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Scott Keppel: Cardio vs Weight Training

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It’s the New Year and you have decided that you are going to finally lose the weight and be “fit” this year. Good for you! But how do you do it? Should you do cardio? Should you lift? Or is it both? These are questions that I am asked on a daily basis from individuals looking to lose weight and keep it off.

Most individuals have a hard time getting into a gym let alone making the time to lift, stretch, do cardio, etc. That said, if your are limited with time what should you do when you do make it in? If your goal is immediate weight loss, cardio is your best bet. You will burn more calories in a cardio session than you will during a resistance training workout. A 155-pound individual can burn over 1,100 calories running in an hour while vigorous weightlifting for an hour will burn 422 calories. Comparing the numbers one can easily see that if you need to drop weight soon cardio along with healthy eating is the way to go.

Now if we are talking about a lifestyle change and what is best to keep weight off -- the winner is weight lifting with aerobic activity incorporated throughout the workout.

Cardio is great for the cardiovascular system and burning calories while doing the particular activity. However the metabolism will not stay elevated for days to come once you are done. Lifting however builds lean mass and the more lean muscle you have you the more calories you burn. One pound of fat burns approximately 8 calories a day. A lb of muscle burns 20-100 calories a day. By placing greater stress on the body then it is accustomed to by adding resistance training the body must adapt and build more lean muscle. So if you want the weight to come off and stay off and you can only lift or do cardio, I recommend you to lift weights and throughout the workout incorporate cardio as active recovery to help keep the heart rate elevated. This can be done by doing jumping jacks, jump rope, getting on a piece of cardio equipment, etc…


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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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