Weightlifting vs. Cardio

Posted: January 31, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Encouragement
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I talked about some things you could do to exercise in this blog post. I thought today I would take a moment and talk about the differences between Cardio and Weightlifting. They are both extremely important for your fitness levels, and regardless of whatever your fitness goal is, you should try to incorporate both into your exercise regime.

Cardio Exercise

Some good examples of machines that specialize in cardio exercise.

Some good examples of machines that specialize in cardio exercise.

Cardio exercise is often thought of as what people do when their primary focus is losing weight. To a certain extent, that is true. Cardio work is the best way to burn calories, but that isn’t the only thing it is used for. Remember, cardio is short for cardiovascular. What cardio does is get your heart pumping at a higher velocity than it normally would. This is what causes you to burn calories. In the process, it strengthens your heart. You can be the model of perfect health, but you still need to incorporate cardio exercise into your daily workout routine to keep your heart strong.

But what if you only want to gain muscle, will cardio work make you lose weight? It might, but that goes back to eating the proper amount of calories based on whatever you are trying to accomplish. If you are happy with your weight and simply trying to convert fat into muscle, then make sure you are eating enough calories to balance out the calories that you burn.

Cardio is a great way to lose weight, but it is so much more than a weight loss tool. EVERYONE needs cardiovascular exercise to maintain a level of good health. If you haven’t started, I would suggest you start incorporating into your workouts as soon as possible.


Building muscle is the best way to burn fat.

Building muscle is the best way to burn fat.

Many people think weightlifting is only for people who want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. And just like those who think cardio is only for people who want to lose weight, this is also not correct. The most efficient part of your body that burns fat is muscle. You can lose weight without lifting any weights, but it will take longer, and I don’t believe you will be real happy with how your body looks after you hit your goal weight. If that happens, you might be tempted to lose even more which could put you at an unhealthy weight because you don’t weigh enough.

How much weight should you lift? That is where it gets a little bit more complicated. You need to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish first. Everyone should push themselves when lifting so that it is a struggle to get the last two or three reps in before you stop. If you want to stay thin and lean, go for a weight that you can get around 12 reps in per set. If you are trying to put on a lot of muscle, up it to a point where you can only get in about  8 reps per set. The difference in weight is substantial. You’ll find that it would differ by 10 to 15 pounds.

If you are trying to lose weight and have heard that you don’t burn too many calories by weightlifting, there is some truth to that. You can still burn calories with weightlifting. If you want to see the calories fly off, make sure you take as little time as possible between movements. If you can keep it to less than a minute between movements, you are going to burn calories and a lot of them.

How I Do It

I hate cardio and love weight lifting. Even though I hate it, I still do cardio though. One of the nice things about the current program I am on, Insanity, it kind of combines the two. You burn lots of calories while working some key muscle groups at the same time. Weightlifting I enjoy because those results are sometimes more visible, at least on my arms it’s more visible. I also like the added strength I get from doing it.

Whatever your goals are, make sure you are doing both. There is a lot of different ways you can go about getting both your weightlifting and cardio work done, just make sure that you make it a priority to do each of them. The results will surprise you if you haven’t done that up until now. Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all of your fitness dreams come true!



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