Cardio vs Weights

For those of you who know me, you know I like to workout. A year and a half ago I started a side job as an independent Beachbody coach and that is what led me to my “soul mate workout.” I hardly ever stray from this particular regimen, and when I do, it’s only for a little while and it’s to do my second favorite workout (also introduced to me through Beachbody).

The reason why I love my workout, is because it uses weights and gets my heart rate up at the same time. No, weights will not make you bulky. No, they will not make you look like a man. But they will give you a shapely hiney and some toned triceps. I don’t hear any complaints!

I’ve seen a lot of debate over time as to whether cardio is better for you, or strength training using weights is more beneficial.

So I did a little digging and in the end found some great info from an article in Self magazine that is really helpful and I wanted to share it with you all.

Is cardio or strength training better for weight loss?

The answer is: Strength training. Even though you may burn a few more calories per minute doing cardio, your body continues to burn calories even after you are done with your workout. When you’re on the elliptical or treadmill, in all reality, your body is pretty comfortable, but when you strength train, it makes your body go, “Whoah, wait a minute, what are we doing here?!” The stuff that makes your body go “wowza!” takes an hour to recover from, which means you burn an extra 25% in calories. So here’s some math for ya – you burn 160 calories in your workout, but by the day’s end, you’ll have burnt 200 calories total from that workout.


Which should I do first?

On this one, it doesn’t matter. It’s your choice here. The reason being that cardio makes a great warm up for strength training, and it also is a good cool down; it helps flush out lactic acid which causes sore muscles later on. The exception to this is if you’re training for something like a 10K – you’ll obviously want to do that kind of exercise first before you have any sort of muscle fatigue.

Does one give a bigger endorphin boost?

Cardio does! If you’re looking to improve your mood, anxiety, depression, or relieve pain try cardio activity. Strength training will give you endorphin boost, but you have to get your heart rate going by using heavier weights and/or not taking long rest periods between sets (to keep your heart rate high).

Should I lift heavy or light weights?

Both. (Yup!) When you use light weights, you should be able to get in 15-20 reps before you fatigue. This activates slow twitch muscles. Heavy weights, when you get tired at around 8-10 reps, triggers fast twitch muscle fibers. The two lifting styles give you the best results. You can do this by alternating days of light and heavy lifting, or combine it into one workout.

Building upper body strength while aerobicizing

What if I only have time to do either cardio or strength training?

Then you should strength train. If you work it the right way, you can kill two birds with one stone and get your cardio in as you strength train. If you’re still on the fence about it, here’s some food for thought: studies show that you get better results, both aerobic and strength gains, from three 20 minute strength circuits a week vs 60 minute cardio sessions five days a week. SOLD! I’ll take 20 minutes 3x a week over an hour 5x a week always!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you’re feeling stuck in a rut with your exercise routine, talk to me for some ideas! Or go and explore your options with a friend! Doing something new with a friend is always way more fun (and less scary!)

love & (calorie free!) cupcakes, <–in a perfect world 😉


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