Australians aiming to lose fat effectively are baffled between the two popular workout programs. Cardio or weight training, which one should you choose? Well, the short and long answer is “it depends”.

This article won’t declare which program is better but will guide you about the factors you need to consider.

Faster Active Burning Rate

Active burning rate refers to how fast your body breaks down calories while in action. Research found that cardio training burns more fats than weight training.

Given the same exercise duration, you’ll more likely burn twice the number of calories in lifting than when you run or jog.

Body weight in cardio regimen is a key factor. The heavier you are, the more calories you lose. Most trainers, thus, recommend cardio sets for the obese and overweight alongside dietary changes to kick off an intensive program.

The rule, presumably, is to shed off the fats first before building strength or forming muscle. Conditioning your heart and respiratory system will also help improve your performance and endurance for your other routines.

Faster Resting Burning Rate

Nevertheless, weight training has its benefits, too. It builds muscles and increases resting metabolism, which refers to the rate which your system passively burns calories.

With weight training, studies show that a person can burn fats even 38 hours following the workout. This means that during gaps, you still shed off unwanted calories.

Remember that in a reasonable exercise program, breaks are needed to achieve optimum results for muscle formation.

Scientific evidence further show that weight training yields higher resting metabolism compared to cardio sets. The increase of about 4% to 9% or 50 to 140 calories, however, may not be significant to guarantee faster fat-burning results but enough to produce changes over time.

Regimen Types Matter

While cardio is proven to pump up your heart faster, make you sweat more, and burn more calories, the exercise type still matters.

Swimming, for instance, doubles the fat-burning effect compared to plain steady-state jogging because of water pressure and sudden movements.

Time is also a factor. You may be better off sprinting than running a distance. Trainers recommend doing cardio bursts.

These are cardio sets that run quickly but intensely, such as indoor rowing or bike spinning. Read my review on rowing machines under $1000 in Australia if you are looking to purchase one for your home.

The same holds true for your weight training. Bench presses done in short blocks are expected to produce better results than prolonged barbell lifting.

Combining Exercise Programs

A growing number of Australian fitness researchers support HIIT or high-intensity interval training which ultimately combines weight, cardio training, and even moderate exercises.

A study that exposed participants to exercise bursts (e.g., sprints, cycling) found significant improvements in the cell’s powerhouse, mitochondria.

The change has thus reached the cellular level, not just physical appearance. Spending 20 minutes of HIIT will already create a profound difference in your lifestyle.

HIIT, however, isn’t ideal for doing every day. Your body requires rest to attain the maximum benefits of the exercise, be it weight, cardio, or any other type.

The proper question, therefore, shouldn’t be which of the two is better in burning fats but which is most appropriate for your present physical needs.

Trainers can assist you with needs assessment. At a certain point, you may first enhance your breathing (cardio) before you proceed with your strength training (weights), or the other way around.

You can also consider complementing your exercise by using a vibration machine to help you burn fat faster.

Emma Pyke
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