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Community Advocacy Organization


Updated: Jun 28, 2020

By Shawn Clark

Cardio Vs Weight Training has been somewhat of a debate in the fitness community for an age now. It’s the age-old debate of whether you should be using cardio or weight training to more effectively lose weight.

When people say losing weight, what they really mean is losing fat. The aim of any diet and exercise plan is to lose fat but what type of exercise is more beneficial when it comes to losing fat? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both weight training and cardio and see which is more effective for people looking to lose fat.


The benefits of weight training are massive. Weight training increases the production of testosterone. Some of the exercises to boost testosterone will increase the testosterone in your body enough that you’ll be losing more fat. It might seem like a negative thing for women to increase their testosterone production but a higher testosterone level actually helps with weight loss.

Obviously, weight training increases your lean muscle mass. I know that women often think that weight training and gaining muscle mass will make them bulky but actually increasing muscle mass is massively beneficial for weight loss. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat.

When you weight train your body produces a sustained metabolic increase. But how does that affect your weight loss? Well, it basically means that you’ll be burning calories even after you’ve finished your workout because the muscles will be burning calories to repair and recover. Even when you’re sitting down you’ll be burning more calories after weight training session than you would do otherwise. And when you combine that sustained metabolic increase with certain supplements you’ll see the weight dropping off.

Weight training is actually easier to start than cardio when you’re unfit. You know when you go for that first run and you feel like you’re dying? Yeah, when you’re weight training that’s not going to happen which means it’s easier to actually start weight training than it is to start cardio.


Cardio sessions burn more calories than weight training does. You know it, I know it, it’s one of the most commonly known things about exercise. If you’re going to train for an hour, you’ll be burning a hell of a lot fewer calories than if you were to do cardio for an hour.

The only problem with cardio is that, even though you burn more calories minute per minute, you’re likely not going to be able to do high-intensity cardio for a sustained amount of time. Since cardio doesn’t increase your pheromone levels or give you the sustained metabolic increase, the benefits of the higher minute per minute calorie burn isn’t actually as significant as you think.

HIIT is actually the most effective form of cardio. But a lot of different things can be considered cardio such as walking. And actually, anyone can walk. This means that cardio is often easier to incorporate into your life than it is to be hitting the gym and doing a weight training session.

Cardio can actually act as an appetite suppressant. There have been studies that have shown that by doing 15 minutes of cardio people actually went on to eat 11% less in the day than those who didn’t do cardio. Obviously, you want to be suppressing your appetite when losing weight so if even 15 minutes of cardio can make such a massive difference then it should be part of your exercise regime if you’re looking to lose weight.

Now we’ve seen all about the benefits of each type of exercise, but what are the cons?


You know that we just talked about the appetite suppressing benefits of cardio? Well, weight training actually increases your appetite. Because your muscles get shredded during your work out and then they have to repair themselves – that’s how you get them gains bro – your appetite actually increases so you want to eat enough food to help the muscles recover.

If you’re a woman, the increase in appetite is actually a lot worse. We’re pre-programmed to eat more and store more fat to help with pregnancy and breastfeeding. But if you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding those added pounds due to our gender is pretty annoying.

You might think that if weight training doesn’t burn as many calories per minute as cardio, why don’t you just do a longer training session? Well, that’s not good for you either. Longer training sessions are actually counterproductive. And with the lack of good information on proper training and form for exercises, it can be riskier to cause serious injury to your body.


Studies have actually shown that even though doing cardio results in more weight loss you’re actually losing muscle mass too. No matter what, losing muscle mass is not good. When losing weight you should be looking to decrease your fat but keep your lean muscle mass. But people doing cardio lost muscle mass and those who were weight training did not.

Because you’re losing muscle mass it can actually be pretty hard to get a balanced physique by doing cardio alone. Without building muscle mass you’re not going to achieve the toned physique that you’re looking for when losing weight. This means you could actually end up looking heavier than you actually are because your body is lacking that tone.

It’s actually pretty hard for unfit people to get into. We talked about this above. You know, that dying feeling when you first start doing cardio? That means that people are less likely to continue an exercise routine consisting of cardio for long enough for it to actually stick and for that dying feeling to go away.

The worst thing we’ve actually found out is that cardio is actually really bad for your hormones. A longer session of high-intensity cardio actually provokes the circulation of cortisol. Yes, the stress hormone. And actually this isn’t just bad for your overall mental health but it’s actually bad for your weight loss too as higher cortisol levels in the body make it harder for you to lose weight.

So we know what the pros and cons of each type of exercise is but which one is actually the most beneficial for weight loss overall?


Honestly, both. I mean just look at everything we’ve talked about above. If you’re really looking to incorporate exercise into your regime you need to be doing something from each.

Balance is key when it comes to exercise though. You need to be doing more weight training and less cardio. If you’re a woman and you’re worried about bulking up too much, you don’t need to. To get a muscular physique it takes a lot of sustained effort and an intensive training regime to get that kind of body. You’re not going to bulk up that much by hitting the weights a few times a week.

The thing is if you want to have a good, toned physique weight training is an absolute must. When you’re regularly weight training you’re going to be increasing your muscle mass and lowering your body fat. When you increase your muscle mass you’ll be increasing your metabolism and so improving your body’s ability to burn fat. You need to be increasing muscle mass for your weight loss to be significant.

This doesn’t mean you should cut out cardio completely. A session or two of High-Intensity Interval Training each week is really a must to complement your weight training regime. By building muscle with weight training and burning off the fat on top with your cardio sessions you should start to see some significant weight loss.

Of course, there’s one thing you should always remember when you’re thinking about weight loss and that is to make sure your diet is on point. Diet or exercise alone isn’t actually that effective but when you combine the two you’ll actually be able to make a real difference towards achieving those weight loss goals.


I think it’s pretty clear that both forms of exercise have their pros and cons. But when you combine both types of exercise you’re going to be getting the best of both worlds. By doing both weight training and cardio you’ll be able to build lean muscle mass and lose fat at the most optimum rate possible.

If you’re a woman you shouldn’t be afraid of adding weight training to your workouts. By weight training, you’ll be able to achieve a much better physique – those booty gains – and improve your overall weight loss results.

It’s also important to remember that exercise alone won’t benefit your weight loss much. You need to be making sure you’re eating right and not eating too much. Always remember to eat less than you expend and to make sure you’re eating the right foods too to keep your body nourished.

Check out more of Shawn's work here

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