Cardio vs Weights

There is often a misconception that cardio is needed to help you lose weight while weight training is required to only increase muscle mass.

We turned to, the world’s largest online fitness community with over 29 million unique visitors a month, to take a look at what each can bring to your fitness regime and outline how it balances with your own fitness goals.

When comparing weight training to cardio training we found that weight training is more effective at continuing to burn calories after your workout and contributes to a more toned body shape.

While cardio training helps you lose weight but is better as an aerobic exercise increasing your endurance and your overall cardiac health.


SHORT TERM CALORIE BURN shows that after a weight-training workout, (using equipment such as dumbbells or dead weights,) our metabolism can be boosted for up to 38 hours post-workout. This means that while you are watching TV, your body is still working burning off extra kilos over time.

With cardio training, (using equipment such as an elliptical cross trainer or an exercise bike), you have to work very hard and be doing it for a very long time to generate a high amount of post-calorie burn.

The only cardio workout that goes against this logic is sprinting as it creates the same effects with your metabolism as weight lifting. Again, you must be sprinting hard in order to see the benefits, which is something some people struggle with.


Unfortunately, not everyone is consistent with their workouts so short-term calorie burn is hard to maintain.

Weight training will enable you to build up a larger degree of lean muscle mass, which then basically serves as a calorie-burning powerhouse in the body.

Males will be able to generate between 1-2 pounds of pure muscle mass in a given month and females will get about half that, around 0.5-1 pound. Over time, though, with consistent effort, this will make you dramatically more resistant to weight gain as you grow older, making it extremely beneficial.


Another big benefit that weight training has over cardio training is that it will allow you to completely reshape your body.

When you are performing resistance training, while following a calorie-restricted diet, then you stand a better chance of losing strictly body fat, while helping to enhance the natural curves of your body.

Cardio training will generally help you lose weight, which is typically a combination of fat and muscle, so what you're left with is a smaller version of your current self.



If you do a longer cardio session, you could burn somewhere in the neighbourhood of 500-800 calories, depending on the exact length and intensity level. That is a fairly decent number and will definitely help with your fat-loss goals.

Since you must burn off 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound of body fat, if you do enough of these cardio sessions, and make sure you're keeping track of your macronutrient intake, weight loss will take place.


Cardio training has a bigger influence on cardiovascular health, since your heart and lungs work harder for longer when you do it.

Cardio training is considered an aerobic exercise which increases your endurance and your cardiac health and is made up of low to high intensity exercises performed for extended periods of time.

These exercises use the heart and lungs with more oxygen whilst getting you to breathe harder as well as your heart beating faster for more than ten minutes at a time.

Great examples of aerobic exercise are…

Going for a walk or jogging on a treadmill for a sustained period of time will get the heart pumping, as will swimming and cycling on a road bike or stationary bike.

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