Cardio or weight training? It is the eternal question, and yet the answer is often a surprise to some. Why? Because the answer is “both…absolutely do both.” One is not actually better than the other, but when you do both you get the maximum rewards. As the experts at Healthline said, “A cardio workout burns more calories than a weight-training workout. However, your metabolism may stay elevated for longer after weights than cardio, and weight lifting is better for building muscle. Thus, the ideal exercise program for improving body composition and health includes cardio and weights.”
Now, reading that you may think, “Sure, that makes perfect sense.” Yet, at the same time you might also be sighing in frustration thinking to yourself, “How can I squeeze a cardio routine and a weight training session into my already busy schedule?” The good news is that you don’t have to do one or the other but can do both when you blend your cardio workouts with weights to shed pounds and fat faster.
The Way It Works
When you are doing cardio, you are asking your heart and lungs to work harder. It can burn up more calories faster if you run for an hour than, say, lifting weights for that same amount of time. As we learned above, though, you can burn calories longer after you stop exercising when you do weight training. The best combination, then, is to figure out a way to combine them, and this can be accomplished easily using things like ankle and wrist weights as you jog, cycle or even walk briskly.
Quite honestly, it can be as simple as that. Just find a set of graduated weights and start with the lesser among them – say the two to three-pound sizes. Do your workouts every other day wearing this extra weight and it is as if you are carrying more body weight. It is also creating resistance in the movement, and this develops muscle.
Think of lifting your arm above your head. Now, imagine lifting your arms over your head as you jog. NOW, picture doing all of that, but add the weight to each arm and leg. Adding two-pound weights means eight pounds more for the body to move plus the two pounds on each limb to create resistance that activates the muscle. That is a lot more work for the body and it is going to tap into stored fat for energy as it builds up the muscle.
As you may know, muscle requires a lot more energy than fat. That is why muscular people can eat so much more during the day and never gain weight. The muscle on the body wants that energy and boosts the metabolism to make them hungry and to get the fuel needed. When you start to build lean muscle mass on your body, it actually becomes much better at fat burning than ever before.
Does that mean you have to use the weights and have no other options? No, not at all. You can also do one of the many routines that involves the use of aerobic workouts with weight movements integrated into the mix. The famous “Walk Away the Pounds” routines, as an example, are done using weighted balls used during a vigorous cardio routine. It pairs movements meant to do a bit of spot toning with marching, walking, side steps and kicks to create a head to toe burn.
You can also do the popular HIIT workouts, or high intensity intervals training. These often pair body weight exercises like squats, jumps, mat work and cardio. In fact, if you are super eager to blast away fat and pounds, HIIT is the way to go. “Research has shown that HIIT-style workouts may burn about the same number of calories as traditional cardio, although this depends on the intensity of exercise.” And at the same time, you are enjoying those benefits, you are building up leaner muscle mass and enhancing strength.
Cardio on its own is good, cardio and weight training a few times each week are better, and cardio that uses weight training at the same time is best. It is super-efficient and great for burning up stored fat while it also helps to increase the metabolism and make the most of every workout.