Cardio or Strength Training: The Great Debate

You’ve heard the question: which is better for weight loss, cardio or strength training? Ask most runners and they’ll tell you hitting the pavement helps them keep the extra pounds at bay. Ask any CrossFitter and they’ll tell you strength training is the way to go. 

Let's look at exactly what happens in your body when you do a cardio workout vs. a strength-training workout.

If you compare cardio and strength training results minute to minute, cardio definitively burns more calories than strength. But don’t skip your trip to the box just yet. Cardio does little for your muscles. In a Penn State study, dieters lost 21 pounds whether they performed cardio or strength training. But six of those pounds came from muscle for the cardio group, while lifters lost pure fat. Why?

Mike Bracko, a fitness educator and Occupational Physiologist said it best: "When you jog or hit the elliptical, your body is actually pretty comfortable, but when you strength train, your body is like, 'Whoa, this is a lot different!'" That “whoa” moment, when you push your body past its comfort zone, ensures an afterburn. That afterburn ensures you’ll torch an extra 25 percent on top of the calories you burned while working out. 

Wait, don’t ditch that early morning run just yet. Cardio and strength training are both great for weight loss. In fact, cardio is still one of the best ways to win the battle with the scale. So what’s the solution? It depends on your fitness goals. Want to burn calories and lean out? Cardio is the way to go. If your main goal is to look and feel stronger, strength training is vital.

By using plyometric moves (exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time) you can get your heart racing while strength training. Not sure where to start? Check out these five bodyweight exercises to torch calories. 

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