Why should you Strength Train in addition to simply doing Cardiovascular exercise?
Updated: Jan 16
Written By Lilly McCown, Owner Live Pure Yoga and Fitness
At face value, weightlifting burns fewer calories than cardio, which means if you are calorie obsessed then you have found your winner. However, most people also want the next layer that extends beyond simply burning calories. At the end of the day, the goal of losing weight/fat is typically the foundation for retaining and building lean muscle tissue to obtain the body composition you desire. In addition to burning overall calories, it is important that those calories are coming from stored body fat rather than lean muscle tissue.
If you have a calorie counting device, you have probably noticed that more calories are burned during a cardio training session than a strength training session. However, once you have completed the cardio session you are more or less done burning. Weight training, specifically interval, circuit or compound movements will have a greater extended “after burn effect”; officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or simply EPOC.
When you lift weights, you are increasing muscle mass and the more muscle mass means your metabolism increases overtime. Cardiovascular training is effective in maintaining your mass at where you want it to be, however it is not more effective at burning fat as lifting and strength training are.
You also need to keep in mind that there is not a steadfast rule that says you can't do both. Combining weight training and cardio can help keep your workouts lively and interesting. In fact, switching up your workouts is a popular principle called “muscle confusion,” which is used to prevent stagnancy, and several fitness trainers swear by it for a wide array of fitness objectives. Keeping your workout routines fresh and new can be a great psychological help to keep you excited about your training sessions.
Whichever method you choose, the biggest factor is your diet and overall consistency. In order to lose weight you have to eat fewer calories than you burn off, creating a calorie deficit. Without both of these components your exercise routine will not count for much when it comes to losing weight/body fat and changing your body composition!