Healthy Living

Cardio Vs Weights: Which one is right for me?

Jeannette Jackson

Knowing how to balance cardio with weight training can be one of the most challenging aspects of planning your own fitness regime. Some of us just want to lose the pounds, setting our own personal weight loss goals. Some of us want to tone up, creating a defined body, with lean muscles and a slender physique. As for others, they focus on body building, aiming to strength train and sculpt their bodies.

The question on everyone’s lips, and more so for women, is “Should I start with cardio or weights?” The answer varies. Most people hear that cardio burns more calories than weight training, and in a shorter amount of time. When women looking for a transformation hear this, they will easily focus all their efforts on cardio, and dismiss weights altogether.

In actual fact, both of these workout techniques benefit all of the above, it just depends on what you personally want to achieve. Weight training has added benefits for your body that cardio alone simply won’t accomplish.

A cardio regime usually means a lot of high intensity workouts, a lot of sweating, and a lot of stamina building. It’s true when they say cardio helps burn more fat and calories in a shorter space of time than weights. Not only does cardio help to burn, it boosts the metabolism and improves lung capacity too. However, whilst activities such as aerobics, biking or running work wonders for weight loss, weight training should be added. Although high intensity workouts may burn more calories per minute, weight training continues to burn calories even after your workout, which is why the two work brilliantly hand in hand.

With cardio, you lose all types of muscle mass. With resistance training, you lose fat. Losing muscle mass may make you appear lighter on the scales, but what this doesn’t give you is that dream body shape you are longing for. Toned arms, defined abs and leaner looking legs are all created with a little help from weight training.

If losing weight is your overall goal, we suggest looking at spending the majority of your time working on high intensity exercises, before finishing off with a little light weight training. Cardio is the best stepping stone for improving your fitness and kicking those calories, and weights finish this off perfectly to then focus on toning up.

If general body conditioning is your overall aim, along with muscle maintenance and improved strength, then focusing more on weight resistance training is recommended. It is beneficial to lift heavier weights in lower reps to increase muscle size, and to look to using lighter weights with more reps to tone up. The great thing with toning and muscle building is that you can even do these workouts from your own home if you’re not really encouraged to join a gym. There are plenty of workout videos on the internet you can simply watch from your living room.

A great way to start is to dedicate 3 days a week to cardio, and 2 days to weights – or vice versa. This way your whole body reaps the rewards from a full body workout. Weights can help isolate certain muscles and body parts, yet cardio will assist with an all over fat burn.

The key is to make sure one complements the other, training is all about balance. Just remember to keep in mind your personal goals, implementing a training program which uses both. Good luck!

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