Which Is Better To Lose Weight: Cardio Or Weightlifting? Find The Answer Here!

Weight Loss


Published on: 24-Feb-2024


10 min read




Anushka Tripathi


Which Is Better To Lose Weight: Cardio Or Weightlifting? Find The Answer Here!

Which Is Better To Lose Weight: Cardio Or Weightlifting? Find The Answer Here!

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Do you want to lose weight but wondering whether cardio or weightlifting is more effective? The debate over which of these exercises is better has been going on for years. Both have their benefits, but ultimately, it comes down to personal goals and preferences. This is a common dilemma that many people face, and it can be difficult to decide which one to focus on. 

This blog explores the benefits of cardio and strength training, debunks common misconceptions surrounding these exercises, and provides tips on balancing them for optimal fitness. We will also discuss how to combine cardio and strength training to lose belly fat and answer some frequently asked questions about this topic. Keep on reading to know which is better, cardio or weightlifting.  

Table Of Contents

  1. Cardio or Weightlifting: Which One Is Best For Weight Loss?

  2. Cardio Vs Weight Training For Belly Fat

  3. Benefits Of Cardio Vs Weight Training

  4. Weight Training Vs Cardio For Weight Loss

  5. The Final Say

  6. FAQs

  7. References

Cardio Or Weightlifting: Which One Is Best For Weight Loss?

Cardio is great for burning calories during a workout. According to the Indian Journal of Nutrition, running in the morning on an empty stomach can burn 20% more body fat. After one day, complete the exercise and remove the weight. Strength training and cardio may help you achieve your weight loss goals.

1. Cardio Exercise Burns More Calories In One Session 

We all know that aerobic exercises such as running or cycling are good for burning calories quickly and effectively. These activities increase your heart rate and help you burn calories. 

Cardio exercise burns more calories in a shorter period than weight training. Cardio and weightlifting may be the best way to lose weight depending on personal preferences, goals, and physical abilities.

2. Weight Training Can Help You Burn More Calories Each Day

Many people believe aerobic exercise is the best way to go when it comes to losing weight. However, heavy training is just as effective if less practical. Weight training helps increase your metabolism by building muscle, which means you'll continue to burn calories even when you're not exercising.

Muscles are metabolically active tissues, and as they develop through weight training, they require more energy for maintenance. This leads to a higher resting metabolic rate, causing the body to burn more calories even at rest. The afterburn effect, scientifically termed excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also results in continued calorie consumption post-workout.

Also Read: Discover Food Calories Chart For Weight Loss With Categories And Tips

The Verdict: Cardio Vs. Weight Training 

The effectiveness of cardio vs. weightlifting depends on individual fitness goals and preferences. For overall health, a combination of both is often recommended. Note the following points first: 



  • Burns more calories per minute during the exercise session.

  • Burns calories during the workout and contributes to the afterburn effect.

  • Effective for immediate calorie expenditure and fat burning.

  • Builds lean muscle mass, elevating the resting metabolic rate.

  • Enhances cardiovascular health and endurance.

  • Promotes long-term weight management as muscle requires more energy.

  • Suitable for overall well-being and stress reduction.

  • Shapes and tones the body, enhancing overall physique.

Ex: People can burn 298 calories in 30 minutes by running at a pace of 12 minutes per mile. Alternatively, cycling at 25 kilometres per hour can burn 372 calories every 30 minutes.

Ex: A 155-pound person burns around 112 calories in 30 minutes of strength training. And a person can burn 223 calories every 30 minutes while lifting weights.


  • Combining both cardio and weightlifting in a well-rounded fitness routine is optimal.

  • Tailor the approach based on personal preferences, fitness goals, and health conditions.

  • Variety in workouts keeps the routine engaging and supports holistic fitness.

Also Read: Top 8 Benefits Of Cardio Training With Cardio Exercises

Cardio Vs Weight Training For Belly Fat

Belly fat does not decrease at different rates depending on how you train. “The fattest area will be the one that sticks out last.” For short-term weight loss, whether you do cardio or weight training is fine. Still, if you are trying to lose fat, weight training is almost certainly better because of the increased muscle mass and sustained burning ability that allows you to consume more calories at rest. Strength training is preferred over aerobic exercise because aerobic exercise can potentially burn fat and muscle. 

It is important to note that fat loss from certain areas, such as the abdomen, is not possible. However, combining aerobic exercise with strength training may help you reduce your overall body fat percentage, including belly fat. Some tips are mentioned here to lose belly fat through aerobic and strength training: 

  • To maximise fat burning, perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

  • Focus on compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously. 

  • Follow a proper meal plan and track your calories and macronutrients.

Benefits Of Cardio Vs Weight Training

The following are the benefits of cardio exercise vs. Weight training:

Cardio exercise 

Weight training exercise 

Raises heart rate and breathing rate

Cardio works are planned to promote your heart rate and breathing rate, which makes a difference in the progress of cardiovascular health.

Strengthen and build muscles

Weight training involves specific exercises for muscles to strengthen and strengthen them over time. This improves your overall performance and reduces the risk of injury.

Improves endurance

Customary cardio workouts can move your continuance forward over time, allowing you to work out for longer periods without feeling tired.

Increased bone density

Heavy training stresses your bones, which can help increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.

Burns calories

Cardio works out as a viable way to burn additional calories and lose weight.

Speed Up Metabolism

Muscles burn more calories than fat at rest, so weight training helps speed up metabolism and burn more calories per day

Improves mental well-being

Cardio workout discharges endorphins, which are common mood boosters that can offer assistance to diminish push and anxiety.

Improve athletic performance

Weight training helps increase strength, power and endurance, thus improving your athletic performance in various sports and activities.

Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease

Customary cardio work can offer assistance to decrease the chance of creating cardiovascular infection, such as heart assault, stroke, and high blood weight.

Improves overall health

Weight training improves overall health, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Weight Training Vs Cardio For Weight Loss

Both weight training and HIIT training can help you burn more calories if you do them in a circuit-like pattern to keep your heart rate up.

  • The role of cardio exercise in helping you lose weight is to burn calories. 

  • The more you move, the more calories your body burns. 

  • If you want to lose weight, you should do aerobic exercise for at least 250 minutes at least five days a week. 

  • Start slowly, walking for 10 minutes every three hours, and work your way up to 60 minutes of walking each day.

  • Strength training can help you lose and maintain weight by strengthening muscles. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate. 

  • Challenge yourself by lifting less weight. This is only sometimes recommended, but if you want to build muscle faster, it's better to lift a heavier weight and repeat 8 to 12 times rather than lift a heavier weight and repeat 15 to 20 times.

  • As you move to heavier and heavier weights, you do more than just cardio; this is still good for your body, but it will build less muscle.

  • Choose your favourite aerobic exercise. The more you enjoy exercise, the more you will stick to your routine.

  • If you are just starting or have an illness that makes running or cycling difficult, start by walking and increase your exercise duration and speed as you get stronger.

Also Read: Strength Training For Weight Loss: Workouts & Benefits

The Final Say

The truth is, there's no single "winner" in the cardio vs. weightlifting battle for weight loss. Both offer unique benefits, and the best approach often involves embracing a combination of both. Cardio can burn more calories at once and produce rapid results, while lifting weights helps you burn more calories and build muscle throughout the day.

Ultimately, the best way would be to combine different types of exercise to get the most results. However, it should be remembered that more than exercise alone is needed for long-term weight loss. Consider your preferences, goals, diet and fitness level to create a plan that fuels your body and fires up your metabolism!


1. Is it better to do weight training first or do cardio exercise first? 

The order depends on your fitness goals. If strength is your priority, lift weights first. If your goal is endurance or weight loss, start with aerobic exercise. Listen to your body and enjoy both.

2. Which is harder cardio or weightlifting?

Cardiovascular exercise burns more calories compared to weight training. Nevertheless, the metabolism stays elevated longer after weight training than cardio. Weightlifting is better for building muscle. Thus, the ideal exercise program should include cardio and weight training to improve body composition and overall health.

3. Can you lose weight by lifting weights?

You can burn fat quite efficiently by simply lifting heavy weights! That is a crucial point: the weights need to be heavy. You should be able to perform up to 12 reps per set. Otherwise, you are approaching muscular endurance territory and will only reap some benefits of weight training.

4. Is it okay to lift weights and do a cardio program?

Strength training and cardio programs can both be incorporated into your workout routine. Your fitness goals may help you decide whether to do cardio before or after weights.

5. What are the benefits of cardio and weight lifting?

Here are some benefits of cardio and weight training:

  • Improves heart health

  • Burns calories efficiently

  • Losing weight

  • Better functional strength

  • Enhances mood

  • Management of diabetes

  • Stress relief

  • Bone health


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