Should I Do Cardio or Lift Weights to Lose Weight?
Not Sure If Cardio or Lifting Weights Is Better For Weight Loss? Here's What 2 Experts Have to Say
The Benefits of Lifting Weights For Weight Loss
Regardless of your fitness goals, I think every person can benefit from adding strength training into their workout routine. According to a review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, "The general benefits of strength training for both men and women include an increase in bone mass and lean mass, improved body composition (due to decreased fat mass), cardiovascular fitness, strength, and an enhanced sense of well being."
"For purely weight loss in the short-term, or even medium-term (a few weeks or a month), the answer is: it probably doesn't matter," Dr. Harrison told POPSUGAR. "But in the long-term, if you had to pick one, weight training is almost certainly better because of your increased muscle mass and its ability to continue to burn more calories at rest," he explained. According to Dr. Harrison, most people don't actually want to lose weight because they'll end up losing both fat and muscle. Instead, he said, most people want to lose fat and maintain and build muscle.
Strength training is also one of the best ways to boost your metabolism. Because you're building more muscle, which is more metabolically active than fat and requires more energy, you'll be burning more fat and calories than if you had less muscle and, as a result, losing weight.
Although everyone is unique and responds to exercise differently, I generally recommend starting with three days of strength training and one to two cardio sessions a week. There are a variety of ways to set up your workouts; you can make them specific to a muscle group (arms, back, legs, glutes) or do a full-body workout. "For the superdedicated folks, I'll have them do six days per week of lifting with only light cardio on their one 'rest' day," Dr. Harrison said. If that won't work with your schedule or feels like too much, too soon, Dr. Harrison said to do four days of strength training per week, focusing on full-body workouts.