A Guide to Weights or Cardio for Weight Loss

22 March 2023

Ryan Pinto

My Muscle Chef Advanced Sports Dietitian

Looking to shed some unwanted pounds? There are two things you’ll need to do: follow a nutritional plan and get moving. While we can help you with the former and provide some workout guidance, it’s up to you to actually exercise! (If only we could do that for you too). There are two main types of exercise that you’ll want to incorporate into your routine: weight training and cardio. But which one is better for weight loss? Let’s get into it.

Weights and skipping rope

What is weight training?

Weight training, also known as resistance or strength training, involves using weights, machines, or other forms of resistance to work and load your muscles. Using weights puts stress (the good kind) on your muscles, which builds strength and endurance over time.

Weight training can include exercises including lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing Pilates on a reformer, or performing bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats.

What are the benefits of weight training for weight loss:

  • Increases muscle mass: When you lift weights, you build muscle. And here's the thing: muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest. By increasing your muscle mass, you can increase your resting metabolic rate, which means you'll burn more calories throughout the day. So basically, weight training helps you turn your body into a calorie-burning machine!

  • Improves body composition: As well as increasing muscle mass, weight training can help you lose fat and improve your body composition (the ratio of muscle to fat in your body). This will no doubt make you feel better both on the inside and out.

  • Boosts metabolism: As we touched on above, weight training can increase your resting metabolic rate. This means you'll burn more calories even when you're not actively working out. And who doesn't want to burn more calories without even trying?

What is cardio training?

Cardio training, often referred to as aerobic training, is about sustained exercises that increase your heart rate, breathing and blood flow; think running, cycling, swimming, rowing, or using a treadmill or stationary bike. The main difference between weight training and cardio is oxygen. During cardio training, your body relies heavily on your body’s ability to utilise oxygen, really testing your lungs, heart and circulatory system.

What are the benefits of cardio for weight loss?

  • Burns calories: Cardio training is a go-to way to burn calories and lose weight. The more intense the activity, the more calories you'll burn. An individual with an average body weight will burn approximately 100 calories every mile. See ya later, calories!

  • Improves cardiovascular health: Cardio training is also good for your heart and lungs. It helps to strengthen your cardiovascular system and improve your overall fitness level. Ultimately, doing cardio training will help you feel stronger and healthier!

  • Reduces stress: Cardio training has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. This can be especially beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight and may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed about the process. Who couldn't use a little free stress relief?

In summary

So, we’ve established that both weight training and cardio training are important for weight loss, but is one type of training better than the other? A combination of the two is likely going to be the most effective.

Weight training can help you build muscle and improve your body composition, while cardio training can help you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular health. By incorporating both types of training into your routine you can reap the benefits of both and achieve your weight loss goals.

Don’t forget, diet and nutrition play a key role in weight loss. Check out our Weight Loss Program to support your journey.

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