Weightlifting Or Cardio: How To Know Which One Is Best For You

Every one craves to shred some extra fat from their body, but the most confusing decision is to decide whether to go for the cardio exercises or weight lifting.


There are numerous studies about weight loss and the relevant theories.


Most of these theories propound that cardio exercises are the best to lose some extra pounds.


Anyone who wants to lose weight, gain muscle mass, or simply desires a healthier body needs to choose the best option between weightlifting and cardio.


Differences Between Weightlifting And Cardio


Cardio and weightlifting are the two types of workouts that differ in intensity, duration, and the sets of muscles that they activate. They also produce energy by burning calories in entirely different ways.




Cardio exercise is an aerobic activity. It elevates breathing rate, burns calories rapidly, and enhances overall endurance. Cardio includes cycling, jogging, dancing, running, and swimming. It generally has less prolonged after-effects on muscle gain and metabolism than lifting weights. It also has long-lasting effects on the cardiovascular system.


The number of calories you burn during exercise depends on your body size and how intensely you exercise. Typically, a cardio workout burns more calories than a weight training workout of the same duration. (Tinsley, 2017)




Weightlifting is an anaerobic activity. It involves intense physical activity for a short duration that breaks glucose from the body to produce energy without depending on oxygen.



Back In Motion Client: Barbara lifting 100 lbs at 70 years young!


Weightlifting includes using weight machines and free weights like barbells, kettlebells, and dumbbells. Lifting weights helps people to gain muscle mass, which speeds up metabolism and burns more fat in the long term.


*Lifting the weights usually leads to higher EPOC “Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption” and thus, the body keeps burning calories even after completing a weightlifting workout.


There are ample scientific reports that weightlifting for 15 minutes a day will lead to a better metabolic system, increase in stamina, and muscle flexibility.


Weight training may improve your metabolism over time, although the changes aren't huge. Also, weight training is typically more effective than cardio at increasing the number of calories you burn after a workout. (Tinsley, 2017)


Important Point To Understand


In both types of workouts, the following principles are to be implemented:


Stimulation Of Muscles


While performing any exercise, we must stimulate the muscles by doing a little more every time. This can be done by increasing reps, weights, or maybe distance in case of running/jogging.




The body gets used to doing what it is put through. It adapts to the stimulus it experiences




Recovery is the most critical factor both in muscle gain and weight loss. Early recovery of muscles can be made through proper sleep, rest, pre and post-workout meals.


  • Regularity and consistency are the keys to achieve any goal. Performing a heavy workout once in a few months doesn't reap any results.
  • Take warmup exercises seriously. Even before starting a workout session, one needs to prepare the body for upcoming tasks. When your body warms up nicely, only then will you be able to justify the kick start of your session.
  • Do not get overwhelmed by watching others. Do not challenge yourself with difficulties instead, gradually increase reps, weights, and speed.
  • Rest for 30 seconds in between strenuous workouts. Do not push yourself over the edge. Too much stress on your muscles could lead to your falling ill.
  • Gradually move to heavier weight. Correct your posture and form, and this will build up your strength.
  • Acclimatize first. Keep your body hydrated. Keep drinking water in hot and humid climates.
  • Try recognizing the signs of your body. If you feel dizzy, nausea or exhausted, do not push further. Stay back and stretch to finish your workout for the day.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Wearing excessively tight clothes will only make your session difficult.
  • Cooling down the body is no joke. Take time to stretch. After the session, cool down your body in a gradual manner.




It is quite evident from above that both types of workouts have their own benefits. As cardio uses an aerobic pattern, it burns more calories and has fewer after-effects. On the other hand, weight lifting burns fewer calories during the workout, but it has much more after-burn than cardio exercises.


Cardio is more effective than weight training at decreasing body fat if you do more than 150 minutes per week. Weight training is better than cardio for building muscle. A combination of cardio and weights may be best for improving your body composition. (Tinsley, 2017)


Therefore, if you want to lose weight and gain mass and strength, both types of workouts need to be incorporated into your workout plan. It is highly recommended to consult your physical therapist and personal trainer to get the right workout regime drafted.




Tinsley, G. (2017, Oct 24). Cardio vs Weight Lifting: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

About the Author: Harminder

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