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There’s always a debate of what is best when it comes to fitness. On the nutrition side there are debates of plant based versus carnivore, high carb vs low carb, red meat is healthy vs not healthy and all I can see is no matter what is typed into pubmed or the google search engine there is something to support whatever thought some may have of the best worst is supported. Nutrition will not be mentioned outside of this paragraph and it is more of a disclaimer than anything that nutrition is the best way to lose weight. Which leads us to “For weight loss: Cardio or Weights?” There’s no suspense in this discussion they both work. Each provides different physiological effects and benefits to weight loss.
With cardio it really depends on body composition, lifestyle and how quickly weight loss is wanted to be achieved. Weights dictate is the person in it for the long haul. Then there’s the question as to if both are implemented how effective will weight loss be. As said above we really could argue all three positions to be true and I could not disagree with any argument so we will breakdown each and I will share my opinion on what we have done for clients. Most importantly it gives you the choice on what you think is best for you.
FOR WEIGHT LOSS: CARDIO OR WEIGHTS
As one of the biggest debates in fitness what should somebody do for weight loss: Cardio or weights? The right answer is to use both at the same time. Both have their place in weight loss but for the argument we will dive in as to which to do and the benefits of each. Cardio is great for short duration quick results that can get someone to their weight loss goals in a heartbeat. Weights are the long game that will pay dividends for long periods of time but in the short term will not give huge deficits. Weight loss is probably one of the most searched topics on google and there are many companies whom make money off being polarizing and drawing a line as to what is best. Let’s look at each and see why each is good and what their draw backs are.
Cardio is first and foremost great for the cardiovascular system. The heart and lungs benefit greatly from steady state cardio and can provide a healthy body weight. Now let’s look at what exercises can be used for cardio. Running, walking, cycling, use of elliptical, stair’s, rowing, swimming, skiing and I’m sure there are more I’m missing at the moment. Let’s classify traditional cardio as 20 minutes or more. With this type of cardio the main goals are heart and lung development while obtaining a calorie deficit. Doing multiple days per week will add up that calorie deficit and ultimately lead to weight loss if in a maintenance or cutting phase of diet. There’s no tissue being built with cardio meaning there is now added muscle mass. As weight comes off tissue selection is nonexistent.
To become more efficient with cardio the body will strip any weight it deems to take up too much energy. Furthermore the body will burn fat and muscle to become more efficient in the process. Ultimately weight loss will occur and the scale will have more favorable numbers week after week. Now onto who this benefits most. Anyone whom is obese this will benefit the most. At a point when someone has reached obesity we have to weigh pros and cons of quick weight loss to the long game. For those obese waiting doesn’t make sense as the body is being hurt fat in and day out so saving tissue is not the concern in the short term. While losing the weight at a slower rate may be more harmful to joints and organs. To lose massive amounts of weight we want as much of a calorie deficit as possible. So cardio is a must.
Weights have many purposes adding and maintaining contractile tissue, boost immune system, improve bone density, mobility, increase insulin sensitivity and increase metabolism. What weights do not do in the traditional lifting since is give large calorie deficits. What it can do though for weight loss purposes is give long term success. Long term success is achieved by increasing lean body mass which will increase basal metabolic rate. That is the number of calories that are burned at rest. This will give the calorie deficit desired day in and day out through the metabolism being improved. In this process tissue is selective with the body retaining muscle much easier and burning fat much more.
Who is this method for? If somebody is classified as overweight I would utilize this method as major calorie deficits are not needed as much as someone whom is obese. Steady weight loss over time is easier to sustain and maintain. Many times people lose the weight and gain it back because of hormones being out of control increasing hunger plus large chunks of weight loss are only healthy for six to twelve weeks. Weight loss must be done in periods and not continuous for sustainable results. Adding lean body tissue can be the best fat burner. This must be a long term mindset and know that adjustments must be made along the way. So many benefits come from long term weightlifting and to neglect it for quick weight loss may be a mistake. Weights bring a lot to the table and are an effective method for weight loss and more importantly fat loss with muscle retention.
If you’re losing weight do not replace either. There is room for both. Even if you are running low on time they are to important to overall health to disregard. Durations of each can be manipulated to fit lifestyle but implementing both at the same time can yield great results. When losing weight the rule is quickest way wins. Cardio will provide the deficit needed, while weights will help maintain muscle and keep metabolism alive. Bro science vs clinical science is on the same page with each other in this debate. Bodybuilder’s use both methods to get shredded the utilization of cardio and lifting helps retain their muscle while losing body fat. Clinical studies have shown these to be better used together as well. Through application this can be shown to work for anyone. Cardio can be as simple as walking and weightlifting can be as easy as utilizing machines. Incorporating both will yield significant results. My best advice is to find the duration that works for cardio in the schedule and on top of that hit the whole body twice a week with weights.
So many will argue for weight loss cardio or weights and which is better. There’s always a discussion as to why something is better than something else. In this argument so many will say cardio is better because it provides such a great calorie deficit then on the other side it will say long term weight lifting will boost your metabolism and help with fat loss and provide long term calorie burn relief. The real question is why compare the two. They are not the same. Not even close one is aerobic and one is anaerobic. One is more geared toward heart and lung work, while the other focuses on structure and function. Yes we are discussing them for weight loss and how they compare but really this question is asked to create polarizing ideas and for those individuals to profit off of selling somebody half of the puzzle. Do not pick one or the other. Pick both and have balance within your program. This argument is strictly one of profits not of what is best for the person trying to lose weight. Find what fit’s your lifestyle and stick with that.