 1 kg of lean muscle burns 50 extra calories a day whereas 1kg of fat will only burn three calories in a day. So there you go, right from the start, the outcomes of weight training already outweigh cardio whilst at rest. You can incorporate many different training programs, styles, techniques and methods to achieve an extremely effective calorie burn. Methods such as super sets, drop sets, giant sets and rest pause for example, help raise the core body temperature and recruit more muscle fibers to work, which will require more calories to be burned for fuel.
Rather than pitch these against each other, can they live in harmony? I have found in my own experience, that neglecting your cardiovascular system will actually affect your resistance training. A poor cardiovascular system will have consequences when it comes to making gains, causing you to stall. By incorporating one to two intense cardio sessions into your training regime, you will help your heart and lungs to be more efficient in doing what they need to do in order to progress. Now we all know the feel of that burn sensation when the body is aching and our muscles are shutting down: this is due to the build-up of lactic acid which is a waste by-product of lack of oxygenated blood getting into the muscle cells. It stands to reason that the healthier and more efficient your cardiovascular system is, the more oxygenated blood can be transported through to the muscles, prolonging that build up on lactic acid and allowing you in turn to lift more weight for longer. This will help you in your ability to gain muscle, and as I stated earlier, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
As a conclusion, we need to look at how cardio training and resistance training can benefit one another. As an athlete, the stronger and more functional your muscles are, then the greater your abilities will become, which will translate into more creative and advanced cardio training. This will help you build up a stronger heart and lungs which will deliver more oxygen-rich blood through to the muscles. You will then push your body past those plateaus and will continue to make lean muscle gains. So when you’re looking to get rid of that body fat, focus on building a better and more advanced you! Training like an athlete and focusing on a structured training regime with respected cardio and resistance training will lead to one place: a leaner, stronger, healthier you.