Lifting Vs. Cardio...which is better?
I am sure you’ve wondered which style of training is better to do and with all the information out there, it can be confusing.
It’s important to note that BOTH resistance training + cardio are beneficial in your regular exercise routine. Cardio is beneficial for cardiovascular health and some people really do enjoy it. I always think you should implement workouts that you LOVE, but I also think you should give resistance training a chance.
If your goal is simply fat loss (notice I didn’t just say weight loss)- resistance training is the way to go!
Many of you know that I actually worked in a gym for 8 years before I actually starting getting into working out. I had no idea how to lift weights and therefore stayed far away. After a bad breakup I decided I wanted to start getting healthier and “tone up” (cringy I know). I have always been very tall so I wasn’t overweight by any means- but carried some extra fat in my stomach/love handles area (most women do!). I was definitely very tall and lanky! I had no muscle what so ever. I also had NO clue what to eat- but that’s a post for a different day.
When I FIRST started working out I would start every workout with 45 min on the treadmill (Yes, 45 min!). Then I would do random machines depending upon which muscle group I thought I was training. Later I realized that I was often mixing up a lot of different muscle groups (for ex: shoulders and back) because I had no idea what I was doing lol (we ALL start somewhere!!). Getting through that first 45 min of cardio was brutal and BORING. I did see some weight loss (because I was in a deficit with the additional cardio I was doing and not eating enough), but I absolutely HATED doing it. I also wasn’t gaining ANY muscle (no surprise there). Bleh. So much time wasted.
I have found that most women start off with very similar gym routines to mine. We feel like we have to do copious amounts of cardio because it’s “safe”. You can’t really mess up walking on a treadmill. Nobody will make fun of you so it feels “comfortable”. Most women also just don’t know that doing tons of cardio is not going to give them the look they want.
Weight training is NOT just for men and you will NOT get bulky. Let’s clear that up right now. Women don’t have near as much testosterone as men do, meaning it takes us a lot longer to put on a decent amount of muscle. It’s A LOT harder than it seems to actually build muscle, I promise. In order to get that lean/”toned” look you want- you’re going to need to BUILD muscle then lose body fat to reveal it. If you don’t build the muscle you’ll just look what’s called “skinny fat”.
The only way to get BULKY is if you are lifting extremely heavy for YEARS and YEARS + eating in a caloric surplus (TONS OF FOOD) there for you gain a lot of fat AND using steroids/PED’s. You don’t just lift heavy in the gym and wake up bulky. That’s just not how it works.
Also let’s talk about how empowering it is to lift heavy weights! Most women are not challenging themselves enough. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy. Everything negative you’ve heard about it is a misconception. And please, don’t listen to what your grandma says about it- she really doesn’t know any better.
There are many reasons why exercise and lifting weights in general is beneficial but for this post, I really want to just talk about it in regards to fat loss.
WHY is resistance training is SO important????
Resistance training helps build lean muscle mass which actually allows your body to burn MORE calories at rest (than someone who doesn’t have as much muscle). The more muscle you have the more calories you burn!
You can actually burn just as many calories during resistance training workout as you can during a cardio workout.
You are burning more calories even after your workout is OVER than if you simply just did cardio.
If you are ONLY doing cardio sessions 5-7 days a week, you can definitely lose weight. However, notice I said weight and not fat. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are losing only fat- you are likely losing some muscle that you have as well. Not what most people want!
For optimal results (overall health and fat loss)-I recommend effective resistance training workouts (doesn’t need to be an hour every day either! 30-45 min is plenty!) along with a few cardio sessions (HIIT or steady state) per week. When I say effective I don’t mean jumping around using 5lb dumbbells doing all kinds of crazy “hiit” moves you see on IG from your favorite fitspo. Stick with the basics (squats, deadlifts, presses and etc) and add in different accessory work. The basics WORK and are the basics for a reason. Obviously you need to be in a deficit (burning more calories than consuming) as well or else you won’t lose weight. However, please keep in mind that exercise can help you get in that caloric deficit too- not just food!
It is not necessary to do 45 min of cardio every single day because you feel like you “have to”. You could get way better results with cutting those cardio sessions down and adding in resistance training instead!
If you’d like help with workouts, email me and I’d be happy to help you! TeachersGoneStrong@gmail.com