If your primary goal is weight loss, you want to burn calories and build muscle mass. Therefore, for optimal benefits, include both cardio and strength training in your workout routine. Both weight training and cardio offer weight loss benefits. Resistance training and aerobic activity also provide other health benefits.
So you don’t have to choose one or the other. Try to include both types of training in your training plan. This balanced training approach can not only help you get closer to your weight loss goals, but it can also help you stay fit, healthy, and healthy. If you want to tone your muscles and sculpt muscles at the same time, every week is the best way to achieve your body composition and aesthetic goals.
Exercises with weights — and this can be done with body weight or with additional resistance — help promote good bone health. Increasing the amount of lean tissue in your body improves your overall body composition and may even provide some metabolic benefits to facilitate weight loss. If cycling is more your thing, then investing in a bike (plus bike helmet and bike lights, please) is a great way to incorporate more cardio training into your life. Lifting weights can help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality (it’s even been established as an alternative treatment for sleep disorders).
Or if you have less time to work out, you can do three 25-minute, high-intensity workouts each week that include intense aerobic activity combined with muscle-strengthening activities. Minute by minute, cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than weight training due to continuous intensity. Any scenario in which you combine endurance training and strength training into a comprehensive exercise program helps you build muscle, improve cardiovascular fitness, contribute to weight loss, and may also meet current physical activity guidelines for Americans. The most beneficial way to do this is to eat less, lift weights (to maintain as much muscle as possible), and use cardio training sparingly to burn a few more calories (or you could just eat less).
Both cardio training and weights can be used to burn calories, but only weight training has the ability to burn calories AND build muscle (or, more importantly, not LOSE muscle). On the other hand, resistance training includes everything from weights to strength training to circuit training — anything that requires you to work against resistance to build strength. If you’re trying to get rid of back fat or lose belly fat) with a University of Alabama study showing a higher loss of belly fat in women who lift weights than in women who have just done cardiovascular exercises. You want to feel like you’re working out best to achieve your goals, whether it’s increasing your strength or changing your body composition, so we’re here to help.
Anisha Shah, MD, is a board-certified internist, interventional cardiologist, and fellow of the American College of Cardiology. By focusing on fat loss, which can be measured using skin fold calipers or various body scans, you can more closely monitor fat and muscle loss during the diet phase.