Fitness & Equipment Guides > Should I Do Weights or Cardio For Weight Loss?

Should I Do Weights or Cardio For Weight Loss?

25th Jan 19

When it comes to fitness goals, weight loss is easily one of the most common. People want to feel confident with themselves and their bodies, and weight loss seems to be the to-go-to goal to do this before toning up and building muscle. Maintaining a healthy weight is important after all. The question is, though, are weights or cardio better for weight loss?

The age-old argument is that cardio burns off calories without building muscle, so it’s the best way to go about it. There is some truth to this, but it’s not entirely accurate. All training burns off calories, including weight training, so deciding which is the better of the two overall will take a lot more than that.


Woman running on a treadmill in the gym

Starting with cardiovascular exercise, it’s a great way to work out. There are a lot of different ways you can go about doing it, from walking or running, to cycling, and even to swimming or endurance sports. You can find what you love and do it pretty much as often as you want. What could be better?

Even on top of that, there are different ways to do it too! Cardio and weight training both have variation, but cardio in particular really gives you a huge range to work with.

Here are some of the most popular training styles:


As you’re doing more and more cardio, you’ll likely start to find about LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) training. It’s basically sticking with one long, consistent exercise level for a long duration to burn as much fat as possible. It means to you find the exercise that works for you and just keep it up for an hour or so.

If you can keep this up over a few days a week or so, it can be an awesome way to burn a huge number of calories every single time you do it. It’s not really debatable.


HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training is a training style packing in a huge amount of energy (and calories) in a not so huge amount of time. It means you need to work in intervals of around 30 seconds with 30-second breaks for 15-20 minutes. When you do work, you go all out unlike pacing yourself as you normally would. It’s hard work, but it pays off if you give it your all.

You can do it with petty much any cardio exercise, whether you’re on an exercise machine or you’re in the pool or on the track. that’s just another reason it’s so useful. Calorie burn here is second to none, but it is not an easy feat. If you don’t like the intensity, it’s off-putting, to say the least.


Woman training with dumbbells in a gym

Weight training is the other huge training style in the mix. It’s famous for a number of different fitness goals, and weight loss is actually one of them. It may seem a little bit counter-intuitive because of an increase in muscle mass as a result of weight training but stick with us.

Calorie burn

Weight training burns calories while you are exercising. You’re still doing a lot of work after all right? Well, although this isn’t quite as much as you may burn in your typical cardio workout, there is another side to it, and that comes from the after-burn effect.

This effect does affect cardio too, but strength a lot more. Once you finish the workout, for the hours after, your body keeps burning calories. It’s incredible. Your body is fixing all of the damage you have done and getting you back into a good resting state, and that takes energy. that’s great for your long term calorie burn!

Resting Energy Expenditure and Metabolism

Weight training burns a lot of calories during the workout itself which is always good. On top of that, it also has weight-loss factors that are obvious subtle too though. When you finish your weight training workout, and your body is building more muscle as you recover, you’ll actually be burning more calories in general day to day life.

Your caloric needs will be larger than they were before training, which means that doing the exact same daily routines after a month of weight training will use more energy than it did before or from losing the weight in the first place! It’s an important thing to keep in mind, but both weights and cardio have similar effects in that sense, just not to the same degree.

So, what’s the answer?

Well, it’s not as black and white as it might seem. Weight loss is entirely dependent on making a calorie deficit in your day. You need to be burning more energy than you’re consuming consistently, or you won’t see the results no matter how hard you train. (Here’s a little more.)

It’s always a good idea to bring different training techniques together in your fitness. Variation is the best way to prevent your body from becoming complacent and slowing down your progress even though you might be putting in the same amount of energy. So why not do both?

No one is saying that you should become a bodybuilder and start lifting huge weights to lose the weight you want to lose, but resistance training or even weighted cardio can do miracles for your progress! Mix it Up.

No matter how you train, make sure that you’re eating well and treating your body the way it should be, watch your calorie intake, and you’ll see the weight loss take place. DO NOT starve yourself, or the progress will stop, and don’t make things too hard for yourself if you’re thinking about keeping this up long term! There’s more to weight loss than deciding between cardio or weights.

For more ideas, here are a few things to look at specifically too. General Banner

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.