Can you really lose more weight with strength training than cardio?

The debate between strength training and cardio exercises has garnered attention in the quest for effective weight loss strategies [1]. 

While both approaches contribute to shedding pounds, recent insights challenge the conventional belief that cardio is the superior path to weight loss. One significant revelation suggests that strength training may outperform cardio in weight management [2]. 

Unlike the traditional emphasis on calorie burning during cardio workouts, strength training introduces a compelling dynamic: the afterburn effect. This phenomenon, scientifically known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), denotes the increased calorie expenditure post-exercise [3].

Strength training triggers a prolonged elevation in metabolic rate, facilitating continued calorie burn even after the workout has concluded. This unique attribute positions strength training as a formidable contender in the weight loss arena.

In addition, the impact of strength training extends beyond the physical workout session. It plays a pivotal role in sculpting lean muscle mass, which proves crucial for sustaining weight loss

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Muscles are metabolically active tissues, consuming more calories at rest than fat tissue. Therefore, the more lean muscle mass one possesses, the higher the basal metabolic rate, fostering continuous calorie utilization and enhancing weight management.

Contrary to the popular belief that cardio exclusively targets fat loss, studies indicate it can also lead to muscle loss [4]. Excessive cardio, especially in a calorie deficit, may prompt the body to break down muscle tissue for energy.

In contrast, strength training preserves existing muscle mass and stimulates its growth [5]. This dual benefit contributes to a healthier body composition, where fat is reduced and muscle is maintained or increased.

While acknowledging the effectiveness of strength training, it’s essential to recognize the synergy achievable by combining both modalities. A comprehensive fitness approach incorporating strength training and cardio harnesses their respective advantages.

Cardio exercises remain crucial for cardiovascular health, enhancing endurance and fostering overall wellbeing. These elements create a holistic fitness routine that addresses weight loss, muscle development and cardiovascular fitness.

The age-old contradiction between strength training and cardio for weight loss has witnessed a paradigm shift.

The efficacy of strength training, characterized by the afterburn effect and muscle-centric benefits, challenges the dominance traditionally attributed to cardio.

Embracing a balanced approach that integrates both modalities emerges as a potent strategy, catering to diverse fitness goals and ensuring a well-rounded journey toward sustained weight loss and overall health.

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