What’s the difference between cardio and weights?
If your heart rate is up, then you’re doing cardio or cardiovascular exercise. Brisk walking, running, cycling, aerobics, Zumba, spinning – the different forms of cardio are almost endless. Ideal for improving general health and fitness, cardio is hugely beneficial for your heart and lungs, improves your sleep and circulation, reduces stress levels and increases your bone density too. What’s not to love?
Strength training (also known as weightlifting) helps your muscles become stronger and more powerful, either through picking up actual weights (deadlifts and squats) or through using your own bodyweight (pushups and lunges). Using weights helps to firm and sculpt your muscles while strengthening your bones and increasing your muscle tissue – so you won’t need help carrying your shopping anymore!
But really, what’s the difference?
Both forms of exercise have their place in a balanced training regimen. The difference between the two, however, comes in the kilojoule burn. While you’re doing cardio, on average you’re burning more kilojoules during an actual session. While you’re doing weights, however, you’re not only burning kilojoules during the session, you’re increasing your kilojoule expenditure after the session as well, allowing you to burn more energy for hours, and sometimes even days afterwards.
The reason? Weightlifting causes your muscle tissue to break down, which in turn requires energy, or kilojoules, to repair and rebuild. The more lean muscle tissue you build, the more kilojoules you ultimately burn, the more your metabolic rate increases, and the more fat you ultimately lose. Result.
We have a winner!
So there you go. Want to burn fat faster and get stronger at the same time? Pick up a set of weights! But while it’s true that lifting weights does help to get you leaner faster, that’s not to say you should eliminate cardio from your programme altogether. Doing cardio can help add interest to your weekly training plan and keep you from getting bored, plus it has proven health benefits too. What’s more, it’s been shown to produce a bigger endorphin boost at the end of a session, giving you that natural post-exercise high. So there’s no reason to cut out your weekly Zumba class just yet – and any kind of training you do is always better than sitting on the couch!
Fallen off the fitness wagon? Time to get back on! We show you how, here.