No Time? Which Should You Do: Cardio or Weight Training?

| Fitness

cardio vs weights
(Photo: Women's Health Magazine)

It's time to start thinking about our New Year's resolutions, and we know that hitting the gym is a pretty popular plan! However, when spending an hour or two on our favorite workouts just doesn't fit into our busy schedules, it is essential that we keep up with some sort of exercise. We wish we could give you a straightforward and easy answer about which is better, cardio or strength training, but both are important for different reasons! We've looked at the science between the two, so take a look to see which is right for you!

cardio gym2

If your goal is weight loss, then stick to cardio: Just 30 minutes of high-intensity cardio a day can burn anywhere between 300-500 calories! A brief session on a treadmill can get your heart pumping so that you tear through way more calories than you would in a 30-minute weight lifting routine. Plus, hitting the track can be a great way to alleviate any excess stress, especially during the holidays!

However, there are some downsides to a strictly cardio regimen. Cardio may be great for losing weight quickly, but it doesn't do much for your muscles. Going on a 3-mile jog might work wonders for your endurance, but performing only cardio can actually be detrimental to your body. Weight loss can often come from losing muscle mass (rather than fat stores), which means that straight cardio, day after day, usually just results in a smaller version of yourself. This might be just fine for some of you ladies, but if you are looking to tone up and trim down, cardio alone may not do the trick. To get the most out of a strictly cardio workout, you will need to incorporate explosive, high-intensity moves into your routine that will keep your body guessing!

woman lifting weights at the gym

If your goal is transformation, then try weight lifting: Strength training is the best way to build muscle, and we're not talking bulky my-muscles-have-muscles muscle. We mean drop dead gorgeous, lean and oh-so-sexy Jennie Finch muscles. Plus, the addition of lean muscle through weight training actually creates a calorie-torching powerhouse in our bodies. Cardio may mean more calories burned up front, but weight training churns through its fair share of calories too! Calorie burning during lifting occurs primarily after your workout. Following a weight training session your metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours! This means that for every 3 pounds of muscle you gain, your body automatically burns an extra 120 calories per day without you moving at all!

The essential difference between weight training and cardio is that weight training burns through pure fat. While you may not notice the pounds falling off from day to day, strengthening is a fantastic long-term strategy for getting rid of that unwanted body fat. While a steady state of cardio can leave you looking like a shrunken-down version of yourself, weight training gives you the opportunity to transform your body. Not so keen on that extra arm flab? Say goodbye to those bat wings by clicking here! Through weight training, you can reshape your body and your positive self-image!

Woman lifting weights

If you only have 30 minutes a day to sneak in a workout, make sure you are utilizing that time to the best of your abilities. There are a lot of fun, great ways to stay in shape, so make sure you are enjoying whichever exercise regimen you choose! The key to success is happiness, after all!

Sources: Women's Health Magazine, Men's Fitness,