Minute-for-minute cardio exercises burn more calories than weights because of the constant intensity, and thus, they can help you to burn fat while eating a wider, healthier diet. Adding cardiovascular exercises will aid in burning fat during your weight training — but are best done after your weightlifting sessions.
While stationary cardiovascular exercises such as running are great ways to get lean, weight training comes with the added bonus of helping you reach your fat loss goals. Lifting weights may, in some cases, actually be a more effective strategy for fat burning than cardio alone. Cardio helps weight loss, enhances cardiovascular health, and exposes muscles that you sculpted.
It is true that cardio exercises burn more calories when you are working out, but the benefits of lifting continue long after you finish a workout at the gym. Any type of exercise can help you lose weight, and that includes weightlifting: As long as you are burning more calories than you are eating every day, you are going to stay at a caloric deficit and you are going to lose weight. In fact, building muscle actually helps you lose weight, increasing your metabolism rate, which helps you burn more calories while at rest.
Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, so over time, when you build more muscle, your body will burn more calories when it is resting than before you built that muscle. Then, as your body adjusts to the challenges of lifting by building more muscle tissue, your metabolism can increase even further. Having more muscle on your body and less body fat increases your basal metabolic rate, meaning that you will burn more calories when at rest, helping you out over the long haul.
When comparing your needs with fat, which is a storage medium and therefore does not need calories to sustain itself, it is easy to see how more muscle-bound bodies naturally burn more calories at rest as well. When doing an intensive training session with a heavy lift, the body continues burning calories at higher rates for hours after training. Because of this burning, it is often said that muscle building is key to increasing resting metabolism – i.e., the amount of calories you burn when at rest.
Resistance training helps to lose excess body fat both through increased post-exercise fat burning, but also through increased muscle size, which increases the amount of calories we burn at rest. Unlike endurance training, the evidence shows that resistance training has beneficial effects beyond body fat reduction, with increased muscle size and strength. As a result, resistance exercises are effective ways of losing excess fat, because of the higher caloric expenditure in the actual workout and afterburn effects.
Aerobic training has been shown to spur fat-burning in a certain degree, but resistance training seems particularly strong at creating cell-level adaptations that may speed up the process. It takes time to build and maintain big muscles, suggesting resistance exercise can also spur fat-burning processes at the cellular level, which can have much faster effects.
This suggests resistance training is better than cardio for helping people lose abdominal fat, since while aerobic exercises burn fat as well as muscle, resistance weightlifting burns fat almost exclusively. Weight training may be particularly important for helping women lose body fat, and research from the University of Alabama shows greater reductions in stomach fat for women who lift weights than for those who only do cardio. For instance, weight training is more effective at building muscle than cardio, and muscles burn more calories at rest than certain other tissues, including fat (3).
The best way to get lean, shed body fat, and burn more calories is to really just lift heavier weights and rest longer. One of the best ways to burn the most fat in your weightlifting sessions is by keeping your rest periods between sets to a minimum. In general, 30 minutes of heavy lifting will burn anywhere from 90-126 calories, depending on the persons bodyweight. Cross-country skiing for 30 minutes can burn between 198 and 293 calories, depending on a persons body weight.
You might burn more calories in a one-hour cardio session than lifting weights for an hour, but a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who lifted displaced 100 more calories, on average, over 24 hours after the workout ended. More importantly, other studies show that HIIT-style workouts can burn roughly as many calories as traditional cardio, though it depends on how intense your exercise is. More importantly, because strength training increases the number and size of calorie-burning muscle fibers fueling performance, perkins says that strength training can actually help you burn more calories while doing aerobic exercises. When you are looking to burn calories or lose weight, coaches typically recommend resistance training–also called weight training or resistance–over aerobic or aerobic exercises.
While exercises like running and biking are really effective at cutting fat, those activities simultaneously reduce muscle size, leading to a smaller muscles, with a larger perceived loss of fat, since muscles are denser than fat. As mentioned above, dieting without lifting reduces both fat and muscle, making the body weaker overall.
Even if you are not planning on gaining mass, maintaining your lean body mass when losing weight is important, as your base metabolic rate may decrease if you just drop a couple of pounds because of how your body responds to your change in weight. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn — and the better chance you have of keeping fat off, says sports physiologist Dr. Leigh Breen. Weight training and building some muscle does not cause your metabolism to explode, but it can boost it a bit.
In a recent study on overweight or obese adults (those ages 60 or older), the combination of low-calorie diet and weight training led to greater fat loss compared with a low-calorie diet and walking exercise, according to a 2017 study published in Obesity. HIIT and conventional cardio can have similar effects for weight loss Studies that examined over 400 overweight and obese adults found that HIIT and conventional cardio reduced body fat and waist size by similar amounts (12).Share