Maybe you have heard a lot of people say they are going to lose some fat before they build some muscle. Maybe all you want to do is lift weights and stay as far away from the treadmill as much as possible because the people lifting look like they are having more fun. Either way, you just want to lose weight. Now, the easy answer is to say both of them have a purpose, which they do. But, which is better in the long term?
Cardio has many benefits other than losing weight. Cardio works your cardiovascular system which involves the heart and lungs which is pretty much your body’s engine. Having a stronger engine is always a great thing. However, even though the heart and lungs are stronger, cardio is limited to making other parts of the body stronger.
Lifting weights, or resistance training, offers a variety of different approaches. A person who strength trains can also reap the benefits of cardio by simply performing a variation of resistance training that gets their heart pumping and lungs burning. Certain variations include high intensity interval training (HIIT), metabolic training such as crossfit, or any kind of functional or sports condition training. These forms of training not only build wind power but help build muscle and strength too.
Another perk of weight lifting is in building more muscle, your body has more potential of burning fat. So, you are accomplishing two things at one time when lifting weights as opposed to primarily accomplishing one thing with cardio. And when a person does cardio, the body goes to muscle for energy which in return causes it to breakdown. This is to not say it does not get broken down when lifting weights either, but when a person does cardio, protein synthesis is not usually achievable which in return means no new muscle can be built. When we lift weights, we are promoting growth when we recover from our workout which leads to more muscle which in return leads to, that’s right, less fat.
Now a days, people are becoming keener to the whole-body composition approach as opposed to the number on the scale. The number does not tell you the whole story. Lifting weights puts the body in a more pleasing and aesthetic position with body fat being more minimal and muscle being more emphasized. Cardio on the other hand is just about losing weight which does not promote musculature or strength, just being smaller.
So, if you had to choose between lifting weights or cardio, grab a dumbbell and get lifting. You will get stronger, leaner, and more muscular and also work those lungs and heart all in the meanwhile.