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Cardio vs Strength Training: Which burns more fat?

Updated on March 1, 2007

I'll be the first to tell you I love strength training, I love feeling strong and I love the look of sleek muscles. Strength training is important, it builds muscles which prevent injury and keep our bodies healthy. The problem is, strength training has been vastly oversold as a metabolism-boosting calorie burner. It's time for a reality check.

Metabolism 101

Our metabolism is the key to burning fat. To lose weight we need to increase our total calorie burn. To increase our total calorie burn we need to increase one (or more) of the following:

Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, which is essentially the calories you burn at rest. Your BMR is important because it makes up a large percentage of total calorie burn, but unfortunately you can't do much to increase (or decrease) it. Your BMR is mostly determined by your genetic makeup and body weight. The only way to really boost your BMR is to gain a large amount of weight (quite counter productive for our reasons).

Your physical-activity energy expenditure, which is all the activity you do in a day. This not only includes all of your workouts, but also walking your dog, doing the dishes, climbing the stairs, even brushing your teeth- any time your body is active it is adding to your physical-activity energy expenditure. Your physical-activity energy expenditure is the most important part of your total calorie burn because it is the part you can do the most about, all you have to do to increase it is to get up and move!

Your thermic effect of feeding, which is the energy your body expends while digesting food. Your thermis effect of feeding is generally about 10 percent of your daily calorie burn. However this number can be increased by eating small meals several times a day rather than just a few large meals. Stimulating foods such as green tea and chili peppers can also speed your thermic effect of feeding.

Your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which is the extra calories you burn after exercise. Your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is also known as the "afterburn". The amount of calories you burn post-workout will depend on the type of your workout, if you heart rate is increased during your workout and stay increased your will burn more.

Why Strength Training doesn't burn

The theory behind strength training burning more than cardio comes from the idea that one pound of muscle uses more calories per day than one pound fat does, while this is true, it is not enough to trim you down. Take a look at the numbers:

  • 182 calories are burned per day for each pound of kidney your body houses.
  • 110 calories are burned per day for each pound of brain that your body houses.
  • 6 calories are burned per day for each pound of muscle that your body houses.
  • 2 calories are burned per day for each pound of fat that your body houses.

During strength training you burn less calories, and the additional calories you burn due to the gain in muscle in your body is barely enough to make a difference, your time would be much better spend doing cardio where you would burn more calories during the workout (and less after).

Why Cardio does burn

If you're interested in boosting your metabolism to lose weight, aerobic training such as running and walking is a better investment than strength training. All you need to do is look at the numbers to see why:

40 minutes of moderate cardio (running 8:30 pace) vs. 40 minutes of moderate strength training-

Cardio: 522 calories burned during the activity, 30 calories burned in afterburn, 0 calories burned from gained muscle

Strength Training: approximately 136 calories burned during the activity, 20 calories burned in afterburn, 30 calories burned from gained muscle

Cardio leads by 366 calories.

So there it is, if you want to burn more fat do more cardio, the numbers are simple. However, I won't necessarily replace all strength training with cardio, it is good to have a mix of both-this way you will burn fat and build muscle which will keep you strong and healthy and prevent against injury, not to mention provide you with sleek and sexy muscles. It is also important to keep diet in mind, exercise alone won't do it (and neither will diet alone). You need to focus on creating a diet and exercise plan and sticking to it!


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  • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

    Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

    I like this Hub. I once had a roommate who told me, quite matter of factly, that if you only have time for one kind of exercise, do strength training because it will burn more calories in the long run than cardio. I have since learned that isn't true, so kudos for spreading the word. I definitely do more cardio than strength training, but know that strength training is also very important for overall health.

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    Spree 9 years ago

    My program 4 times a week is 30minutes cardio then an hour or so of strenght training. After lifting some weights, i will finish the program with a 5minute walk on the thread then staying in the sauna for around 10minutes before taking a bath. Thanks for this information.

  • profile image

    James D 9 years ago

    Putting the numbers down and calculating the calories burned makes it sound like it works but where are the numbers coming from?

    I know from my own experiences that after a good strength building work out of about 30-45 minutes coupled with about 15 minutes of basketball that my muscles are in repair/build mode for at least a good couple of days. Which to me means more than "30 calories burned from gained muscle".

    On face value, without a study cited or a book (with studies cited)... cited this article is retardulous.

    When I miss a week or so from my workouts my whole body will ache for two to three days after I start back up. And at night I can feel my metabolism working over time my body gets really warm... I mean way more warm than usual. I'll wake up hot when usually I don't. That's just what I've experienced, though what the hell do I know.

    My point here is that I need proof and that comes from A. scientific studies (not anecdotal ones, which my experiences are by the way) or B. physical proof... meaning the person who wrote this article has gotten others to lose fat as easily as they could (assuming that the author has little fat).

    Whatever you think of what I wrote about this article, it does conclude well: "You need to focus on creating a diet and exercise plan and sticking to it!"

    .... that says it all.

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    Jenny 9 years ago

    I've found that I look slimmer now that I'm only jogging/walking 3-4 miles a day as opposed to when I used to take Kickboxing and Weights classes. I thought building muscle would be better and don't get me wrong, I loved the toned abs and arms I had, but my size was still the same! I wanted to get a slimmer body, not a big hard body. So I've cut down on my weights and I go jogging every morning instead. This is working out a lot better for me.

    I think it really just depends on the body type. I'm sure what works for me won't work for everyone.

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    jonnny 9 years ago

    Well, I think you're wrong. Go to the gym. You will see at least two type of people: the skinny-fat ones walking one the threadmill, doing aerobic classes or cycling, and the big, muscular and lean ones, lifting heavy-ass weight. Some of them are not that lean, but most of them are. Your metabolism will also increase significantly more than you mentioned, both due to muscle gain and EPOC (excess post workout oxygen consumption).

    I do both running and weightlifting, and in periods where I lift more(and do some sprinting), eat more and do less cardio, I am actually leaner and more defined than when Im doing a lot of cardio. Research has also shown that people who do weightlifting and short anaerobic interval training lose more fat than those doing traditional cardio.

    Who has the best fat to muscle ratio of a sprinter, low weightclass weightlifter or a pole waulter compared to a 5k runner or a tour de france cyclist?

    Read this article which actually contains research and sources, in contradiction to yours which only makes guesses and takes "facts" from nowhere.

  • profile image

    Shoua 9 years ago

    Notice how the author has (and less after) in parenthensis following the statement, "your time would be much better spend doing cardio where you would burn more calories during the workout". People burn most of their calories throughout the day while they're doing their daily activities, not during their 1-2 hours of workout. Strength training has been shown to produce the greatest EPOC which is something we benefit from after our workouts so wouldn't it make since to make strength training more of a priority in your exercise routine if your goal is to have an increase metabolism.

    Here is a study on strength training and cardio training in regards to EPOC:

    Elliot et al. (1988) investigated the difference in EPOC between aerobic cycling (40 minutes at 80% heart rate max), circuit training (4 sets, 8 exercises, 15 reps at 50% 1RM) and heavy resistance training (3 sets, 8 exercises, 3-8 reps at 80-90% 1RM). Heavy resistance training produced the greatest EPOC (10.6 liters, 53 calories) compared with circuit training (10.2 liters, 51 calories) and cycling (6.7 liters, 33.5 calories). In a similar study by Gilette et al. (1994), resistance training (5 sets, 10 exercises, 8-12 reps at 70% 1RM) elicited a significantly greater EPOC response when compared to aerobic exercise (50% VO2 max for 60 minutes)

    Full research article can be found here:

  • profile image

    Mike 9 years ago,7120,s6-242-...

    Am I missing something or is this just copied from an article in Runner's World?

  • starrwriter profile image

    starrwriter 9 years ago from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

    Hey K,

    Thanks for the information. I find as I get older and I think wiser that the cardio is definitely better. I look forward to reading more of your work. I have a piece at my starrwriter hub on the health benefits of taking time out to relax. Check it out at starrwriter when you get a chance. Have a great week.


  • stevemark122000 profile image

    stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

    Both Cardio and strenth training and Cardio have different benefits, but Cardio is definitely the key to losing those pounds. Great job.

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    Marjie 9 years ago

    I disagree totally, this is flawed logic to say that "If you're interested in boosting your metabolism to lose weight, aerobic training such as running and walking is a better investment than strength training." We know that strength training is absolutely the number one muscle building exercise. Aerobic training on the other hand in the number one muscle WASTING exercise. The less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn, period. Another point: As is stated, muscle burns 3 times more calories than fat (1 pound muscle = 6 cal burned per day). The average persons body is at least 50% muscle, meaning that a person who weighs 150 pounds has approx 75 pounds of muscle, therefore burns 75 x 6 = 450 cal., a significant amount of calories! Add exercise designed to build even more muscle (strength training, not cardio) and you not only continue to burn more calories, but unlike burn more 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The author of this blog needs to go back and do his homework!!

  • ninaredza profile image

    ninaredza 9 years ago from Malaysia

    I think it's important to do what you love. This ensures you will actually DO it. I believe both cardio and strength training will give you the best results in terms fat burning and muscle building. So do both, guys!

  • doncarlin profile image

    doncarlin 9 years ago from Tempe Arizona

    In my view, this is not an either/or case. Both cardio and strength can and should be done. Weights builds muscles which over time increases total daily energy expenditure. At the same time, weight training also causes issues with blood vessels; post weight cardio mitigates these effects. And how can anyone disagree that having a healthy, strong health is not essential to fitness, regardless of what their goals are?

    What it comes down to is where you are compared to where you want to be in terms of body fat comp. A person with low body fat would not need to do as much cardio compared to someone with 20%, 30%, or more body fat comp. Interestingly, in all the major bodybuilding magazines, I read that many of the top bodybuilders regard cardio as very essential to their training regimen.

  • profile image

    fitnessCSCS 8 years ago

    The Author needs to check his/her sources.

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    Renee Bryant 8 years ago

    I love cardio exercises because I notices muscles are more relaxed. I seem to be able to work out longer than strengh training. I also seem to sleep more comfortably all night. My motivation level is so high to exercise now. I can't wait until I finish my shift at work. I am eager to go to a nearby ymca. The cardio section is my third home comparing to my townhouse,and my job!

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    Kia79 8 years ago

    This article is a joke. Women are made to believe they should look like models who aren’t healthy at all without any muscle or definition. The muscular definition which actually supports you through your day to day movements.YOU NEED BOTH CARDIO and STRENGTH TRAINING WITHOUT A DOUBT! HOW MAN MILLIONS OF STUDIES HAVE TO BE DONE ON THE SUBJECT FOR ONE TO Appreciate THIS BASIC CONCEPT! WHICH I GUESS IS NOT THAT BASIC FOR SOME.I am so sorry I happened upon this clearly un educated post. Burning calories is not the end all be all to weight loss you can cut what you eat and lose weight and look like a lose bag of skin if that is your objective but I don't know many people who set out to accomplish looking 10-15 years older than they are. there and learn. Hopefully you will gain a deeper understanding of what it is your body needs and why.WOMEN ARE HELD BACK BY OTHER UN EDUCATED WOMEN WHO PUSH BAD INFO AND STEROTYPES! Beyonce, Gwen Stephani, Janet Jackson, Halle Barry and a Whole host of other amazing bodies all do cardio and intense weight lifting workouts. If you want to truly change your body embrace a complete system, cardio, strength and proper nutrition to achieve it.Sorry for being so hard but after talking about this with my dingbat friend all am I am a little flustered.

    Oh while you at it go to and look at the before and after pictures of thousands of people.

    You can always tell the people who use cardio to lose weight without strength training they always look loose and soft flabby like. I have proven this to quite a few of my friends using weight loss magazines and articles.

    All I know is Firm denotes youth and flabby does flabby and soft to age.

  • profile image

    nclifter 8 years ago

    Kia hit the nail on the head. If you wanna look like Richard Simmons do just cardio.

    You will basically be a skinny fat person you will be thin but have no shape and flabby skin. You have to build muscle by weight training! You have to do cardio to be fit and also you have to eat right. All 3 components!!!!!

    That's the formula leave out a component and you will not look your best!

  • profile image

    Allerious 8 years ago

    The article is wrong.

    Go look up EPOC and you will see that high intensity training results in a prolonged afterburn effect following exercise.

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    strawrose 8 years ago

    You need strength training because of the protein you burn during cardio. You burn glucose, fat and protein. If you don't do strength training, it's likely that your muscle mass will decrease. If you look toned, isn't that also better? ;)

  • profile image

    GLORY 8 years ago

    I like your hub.Strength training is essential for fitness ,but other forms of exercises are also must as per requirement.

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    josh 8 years ago

    you are wrong yes cardio burns more calories but not after a work out weight lifting burns calories during and after exersices i my self was over weight by 100 lbs and i ran and ran and only lost 20 lbs in 2 months then i tried weight lifting that by far blew cardio out of the water i lost 45lbs in 2 months do the math there. that after burn u feel meens ur still burning calories plus the more muscle u gain the higher ur resting metabolism is trust me

  • profile image

    newcapo 8 years ago

    Great job on this hub. I learned a lot--thanks !

  • profile image

    Nick M. 8 years ago

    This article is atrocious!

    The amount of calories burned after a weight training session is relative to WHAT weight training routine you've just finished.

    Do your "numbers" express which calories are being burned during cardio? Is it fat? Sugar? Protein?

    Being able to be an effective fat burning machine with an increased RMR can only be achieved with an appropriate level of lean body mass! Your cardio article is doing more harm than good.

  • profile image

    Eric  8 years ago

    i want to see some scientific backing to this. This article is funny. Ever looked at metabolic rate during exercise. Your after burn calculations, where did you get those? This article should be burned, as a matter of fact my screen almost cracked reading this. what are your certs and training experience?

    Eric Magarov

    Advanced Fitness Studios, lead trainer


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    Ryan Johnson 8 years ago

    This is a completely ridiculous article. Cardio might burn more fat at the time of the exercise but it can also eat away muscle after it goes through the fat. With strength training and good protein to carb diet you will build muscle and lose fat even hours after you're done with your strength training workout. Now I think cardio training is important but it should not be the main focus, nothing makes you feel better than taking a bike ride or a jog, it clears the mind and makes you generally feel good. Around 95 percent of my workouts consist of strength training/powerlifting, i throw in cardio here and there to clear my head. I have 6 percent body fat and am in great health. Personally to me strength training is where its at, but if you can't stand the thought of lifting weights then get out there and ride a bike its better than sitting on the computer and reading this stupid article.

  • profile image

    Noggins 8 years ago

    Now that the author of this article understands they were taking rubbish wouldn't it be best to delete it?

  • TaylorRyan profile image

    TaylorRyan 8 years ago from Charleston, SC

    hummm... what about the fact that strength training increases your metabolism for up to 24 hours post workout? Sure cardio burns more during but when it comes to fat burn... and not being "skinny fat" strength training is vital. Of course even better is a workout program that combines both cardio and strength training for ultimate fat burn

  • profile image

    Fred Martin 8 years ago

    There is the hunger issue. My experience is that weight work makes me much hungrier than cardio. So with the latter I can burn calories without the urge to replace them at the rate I would after intense muscle use. For weight loss, cardio wins.

  • profile image

    klinton 8 years ago

    this article is crap. strength training will continue to burn more the better u get at it. week 1 will burn a certain amount but imagine week 32!! ull turn into a carlorie burning machine!!

    cardio training will actually decrease metabolism.

  • profile image

    ocho 8 years ago

    this article is rediculous, unsupported, and inaccurate.

    multiple studies (look on any credible research based website-something that ends in .org, or a journal) show that resistance training and interval training (high intensity mixed with short rest periods) are far superior to Cardio for losing weight, especially fat weight.

    This article must have been written by someone with terrible knowledge of exercise physiology, or a treadmill salesperson

  • profile image

    yorztif 7 years ago

    who ever wrote this actical needs to stop. you are a fool

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    me  7 years ago

    Being BIG does not look nice and there is nothing SEXY ABOUT IT... i don't care what condition u are in. Stop making excuses why your looking like this and do something about it. Small changes can make a big difference in your life. Noone has to look like a celebrity, but get yourself down to a healthier weight by joining a gym, riding a bike or get some exercise home videos.

    Losing weight is a very difficult thing for some people, and i understand that, but you must be content and make daily exercise apart of your life, just like washing your ass or brushing your teeth every single morning. This is very important to your health if you gave a damn about yourself.

    Its easy to do bad... and hard to do good. That's the way of life. A good cardio exercise and good eating habits along with strength training for your upper and lower body to give it some definition will help you.

    YOU MUST DO STRENGTH TRAINING to be strong. Your body will have more definition to it .. be more lean.. sculpt...and sexy..your metaboliz.. will be sky high and your body like a calorie burning machines with that lean muscle.

    Cardio is good for a piece of mind i think and slimming. If you are overweight Cardio does help to slim you down a bit, but also you want some muscle TONE to keep the body lean in the process of losing the weight. YOU DO NOT WANT A FLABBY BODY. I REPEAT YOU DO NOT WANT A SLOPPY FLABBY BODY... SO DO YOUR GOT DARN WEIGHT TRAINING. IT WILL BE ALL WORTH IT IN THE END.. CHECK OUT ANGELA BASSETT.. PERFECT EXAMPLE...

  • profile image

    aida 7 years ago

    This article is ridiculous. For years I was just running and working out on treadmills etc. However, at that time I didn't incorporate strength training. I was weak, skinny fat. Meaning I was thin, but fat underneath. If you don't build muscle you have fat. You have two options. You can have muscle underneath your skin or fat. Yeah, cardio is important for immidiate fat loss, but for the long haul strenght training and proper diet and incorporating cardio is the most important.

  • profile image

    Steve Long 7 years ago

    Was this article written by Ally McBeal or a marathon runner? It has to be one or the other. I've been a trainer for 5 years and have done massive amounts of research and real life application. Strength training is more beneficial than steady state cardio. And whoever is doing strength training workouts that only burn 136 calories needs to speed it up A lot. I have a revolutionary idea, its called cross training.

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    Jessica Jordan 7 years ago

    I am trying to understand why someone would ever write an article about something they do not completely understand. I can list a few reasons why Weight Training BEATS Cardio any-day!

    1) cardio burns muscle after about 20 mins of moderate to hard intensities, which will decrease your basal metabolic rate.

    2) the after burn of cardio only lasts about 30 minutes after the activity, whereas, the after burn of weight training last about 24-72 hours (depending on the person) this is the period when your body is repairing itself through rest. By this ALONE weight training is much more beneficial for burning fat.

    3) NOT TO MENTION --- a pound of lean muscle mass burns 30-40 cals a day and Fat is at about 8-10 cals a day. SO, if you are weight training and building muscle you will increase you basal metabolic rate.

    CARDIO is great, but in ADDITION to weight training. If you only have time for one --- CHOOSE THE IRON!!!


    Jessica Jordan

    Owner of

    B.S. Kinesiology : Exercise Science

  • profile image

    Jackie 7 years ago

    I do both. I can't see how one can achieve complete fitness without both. I strength train to improve my overall condition and I do cardio mainly for my heart and lungs. I surf and you need to be strong and fit for that. I'm not a trainer or a doctor but I know this is what works best for me.

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    Gabby 7 years ago

    This claim about Cv activity being better than RT is absolute non sence. RT increase metobloic rate better in the long term providing better oportunites for weight loss maintenace and over all muscluar strength. Also if more Kcal is needed to be burnt why don't you try plyometric strength training or weight bearing circit training this incorporates CV fitness at the same time. This type of work out will beat the treadmill or a stroll down the street any time. So keep pumping iron. In health Gabrielle Accredited sports scientist and Dietician

  • FirstStepsFitness profile image

    FirstStepsFitness 7 years ago

    Wow alot of input on this one ! I would like to state one fact .

    Muscle requires more calories to maintain it . It requires more not only in use but when resting . There fore your body burns more not doing a thing if you have high muscle mass .

    Muscle is also leaner . Firmer ....tighter .

    Women do need a complete workout plan ...if they lift weights they will NOT look like a body builder . They will look firmer , tighter and toned .A complete plan is strength training , flexability training , cardio training , functional training and balance training .;)

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    Deborrah Cooper 7 years ago

    The truth is that even though cardio burns more calories while you are doing the actual exercise, strength training with weights is the better long-term value. Why? Because strength training not only increases metabolically active (meaning it burns fat and calories) lean muscle tissue, strength training increases metabolic burn for HOURS after you have exercised.

    So in the long run, strength training is the best option for increased muscularity, muscle toning, fat burning and utilization of glycogen (the sugar that food turns into after being eaten that the body uses for energy).

    The author is half right but left out vital information.


    Master Fitness Trainer

    Deborrah Cooper

  • profile image

    Troy 7 years ago

    I don't know about aerobics but I have never seen a heavy runner but I have seen heavy weight lifter. I am talking about people from both groups that have been doing them for years.

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    Lily 7 years ago

    Either things have changed within the past two years of this article or the writer doesn't know much. Cardio does help, but not as much as strength training. When you are weight lifting, you burn more calories and even after you stop working out; they burn for another 36 hours and on top of that.. You are gaining muscles and your body will be more tone and slim. Unlike cardio, you stop burning calories when you stop cardio. Yes, it does help you slim down, but I say you need strenght training as well. Eating healthy is definitely a must!

  • profile image

    Eric 7 years ago

    Not sure why all the heat on this, except most seems to be from Personal Trainers who have a vested interest in weight loss through weight lifting rather then cardio. I mean do you really need a personal trainer to tell you to get on a treadmill? Lot's of calls for research supporting this but didn't see any refutations other then "In my experience..." or "Everyone knows....". As for other research, all the research I have read shows moderate benefits to cardio, and many of the research to the contrary is a misunderstanding of what the conclusion actually states (e.g. EPOC findings directly contradict many of the things cited here with actual EPOC benefit being on the order of 30 minutes). Best thing is to actually read the conclusions of the researcher without bias and not reading the headlines first (as they are often wrong). Use Google Scholar instead of Google to find your source data.

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    alexis 7 years ago

    I agree cardio is important for calorie burn. On the other hand not everyone can run @ an 8.3 pace for such a long time. Cardio should be recognized to keep your heart strong. Strength training is def.important because if you don't use it you lose it.The key is reducing calories combined with cardio/strength training. One pound of fat is equal to 3500 cal. Reducing 500 cal/day just from food alone can burn 1lb. of fat a week. Add cardio & strength training will burn additional calories. This person's info. is not very realistic.Gradual small steps to add eveyday is better. Cardio is a great start but combined with eveything else is more ergogenic! www.SmallStep.Gov is a good place to visit for little ways to incorporate better health into your life without realizing it.

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    Steve 7 years ago

    I agree with many of the posters about how flawed this logic is. I've been doing distance running for years, have a 17:30 5k PR and a 1:24 1/2 marathon PR, so I've done the whole distance thing. The problem with cardio, is it doesn't cause the body to produce nearly as much HGH (Human Growth Hormone) as strength training, which has been show to rip through fat as well as slow the effects of aging. Strength training produces 8x the HGH of cardio. I'm not saying cardio is bad, I still love to run, but for maximum well being, one should strive to do both.

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    Anya e 7 years ago

    This could be the worst article that ive ever read

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    Chris 7 years ago

    Although you are correct on some points, there is a lot missing from your debate. I agree that cardio burns more calories over the same time period, provided it is reasonably intense. This is obvious because it is a continuous activity and there is more time spent active during cardio than for strength training.

    There are a few holes though. What you provided here is only half a story. I will spare everyone the science in my comment, but I will say that in the grand scheme of things over time you will burn more fat through a higher work capacity. This requires more strength and cardiovascular fitness. Oh, what the hell, some science won't hurt...

    During a given activity your body is performing at a rate dependent on gross motor muscle activity, metabolism on a cellular level and oxygen uptake. Cardiovascular fitness on its own will account for a large amount of this work capacity. However at a certain level the benefit will start to taper off. This is where the stronger people benefit. However a strong person with very little VO2 max or lactate threshold will be able to perform a lot over a few seconds but not much over any more than a minute. The marathon runner can keep going at a higher rate for a specific task but not at a very high capacity. So here we have two types of people. Both are capable of high work loads but each has a weakness. The endurance athlete has to work a long time to burn calories (not that he wants to, it's just an example), whereas the strength athlete can put out massive amounts over a period of 30 seconds or less. So he will need a lot more volume within a session to burn desirable calories.

    Hmmm, what to do??? I know, become physically competent in as many domains of fitness as possible. Get stronger, a lot stronger. Increase sprinting, middle distance and endurance capacity. The more you can do across more domains will burn more energy. This is a simple concept. It makes a lot of sense for someone wanting to lose weight. Not many people have the time or the patience to run or cycle for an hour or more per day. But a fast paced circuit racing the clock that involves some Olympic lifts, maybe some rowing sprints, a few pull-ups and a heavy set of deadlifts might do the trick. Alternate that with heavy strength work utilising compound movements and you will be able to do more in less time.

    By the way, I am a qualified strength and conditioning coach, so I'm not a hack that is peddling mere opinion.

    Check my site:

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    Raelene 7 years ago

    actually, weight training AND Cardio (aka-curcit training) is best.

    BUT..75% of ANY "results" end in diet and diet only.

    doesn't matter HOW much "cardio" OR weight training you do--if you eat too much carbs and sugar or high fat foods.

    Your results will NOT show if you eat everything and anything.

    I do BOTH. I use the FIRM workouts as well as Cathe Fredrich. And I will tell you first hand (exercising for 15 years +).that NONE of my results will show unless I cut my calories and eat right. ;)And that even includes even if I do strength training for an hour ontop of jogging for 40 min.

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    skinnyfat 7 years ago

    I do both weightlifting and cardio and if I was to choose one it would be cardio. I like the lean look cardio gives much more than the incredible hulk look young guys seem to idealize. As long as I can maintain my strength I don't mind burning a little muscle doing a 10 K run and improving my cardiovascular performance.

    I also can't figure out how well-educated trainers totally discount the muscle building benefits of a long's like it is a muscle burning activity that happens in a vacuum to them, no benefits to your musculature....unbelievable. My theory is that many trainers/bros discount running as an exercise because they are not able to do it (Interval training lets you mask this more easily)

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    me 7 years ago

    Muscle cannot be toned

    Muscle gan only grow, shrink or stay the same

    You can lose overall body fat to make muscles appear more noticeable, if that's your idea of 'toned'

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    Glen 7 years ago

    Just a few comments which all can take or leave. I've been a personal trainer for over 33 years. I've had the good fortune of supervising in excess of 70,000 training sessions. I'm also former distance runner. Strength training is second only to proper eating where fat loss is concerned. Strength training can if performed properly provide cardio benefits. Running, beyond perhaps the beginning level will do nothing for strength/muscle gains. Too much running will result in muscle loss for most people. The post's from the trainers here make should be believed. The poster who said trainers are biased in favor of strength training fails to understand that a PT uses all available tools, not just strength training. They just know how powerful a tool strength training is. On a personal note, when I was running in my 20's and early 30's, I was at 6'2" a skinny fat 155-60 lbs. Today in my mid 50's I'm a far healthier, happier, and better looking (lol) 195-200 lbs. Having said all this, don't think I'm opposed to aerobic training. Sorry about running on so long .....

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    Jakobi 7 years ago

    The human body was not designed for long bouts of endurance activity. It is meant for short bursts of intense anaerobic activity, such as sprinting and lifting heavy objects. This is inherited from our hunting ancestors. Resistance training in a 5-8 rep range combined with 10-15 minute sprint or burpee intervals at 100% effort will yield far greater benefits than wasting away hours of your day doing moderate steady-state cardio. It's simply quality over quantity. Choose intensity.

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    Sergio Alvarez 7 years ago

    I kind of agree with this article, BUT!

    there is a difference between strength training and weight training!!!

    Strength training= high reps, low weight

    Weight training= low reps, large amount of weight

    weight training burns way more fat than cardio, but it is still important

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    7 years ago

    the human body was designed for one thing: flexibility. If the tribe needs runners, then people will become brilliant runners (long or short distance); if they need spear throwers, then people become excellent at it! That is why we survived and Neanderthal died out.

    The article has a point, but it seems to have offended people in the way it was written. Yes, strength and cardio are extremely and equally important.... but cardio will burn more energy for sure! Think of it this way: when the body needs to burn more energy it will either do so anaerobically or aerobically. When demands on output outweigh the bodies ability to supply anaerobic energy, then the body will start seriously drawing in air to get oxygen to burn more energy than the body is able to supply anaerobically, which is a sign that the energy demands are now much greater than the body can supply (the power demands really). So it figures, that unless your pumping weights and are completely breathing at Max capacity, then the body cannot technically be using as much energy as a cardiovascular workout during physical activity can it?

    Does that make sense?

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    Tristyn 7 years ago

    Anyone who honestly thinks this article is correct, such as "g" above me, is truly an uninformed idiot.

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    David 6 years ago

    I very much feel that this article is untrue. In the human body an individual muscle tissue can produce a force of 0.000003 Newtons. This means if someone is bench pressing lets say 60KG that means 60 x 9.81 = 588.6 Newtons. 588.6 / 0.000003 = 196200000 Muscle tissues are being used to press that weight. So I pretty much think that weight lifting burns more calories. For a fact and from everyones experience it takes a lot more effort, and is a lot more tiresome and exhausting especially if doing intense resistance strength training. Plus heavy weight lifting on a daily bases slightly increases your testostrone levels and decreases your estrogen. SO weight lifting factualy does increase your metabolisim. I don't thinkg that a pound of muscle burns 6 calories a day. Cause sitting down on a chair then getting up burns 3 calories and it takes a second not an entire day. Plus in the human body exists two types of muscle tissue the slow twitch and the fast twitch. In cardio excercizes the aerobic muscle tissue Type I, slow oxidative, slow twitch, or "red" muscle is dense with capillaries and is rich in mitochondria and myoglobin, giving the muscle tissue its characteristic red color. It can carry more oxygen and sustain aerobic activity.

    Type II, fast twitch muscle, has three major kinds that are, in order of increasing contractile speed

    Type IIa, which, like slow muscle, is aerobic, rich in mitochondria and capillaries and appears red.

    Type IIx (also known as type IId), which is less dense in mitochondria and myoglobin. This is the fastest muscle type in humans. It can contract more quickly and with a greater amount of force than oxidative muscle, but can sustain only short, anaerobic bursts of activity before muscle contraction becomes painful (often incorrectly attributed to a build-up of lactic acid).The fast twitch muscles used in weight training work much faster and consume the chemical energy within the tissue faster than the aerobic muscle. This visibly shows that weight lifting burns as much calories than cardio in a much decreased amount of time

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    GameKash 6 years ago

    I say both are very important. From personal experience, I used to spend equal time on Cardio and muscle training at the gym and I used to work out for an hour. I started playing basketball just for the fun of it since few weeks (once a week for two hours). As you know it basically is cardio as it involves lot of running. It was just two weeks since I started and my friends started telling me that I look more like a sports person now and look lot better than just the gym workout. So I guess naturally, to look lean and slim, cardio is the best thing and for looking firm and toned, muscle training is essential.

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    Holly 6 years ago

    I disagree. I used to be a cardio queen, and was "skinny fat." Now I am still the same weight as I was 2 years ago (125 lbs. and I'm 5'9"), but I am MUCH more toned. A LOT less body fat. I still do cardio 4 days a week, but strength training 3 days a week is KEY!

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    No brainer 6 years ago

    If you want to lose weight, You must lift heavy with shorter rest periods. I done this for weeks and I actually lost weight compared to doing cardio. If you really want to burn the fat super fast you must do this

    Lift heavy/Moderate weight (no light stuff ie) with 30 sec rest periods.


    Some cardio at least 10-30 mins


    I saw vids of guy doing nothing but lifting and no cardio and they was ripped. Plus cardio only burns fat when you do cardio. Muscle burns fat even when you are sleep. I do limited cardio (do not do more than 30 mins unless you are an athlete working on endurance) and lift more and I have a toned body.

    Also bodybuilder can eat up to 3.000-10,000 calories a day and still be ripped. Easy Muscles just burn more fat faster than cardio.

    Just go to a gym. You will see bigger people on the treadmills and the lean people lifting..........

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    Love2Run12345 6 years ago

    I followed Body For Life to a tee and gained muscle but didn't lose the fat. The weight training gave me definition but I wasn't able to lose the weight until I made the following changes...I started running 3-4 times a week, 40-50 minutes each time, kept moderately/lightly weight lifting, added omega 3's and antioxidants into my diet (via flax hull lignans - a flax extract i get from That's the only thing that worked for me.

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    Lewis Bailey 6 years ago

    Who wrote this article???? Well i suggest some more research before publishing content like this!

    I like the numbers thing and how much we all we all burn the same???? Not much though into the energy systems and what pathway purns which fuel....glycogen for aerobic work springs to mind!!

    Hate to be negative but this article is not worth reading!!

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    Hayden Fitness 6 years ago

    This article is misleading as it does not look at the individual it looks at raw math. Cardio increases the stress hormone Cortisol which to most women is already high. Increasing this hormone further will send you into a tailspin as your body will resist loosing weight. See this

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    shane corrigan 6 years ago

    I really never heard as much rubbish in my life... Im training 33 years and Iv seen it and done it all and I can say that there is nothing like progressive strength training to burn away the fat and at the same time leave you in optimium shape and feeling your best ever. Cardio is fine if you need to run away from things...

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    Jill 6 years ago

    I can't believe how false this article is. And damaging. I've lost 50 lbs of fat by focusing mainly on strength training and dropped about 7 sizes. And did so consistently, without plateauing. Plus, I love how I've lost the weight. I feel like people who focus on cardio just become deflated versions of who they used to be- they may be a size 8, but they look flabby and saggy. I still have the hour glass figure I did when I was bigger, and I still in no way look "beefy."

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    Sam F. 6 years ago

    This is absolute rubbish. I'm a fat loss and muscle toning expert in London and have been training people for ages. Cardio just doesn't work on it's own. You need to do resistance training, and if it's not working it means you're doing it wrong and not intense enough. 136 calories in a 40 minute strength workout! I've never heard such a ridiculously low amount of calories.

    Read this research, , if you want the proven truth.

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    Alan Murray 6 years ago from Ipswich, United Kingdom

    The idea behind the use of resistance training is not just to lose it, but keep it off. By raising the metabolism this ensures that.

    Also what most people want when they say lose fat is to change their body shape, not lose weight.

    The best exercises for losing weight remain interval training, circuit training and compound strength exercises. These are intense workouts demanding cardio, strength and power that burn many calories but also increase muscle strength and metabolism.

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    Brian Barlow 6 years ago

    I don't care what type of exercise you do, of your eating habits suck, your gonna be fat.

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    P.T 6 years ago

    Who ever wrote this blog clearly hasn't any knowledge. I'm a certified Personal Trainer and have been training clients for years. Cardio is very good, but if you want quick results guys you need to introduce strength training. I'm a long distance runner and it kills me to say that weights beat running.

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    googoohead 6 years ago

    I cant believe what any of you are saying. I eat Twinkies and cupcakes and lost an astonishing 100 lbs in 6 months. no resistance or cardio. so there! take that know it all trainers.

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    physcult 6 years ago

    Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.

    Overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds) than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).

    The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn't result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.

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    Blake 6 years ago

    When you look at athletes and how physically superior they are compared to a normal person, they don't do standard cardio they do interval and strength training. Do you think Arnold, Micheal Jordan, or a UFC fighter runs on a treadmill, heeellll no they don't. Whenever you go to a gym you see the same fat people wasting there time with countless minutes of steady cardio. After you workout with weights your body burns calories for 24 to 42 hours afterwards including while you sleep, and cardio only burns calories while your training. When you go the gym also all the guys that look lean are using free weights not stupid waste of time machines that cheat for you. I don't know where yall get your facts from but your 100% wrong and you can easliy youtube or google proffessional trainers who have made a name for them selfs and they will say the same thing as me. Doing cardio doesn't make you run faster jump higher or shape your beach body of your dreams, so please Im asking everybodydont waste your time. Its not about burning calories all the time its also what you eat to requlate your metabolism. If you think all carbs are bad you need to do some experimenting because your wroung to. If you want true results then you need to do a workout that's acctually gonna push you not easy boring cardio. That's why sprinters are better looking than long distance runners.

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    STRENGHT TRAINING 6 years ago

    I can only laugh out loud. OP get your facts straight and don't put bullshit like this online....jeezzz

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    eman 6 years ago

    i am started recently training i need help

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    KIN 6 years ago

    As an exercise physiologist with a 4 year degree + in Kinesiology, I'm quite appalled that you would so matter-of-factly spread such mistruths!

    Do some valid research before you spew garbage. It's people like you that make my job so damn hard.

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    Kelley 6 years ago

    An ad for another article on this website boasts that to lose weight you need to build muscle because muscle burns fat.. so what is it? This article cites no reliable sources; either does the other article in question ("Three Steps to Effectively Lose Weight" by Shannon Clark). She specifically states that you SHOULD do more strength training to burn more calories. Confusing and contradicting articles such as these two tell me that this website is BS and no one should take any advice from it except to watch your calorie/fat/carb intake and exercise per your doctor's approval.

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    Christy 6 years ago

    I wasted several years of my life adhering to this kind of uneducated nonsense. Over the last two years, I have made a life change and lift weights 3 times per week, eat a normal diet, and do one to 2 days of 15-20 minutes of cardio each week and have lost 30 pounds. Weight training and it's EPOC effect are definitely the key to weight loss and MAINTAINING it!

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    Candi 6 years ago

    I second the interval and strength training comments. It is far superior to the old cardio theory. You can use your time much more effectively by getting your cardio while building your muscle mass at the same time.

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    Lee 6 years ago

    This article was about to really pi** me off till i seen how many people knew the truth. the article is titled wrong.. it should be titles cardio vs biceps curls: which one burns more fat?? the majority of people in the gym don't do complex exercises anyway (deadlifts, squats, bench press) so if you compare cardio to some pansy weight lifting and arent really putting some effort into it then just give up there and get back on your bike. i'm in the middle of my diet (oh and both are completely useless to burn fat without deit FYI) and i've already dropped from 15% body fat to 10% with just weight training alone.

    oh and TONE isn't a f***ing WORD!!! your muscles don't get TONE! you loss the layers of body fat that has been covering up your muscles.

    but again in the end.. diet is 90% or more of what you look like. so if your goal is to loose body fat but you don't have the will power to stay away from fattening foods then your just wasting time anyway.

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    trainer1 6 years ago

    Whoever wrote this article is an idiot! Anyone that has any experience with exercise physiology or know how the body works will tell you strength training is the key to fat loss and boosting your metabolism. Cardio is a metabolism killer and raises cortisol levels. Show me anyone that does a ton of cardio and I will point out their lack of definition and high bodyfat.

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    PT 6 years ago

    This is one of the dumbest things I have ever read! Where do you get these figures from? Would figures not change for each individual?! I personally think that your an idiot giving out false information to people. I'm not going to go into detail but I just feel bad for the poor sods that agree with this person. Well good luck achieving your goals regardless, just will take you a hell of a lot longer =)

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    Dan Hipkiss 6 years ago

    I have to say that I too think this article is flawed. The figures seem arbitrary.

    I know from personal experience that when I weight train (usually strength training in the heavy weight/5 rep range) I eat whatever I like and stay in good shape. I also play football (as in proper football - don't know if this site is American?) so definitely advocate a bit of variation.

    However, if I stop weight training and concentrate only on cardio (which I have done recently due to a shoulder injury) I put weight on and just can't shift it. I'm now practically on a diet in order to shift a few pounds, which is something completely alien to me.

    Honestly, the best way to get in shape (at least for men) is to weight train 2 or 3 times a week with some cardio thrown in once or twice a week.

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    rubenrubert 6 years ago

    I think combination of weight training and cardio secially HIIT Cardio is the best for burning fat . But Weight Training is key.

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    jim 6 years ago

    i bought in to the claim that resistance training caused weight loss and only lost a few pounds. increasing cardio while still doing a reduced weight lifting regimen increased my weight loss significantly. i didn't get great results until i started the warrior diet and exercising, i am exercising less and getting better results

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    bob 6 years ago

    Biggest load of bullshit I've ever read.

    Strength training is FAR superior to cardio in terms of fat loss. It will keep the metabolism high for a long time after the exercises are completed.

    More muscle also means more calories burnt even while not doing anything!

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    Jinzo 6 years ago

    This article is incorrect. Not all muscles are created equally. A lb of skeleton muscles burn approximately 5.7 calories. A lb of newly developed trained muscles burns approximately 35 calories a day.

    Here is the new research:

    Although Bouchard's mathematical calculations seem to make sense, they definitely do not line up with the classic research studies on this topic. Two well-conceived and well-conducted research studies examined the effects of strength training on muscle development and resting metabolic rate.

    One study was conducted by Campbell and his research associates at Tufts University1,and the other study was conducted by Pratley and his research associates at the University of Maryland5.

    At Tufts University, the subjects performed progressive resistance exercise three days a week for 12 weeks. Each training session consisted of four standard strength exercises, each of which was performed for three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

    After three months of training, the subjects, on average, added 3.1 pounds of lean (muscle) weight and lost 4.0 pounds of fat weight. As a result, their resting metabolic rate increased by 6.8 %, or approximately 105 calories per day. At face value, this finding would indicate that 1 pound of muscle uses about 35 calories per day at rest (105 calories per day ÷ 3 pounds of muscle = 35 calories per day per pound of muscle).

    At the University of Maryland, the subjects performed progressive resistance exercise three days a week for 16 weeks. Each training session consisted of 14 standard strength exercises, most of which were performed for one set of 10 to 15 repetitions.

    After four months of training, the subjects, on average, added 3.5 pounds of lean (muscle) weight and lost 4.2 pounds of fat weight. As a result, their resting metabolic rate increased by 7.7%, or approximately 120 calories per day. At face value, this finding would indicate that 1 pound of muscle uses about 34 calories per day at rest (120 calories per day ÷ 3.5 pounds of muscle = 34 calories per day per pound of muscle).

    It is interesting to note that, in both of these studies, the same strength-training program that increased lean (muscle) weight by about 3 pounds, likewise increased resting metabolic rate by about 7%.

    It is also interesting to note that, in both of these studies, the strength-training programs responsible for these impressive results were relatively basic and brief. The Tufts University subjects performed just 12 sets of exercise per session (three sets of four exercises), and the University of Maryland subjects completed 17 sets of exercise per session (one set of 11 exercises and two sets of three exercises).

    These represent essentially 30-minute workouts that are manageable both time-wise and energy-wise for most adults. It is nothing short of remarkable that such modest investments in strength exercise can produce such profound physical outcomes.

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    Sam 6 years ago

    I've been 142lbs 5'6''and for the LONGEST time i have been trying to reach 130 lbs bc that was the weight I was happiest with my body at. However, I have tried EVERYTHING. Bootcamps, diets, working out, you name it and my weight doesn't budge. And the inches are minimal. I consider myself an already healthy person when it comes to my eating habits, so when I diet, it really just changes caloric intake bc I already eat healthy.

    Now I have kinda given up on losing the actual weight and maybe just trying to tone my body harder where I would maybe be able to lose more inches? So basically,I'm a little confused here. If y'all could help me out that would be great. Will my body transform and look more sculpted if I did not reduce my calorie intake, but just did, say a body pump class, twice a week? Plus cardio on off days? Guess what I'm asking is if I focus on weights, even though my input/output will probably be even bc it seems to be, will my body still tone where I would see a change? or is caloric THAT important in losing the extra fat around the muscles?

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    SamsRetarded 6 years ago

    Yeah if you actually were "eating" properly you'd lose 142 down to 130 without any problem. Stop eating more than your body burns. Get regular strength training 3 days a week + cardio and the weight will go down. I love people who lie to themselves. Its the food your stuffing in your mouth moron.

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    Me 6 years ago

    The reason strength training helps you lose weight in the long run is because it builds muscle. You can do an hour of cardio, perhaps burning around 500 calories, but take away the benefits with a couple of snacks.

    Cardio is good in moderation and/or if you're training to run faster/further/more efficiently.

    Now with strength training, sure, you can eat back the calories you burned, also. But you'll also gain muscle, which, in the long run, is more beneficial (muscle uses more calories than fat.)

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    Som 6 years ago

    Completely wrong ! Cardio except HIIT only burns calories while your doing it, weight training burns calories for up to 39 hours after !

    I'm a personal trainer and have fantastic results using... Weight training alone!

    People who try to lose weight through cardio are " skinny fat people " no tone slim but chub! People who weight train are lean less body fat and sculpted!

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    Rachel 6 years ago

    Worst article ever written. Clearly you have no formal kinesiolgy training. Please don't take this article to heart folks. I am a fitness expert and my athletes hit the stage to compete all year long and don't get fitness model bodies from Cardio.

    It is morons like this author that make the Internet a waste of time.

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    MelloGold 6 years ago

    Okay article is completely ignoring how beneficial the anabolic processes that you gain from lifting. When you work out your body is going through primarily catabolic reactions breaking down food and hydrolyzing glucose and other sugars creating ATP and expending it which is great, however this is only happening while working out. If you strength train and do it correctly you will break down your muscle tissue; what does this mean for weight loss? Well simply your going to cash in on the other side (Anabolic reactions) where you increase the energy used in incorporating amino acids and all the nutrients you sequester through your diet in building new muscle and repairing your body. Simply both are great Cardio+Strength training, but strength training does lend to burning more calories over time.

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    dave 6 years ago

    what a load of shit. this article makes no sense and is totally wrong! strength training burns way more calories.. and you also burn more at rest as well when strength training..24 hours after exercise... cardio=1 hour after. and by putting 1lb of muscle in your body, you burn 50 more calories at rest.

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    Balance 6 years ago

    Well this 'conversation' has gone on for quite some time with some people being very 'passionate' about their chosen form of exercise! I think it has been quite firmly established that strength training over the long term can burn more calories than just cardio. I am wondering though, when authors use the word cardio in the comparison, does that mean the slow mundane pace you see on machines in gyms, or HIIT?

    Also, if you are not eating at a deficit, then will the amount of muscle potentially burned by cardio be reduced?

    What of the other benefits that HIIT cardio (or any cardio for that matter) has, such as lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, increasing endurance, improving heart health, improved recovery? For those that do only strength training, do they also see these benefits to the same degree from there workout schedule?

    I managed to lose 63 pounds at about 2-3 pounds every 10 days or so, using a combination of diet and 1.5-2 hours of cardio a day (Spinning, running, sprinting, HIIT cardio circuits, ellipticals on slower days. I managed to lose the gut, the man boobs, the thunder thighs using this plan. I have also gained all the other benefits from doing all the cardio.

    I think there is much more to exercise than just weight loss and trying to look 'toned'. I don't see it as an either/or thing, hell do both cardio and weights if you enjoy it!! I do think that there are definite benefits to overall health that are provided by doing HIIT cardio that you cannot get from just weight training. I have seen the typical toned, weight-lifting 'gym-guy' struggle with the simplest endurance activity. So eat right, do the HIIT and move the mass!!

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    Fred 6 years ago

    Wow. Someone managed to copy a Runner's World article. Next time you just rewrite an article, just post a link to it:,7120,s6-242-...

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    Alma 6 years ago

    Strenght training all the way. With eating properly and training I got myself a killer body. When I was doing only cardio I was thin, but in a bad shape and soft.

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    Joe 6 years ago

    Strength training is great and certainly has its purpose, but really what use is a 'killer body' if you can't walk up multiple flights of stairs without getting winded? If you were in 'bad shape' from doing cardio, you were not doing it properly. Cardio will increase your heart health, lung capacity, endurance, lower your blood pressure, increase seratonin levels, lower cholesterol.....there is much more to being fit and in 'good shape' than being simply toned.

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    Elle 6 years ago

    Well...this article is right in a way. It's just that too many are enraged by the statement. But it's true, CARDIO BURNS FAT DIRECTLY, but you need strength training if you want most of the loss to be primarily fat loss.

    you need BOTH.

    I've read through every comment here, and look--all I see are people making long winded comments about how wrong the article is while stating their credentials and puffing up the superiority of weight training.

    FIRST OF ALL. Invest in a polar heart rate monitor!!! Best thing I ever did. You get to actually see the intensity of *whatever* you're doing, whether it's weights OR cardio!

    AND measure your food!

    Fat loss = simple math!!!

    Cardio = increases your caloric deficit without cutting more calories than your body can actually handle before going into that notorious "starvation mode". However if you do cardio for 30 minutes and (depending on your intensity) and only burn 150-200 cals, it's not helping THAT much.

    You can increase your deficit more with cardio (as long as you don't try to replace every extra calorie you burn). You can do weight training but you can't do it more than once a day.

    Eating a little more boosts your metabolism as well, but eat CLEAN. Only naturally occurring carbs like chick peas and other legumes are best for fat loss. Lean meats, greens, and nuts.

    Cardio frequency each week also increases the amount of calories your body needs to maintain weight.

    Weight training = YES. Beneficial, and strongly. If you only do tons of cardio, and are lacking enough protein in your diet... yeah, you just may become soft.

    Lifting tells the body that your muscles are important, and to hold on to them.

    If you're a female, go grab a workout DVD... jillian michaels has some good ones that involve hand weights.

    Hope this helps in some way!

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    Elle 6 years ago

    Also, I may add that I've seen plenty of women who lift heavy (who usually compete)... low body fat %, very lean while muscular and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My comment pertains to the primary audience of this article.

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    conor 6 years ago

    everybody stop being so lazy and just do half and half when your at the gym,you get a better overall body and feel great after it

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    Jackie 6 years ago

    This article is a JOKE. Research shows that Strength training burns more calories and raises your metabolism for longer after a workout. I am living proof. I weighed 220 in Oct 2010 and started working out with only cardio and only lost 20 lbs by Jan. I switched to Weights and now I am down to 170.

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    jerryfriend15 6 years ago from USA

    Good article and quality research

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    Hiit 5 years ago

    First strength training then cardio.

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    Ron 5 years ago

    Great hub, looking forward to come back and fascinted by your posts. Thank you.

    Ron from

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    Lou 5 years ago

    This was very helpful. Thank you! :):)

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    Nate 5 years ago

    Comments were better then the article. Really what were you thinking? Of course a mix is always best and interval training will get the best results for intermediate and advanced people. Have fun, and do whatever works for you, just make sure you include some resistance training.

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    Celeste 5 years ago

    Thank you to all of the people who commented on how ridiculous this article is. I'm a personal trainer, and a figure competitor. You think i would know what I'm talking about, no?

    Sure, cardio is good, but there's no way I would look the way I look if I didn't FOCUS ON WEIGHTS! FREAKING HEAVY WEIGHTS!! :) Sure, jump on a treadmill for 45 minutes at a 8:30 mile, if you want to essentially waste away your muscles and lower your metabolism. Isn't that kind of the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve?

    So, just like all the other personal trainers on here have said, cardio has it's time and place. For me, it's more about a proper diet and resistance training program, and following those exactly.

    Oh, and to those saying cardio burns fat directly - yes, at a very low percentage of your max heart rate, it does. Don't quote me on the exact numbers, but I believe it uses fatty acids as a main energy source until around 75% of your max heart rate.. If you go higher than that, you start using more and more glycogen and amino acids as energy sources. Yes, you are still burning fat, but you are also burning muscles and their anaerobic energy sources, which you really don't want to do.

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    Joe 5 years ago

    we kkkkkkkkkkkk xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    Owen 5 years ago

    First off, I want to thank everyone on here for your insight. It has been most fascinating to read all the responses. If I could add something. I was a heavy lifter (not bodybuilder) but someone who enjoyed lifting heavy weights and feeling the proverbial lactic acid burn. I too did more sprinting than long duration/long distance aerobics. I recently moved to Florida and saw so many runners outside and was intrigued. So, I got into a running addiction where I would run at a 8 minute pace for 6.25 miles about 5 times a week. I got skinner, but noticed I was carrying a lot more visceral abdomen fat than when I did more heavy weightlifting with minimal aerobic activity. I too am only speaking from experience and apologize for not having any qualitative or quantitative research behind

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    Peter 5 years ago

    diet is what will burn fat... if you want to add exercise, add strength training. it will preserve muscle, it is anti-catabolic, unlike cardio ... cardio is known to be catabolic.

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    Rob 5 years ago

    I am a good runner and run a lot. I run 10 miles a day at 6:50 per mile and I burn a lot of calories and am very lea I have very little body fat. Yes I do incorporate some lifting. A few days a week of light lifting to help reduce chance of injury. I do not believe I could replace how much I run with some lifting heavy weight plan and burn the same amount of calories as I do now. How could I possibly burn 1000+ calories a day lifting weights?

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    John 5 years ago

    Wow this author needs to check their facts. Cardio burns muscle before it burns fat . The goal is to increase lean muscle mass because muscle eats fat. Someone who is overweight needs to be doing resistance training while keeping their heart rate up. I'll take weight off of someone all day with only weights and proper nutrition. Wait til your body fat is at a healthy level before factoring In cardio.

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    Freneticfitness 5 years ago

    This article is a joke. Apparently not science based. For years I did ZERO cardio, and was cut. Everyone thought I did cardio, but no, only weight training. Also aerobic exercise elevates cortisol levels, may lower testosterone levels and HGH levels, and increases oxidative stress. Yes aerobic exercise is good for you and even necessary for heart health. If your exercise program does not include strength training you are doing yourself a disservice.

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    Darkprince 5 years ago

    This article is wrong.Weight training will always burn more fat than cardio,and besides weight training has long term effects unlike cardio.But i suggest a mixture of both.

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    Kenaij 5 years ago

    Nice post, however I do see a couple of problems with it. When you talk about the amount of kcal the strength training burns I`m am positively sure you haven`t calculated in the warm up. Since otherwise the kcals burned can`t be that low. Also strength training is really wide, or at least, people use the term strength training what is actually called WEIGHT LIFTING. They are not the same. Strength training is a small part of weight lifting. Actual strength training actually impacts the brain quite a lot, thus it is more active. Those calories should be added to the equation. Also, if you do weight lifting of any sort, the calories you eat afterwards (different studies say different lengths of time) those calories are most send towards the muscle. Calories you eat after cardio are stored as fat reserves again. And the fact that you can`t lose fatcells, but only shrink them (it is more technical, look it up, it is the reason why people who were ones fat gain size more quickly than people who were always slim, since the fat cells only need to expand) it is wiser to not add new fat cells, which you need to shrink later on. Maybe, you burn your calories faster in the small picture. But if viewed in the long run, it is better to lose thos points through strenght training.

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    Jake 5 years ago

    From My experiences, (ive been working about 4-5 times a week for over a year) when it comes to working out and losing weight, a good diet is your best friend, but a bad one can be your worst enemy. Yes, cardio burns more calories during a workout, and strength training will continue to burn calories afterwards, but strength training gives you a HUGE appetite. And if you are not eating properly, you WILL NOT lose weight just lifting weights alone. However with cardio, You should not eat a few hours before and may not want to eat for a few hours after, because (I really cant tell you the reason, but it makes you feel really lean). To lose weight, I think cardio is the better option because you will eat less, and therefore consume less calories. However, strength training is important to have a toned body and if you can eat a flawless diet, than you may not need cardio at all.

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    me2 5 years ago

    Do not tell me that an hours worth of deadlifting only burns 136 calories, that I'm afraid is nonsense.

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    Tyler 5 years ago

    This article could not be more untrue. Do you understand what you are doing when you perform cardio? You are promoting your Type 1 muscle fibers. Cardio actually makes you more efficient at storing body fat and causes a loss in muscle mass.

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    Jayda 5 years ago

    Why not lose weight using cardio and then when you've lost the weight, do strength workouts as well, in order to prevent the lose skin look. Also, swimming is a great exercise to lose weight and build muscle at the same time. Before I began weight-lifting, I only swam, and I had a slim defined body.

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    JenLee2012 5 years ago from Burnaby, British Columbia

    I do cardio first, and then do strength workout. When you build muscle, you burns more calories.

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    joan 5 years ago

    What are the scientific qualifications of the person who wrote this article? Where did you get your information, where did you do your research?

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    joan 5 years ago

    You could use this for ACTUAL scientific, factual information on the matter. If it's too descriptive, skip to the conclusion at the end.

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    Ray 5 years ago

    This article was stupid. didn't even list sources and the comparison is like the best of one thing vs the worst of another.

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    Wagner 5 years ago

    Both are important. but 40 minutes of CARDIO is a waste of time. it's like a diet that only anorexical people can keep.

    15 min CARDIO associated with less than 1 hour of strength training is so much enjoyable and efective .

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    SWohann 5 years ago

    CARDIO Training: More Efficient, but not as effective as strength training.

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    Luiz 5 years ago

    CArdio burn more, no doubt. I had this experience: about 2 months of 1,5 hour intense cardio every day. I loose pounds of calories, like never before. But the surprise: the muscles just gone away. I had no triceps anymore. And my arms fat persisted.

    Ohh S... YOu've missed it: Cardio will burn more calories. BUt that calories comes from fat or muscles?Today I only do strength trainning with max 15 min cardio per day and I'm monitoring my body fat. Oh I'm loosing fat now, and gainning muscles. Need to say: my triceps are back. NEVER do that s... again!

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    angie 5 years ago

    the way I see it, cardio burns the majority of the fat and a small amount of muscle, but strength training maintains the muscle. I think if you're doing high intensity cardio though, you should be able to maintain a good amount of muscle by just increasing the amount of protein in your diet.

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    Jay922 5 years ago

    I disagree completely. I have been working out for the past few months every morning for about 30-40 minutes, usually strength training, not necessarily heavy lifting but mostly yoga and pilates using small weights and of course my own body weight. I realized that my body "felt warmer" throughout the day and I have been losing weight and gaining muscle tone, Ive been feeling great honestly. I could almost feel my body burning off calories for me throughout the day. But, for the past two days I decided to switch to cardio, running on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and I've been feeling sluggish for these past 2 days. I decided to "google" it of course, and came across this article. I can definitely say that strength training, more specifically low intensity like pilates or yoga, is much more healthier, burns more calories both during and after sessions, and will also tone the body. Cardio just makes you sluggish and more prone to passing out, kinda how Ive been feeling all day! I am definitely switching back to strength training tomorrow.

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    Scotty 5 years ago

    I go to the gym 4 times a week, I usually do around 1 hour of weight lifting then 20 mins cardio. Just wanted to know if it's best to take my protein drink straight after the weight training or leave it until after cardio ???????

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    Matthew Simpson 5 years ago

    Scotty, you don't want to drink a protein drink and then hop on the treadmill. You will throw up. While your muscles are primed for nutrient reuptake right after a weight workout and it would be ideal to drink that shake right after your weights. It isn't worth it. What about doing cardio an hour later? Or even later in the day? I do weights around 10am and then cardio at 4pm, and that works for me.

    Here's a good resource on the best fat burning exercise:

  • Eric Bridgewater profile image

    Eric Bridgewater 5 years ago

    You're all wrong for one simple reason. You're all assuming that the old theory that calorie deficit is the sole factor in fat burning. Newsflash - people have been gaining weight on 800 calorie a day diets - or at least, not losing an fat. The reason? Hormones. Insulin, Testosterone, Thyroid Stimulation Hormone, etc etc.

    It's hard to argue that anything competes with weight training (FOR MALES) for these simple reasons:

    1. Gaining muscle without burning fat still results in lower body fat percentage (body fat / total body weight [+muscle=+weight= ^denominator].

    2. Weight training induces catabolic state - (hormones)

    3. Weight training damages muscles (this results in calorie expenditure to repair them)

    4. Weight training burns carbohydrates as opposed to fat - thus controlling insulin levels (which are responsible for storing fat) - this could also result in a synergistic fat burning effect

    5. Weight training sessions typical last far longer than cardio sessions - thus minute for minute comparison is not logical

    6. Power lifting and compound movements burn more calories than moderate cardio.

    7. Weight training in guys increases testosterone levels - which burns fat.

    Thanks - have a nice day.

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    dollface66 5 years ago

    Hello all! I gained 60lbs & started cardio(Aerobics) everyday for 2hrs a day. I lost 20 of the 60 I needed to lose and came to a halt! I could not lose the remainder 40! No matter what! I am very educated on nutrition so I know it was not my diet. So, I decided to change my workout to cardio for 1hr, 3X's a week and weight training 5X's a week. The weight is now pouring off me. I am a firm believer that weight training is imperative if you want to look your best!

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    Kettlebell Lifter 5 years ago

    Based on the array of responses, the article is a false assumption at best based on what? Where did those numbers come from. I wore a heart rate monitor and worked for 5 minutes with kettlebell sport lifting (2 70 lb weights) and burned about 110-125 calories during and another 250 in the next hour according to my heart rate monitor. I also cross reference running 25 minutes hard (165 hr) avg and burned 425 during that run and burned another 175 for the remainder of the hour (600 approx). Point is, I did 5 minutes of continuous lifting versus 25 minutes of running (cardio). It wasn't as much overall but much more relative.

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    aman 5 years ago

    i disagree , i was fat one time, way more fat than my brothers.i did cardio for 3 months,,,sure it was benefit but not enough.later i tried strength training for at least a week, and the result were already clear.

    don't get angry dude, but at least write something convincing.

    see ya ;)

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    Jeff 5 years ago

    What I have found is that when I was more than 100 pounds overweight, cardio worked very well as I was losing 3-4 pounds a week. However, as I got closer to my goal weight, I began to plateau until I began to do more strength training. I think when you have so much weight to lose any movement with better diet will result in weight gain, but then your body gets accustomed to the cardio and from all I have read needs to increase muscle to burn fat while at rest.

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    Ram 5 years ago

    just avoid carb, eat pure protein and omega fats.. and lift weights everyday along with 30min of interval training.. that's all you need to get in shape..

    OH and for everyone it's different. I get more illness if I do cardio and I feel really weak.

    My goal is to build strength, have muscle mass, and burn fat. Muscle cells break down fat cells. Along with that do a lot of Sex (helps boost a lot of Testosterone) and enjoy the life.. and I don't mean drinking case of bear or hang in party (stay away), meaning grill those chicken breast, fish, lean stake with your family, hi works for me, losing 5lb one to 2 weeks..

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    van 5 years ago

    I believe cardio + strength training + a good diet all add up to success. Doing cardio alone will not make you strong. Weightlifting alone will not make you slim. Eating wrong can be detrimental to either. It all depends on a iindividuals goals.

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    Meaghan 5 years ago

    This sounds like rubbish. Where are all your numbers and calculations coming from? References?

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    steve 5 years ago

    do some real research. several small meals or just one your body still uses the same energy to process those calories. calorie burn is not what should be looked at. you should look at what gets rid of fat. muscle is proven to be more effective at this. intensity is key. if you learn how to properly eat and left very heavy for short duration i think you would be quite surprised at the difference. also we are looking for long term hormonal change. (insulin, GH, AMPK, satelite cells, mytochondria, etc, etc.) heavy resistance training atleast 3 times per week coupled with not constantly spiking or elevating insulin is scientifically proven (unlike the several small meals theory) to reduce body fat and increase leanness. food choices also have a huge impact (you really just spent an hour running now had a recovery shake and some sweets = waste of time).

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    Dr. Davis 4 years ago

    Weight training is far superior for fat loss. The calculation could be correct but the whole idea is not. I say it could be correct, but only in a very limited situation since there are way more variables that is not included in this evaluation. I don't see how the 'afterburn' is calculated, but it is true that while the exercises are being performed, less calories are burned with weight training. This is the only upper hand that cardio has. Since growth hormone and testosterone is released after a weight training session over the duration (mainly that night's sleep) following the workout, the overall winner (by a mile) is high intensity weight training. These hormones will burn fat when you are not in the gym and also changes how your body responds to sugar. You metabolism will change to that of an athelete, they usually eat a lot. Bottom line: even if you did enough cardio to match the long lasting effects of a hormone induced fat burn, you will look weak and malnourished since long cardio destroys muscle tissue. Cardio does raise metabolism for a few hours post-workout, but weight training raises it for up to 48 hours and in a better way. Please spread the truth.

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    mike 4 years ago

    So much is wrong with this article.

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