Cardio vs Weight Training

Cardio vs weight training

Welcome to cardio vs weight training, I want to include everyone from all ages and lifting levels. As time seems to pass, the medical community, magazines and televised media attention seems to be giving-way to old myths and ideals.

Weight training has begun to seriously blossom and become a major fitness component in all muscle building and dietary fat loss lifestyles and is equally promoted and encouraged in women. I will try to bring some clarity and deeper understanding to where and how both have their place and level of importance. So let’s get started.

Cardio vs Weight Training: Getting Started

One of the first things to be addressed with cardio vs weight training should be your ability to understand exactly what you want to achieve in regards to your fitness-weight training or cardio-based goals.

Simply put: how do you want to look or appear to yourself, and what are you prepared to do to get there?

This may not sound like much, but having a clear idea in your mind about cardio as a apposed to weight training and a good direction of your goal and a plan towards it, will help you decide which may be more appropriate for you in the beginning. 

Perhaps your goal with the introduction of cardio training is simply to lose weight and nothing more. The only problem with having this idea in mind is that you may not be totally happy with the outcome.

Loose skin and unconditioned muscle does not look nearly as tight and attractive as muscles that are toned from a good weight training program and clean eating efforts.

If you are at a beginners level and feel you are over weight, I would suggest seeing your health care provider to see what he or she has to say about a responsible fitness program for you.

Proper nutritious eating habits along with very low impact style cardio training might be a good place to start.

Cardio and weight training are two vastly different aspects of fitness and exercise, as cardio is 'aerobic' based...

Weight training is 'anaerobic': this conditioning can primarily be used to achieve longer-lasting weight loss results from the stimulation of weight training and new muscle growth. Both forms of fitness need to have intensity added to them in order to see any serious or noticeable results.

See (weight training sets), (weightlifting reps), for more specific and helpful weight training information.

Let’s first look at the body in general terms, so we can see where some of the more important aspects of cardio vs weight training exist: Besides the skeleton, skin, and nervous system, there are two main components to the body’s structure regarding fitness and vitality to life as we know it.

Let’s start with the first: (cardio-respiratory conditioning).

Why Do We Perform Cardio Conditioning?

Cardio/pulmonary system

The first primary component of cardio: for the most part is: we perform cardiovascular fitness/conditioning to increase the efficiency of the cardio pulmonary operating system that runs our day to day lives.

This also includes the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy towards the aerobic activity you’re engaging in.

The continuation of cardio-based conditioning will also add to the overall efficiency and endurance of the most important muscle you have: your heart. This conditioning also builds and strengthens the lungs capacity to produce and oxidize the blood for the greater demands put on it.

Major arterial vessels, veins and capillaries grow in size and wall thickness to accommodate for greater oxygen and blood flow, from increasing cardio/aerobic activity.

Cardiovascular conditioning definitely helps with losing weight and building overall endurance-based conditioning. Cardio or aerobic training promotes and releases higher levels of ‘cortisol’. This hormone is primarily responsible for encouraging the loss of lean muscle mass (something you don’t want).

But on the plus side between cardio vs weight training is; aerobics burn and reduce fat deposits in the mid-section and through-out  the over-all body, (which is something you do want), more on this further down.

Conditioning the cardiovascular and pulmonary system of our bodies is also important for the day-to-day operations of the heart and lungs, and their efficiency to transport blood oxygen and nutrients throughout the entire  body.

Cardio vs Weight Training 

The second main component: And equally as important to the vitality, enjoyment and wellness of our lives resides within the strength and development of the muscles themselves:

Cardio vs weight training has the greatest tendency to be misunderstood by so many, including some experts. The effects of weight and resistance contraction based training using multi-joint exercises with strict form, effectively accomplishes two distinct things.

Weight training and the after burn effect:

Unlike cardio based exercises on their own, raw weight resistance training using compound exercises with continued progressive effort to build and strengthen these multi-grouped muscles, such as the legs back and chest, will produce the best results for you.                                                                 

See (Beginners weight routine) or (Intermediate weight training).

  1. As you develop and condition your muscles with this type of training you effectively raise the metabolism of these working muscles. With consistent effort from this type of physical conditioning, diet and muscle-tissue-repair increases metabolism and calories burnt over a greater period of time.
  2. This rejuvenating process will elevate the metabolism or your RMR (resting metabolic rate), for up to 35 hours after weight training. This is an incredible amount of calorie burning stimulation for that one hour in the gym that you continue to receive from weight training.
  3. Studies have proven the effects of vigorous weight resistance training of 3 to 4 times a week of regular conditioning of your muscles, you can expect to burn between 8 to10 extra calories per hour for each hour after working out, for up to 35 hours after each workout.

You will actually burn calories by-sitting on the couch, driving your car, or lying in bed: That’s a hell of a return for your investment, for the time spent in the gym is it not?   

This may not sound like much; unless you do the math over the course of each day and week.

Then it becomes very clear, very quickly what you’re achieving through cardio vs. weight training as opposed to only performing aerobics - which only has these lasting effects during the time that you are in your target range; then its effects diminish almost immediately.                                             

Increasing your muscle size and strength increases the efficiency of your bodies thermal calorie burning furnace  

I have made a graph to give you an idea, of time and intensity devoted to a one hour time frame work-out regarding cardio vs weight training. You can adjust this to the time frames you feel you need for your fitness goals and energy levels.

The graph is merely a guide, but does and will help produce very good results for you.

In order to get your best results from cardio training you should attempt every effort, to vary your intensity for this 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic activity. E.g. two minutes at a steady manageable pace, followed by 2 to 3 minutes at an intense pace.

This may sound easy, but give it a try. This increases heart and calorie burning efficiency, and decreases boredom.

Pie chart weight training vs cardio

Learn to look at your body like that of a furnace:

Besides the brain and central nervous system, the muscles primarily demand the most fuel; this fuel for the most part should come in the form of complex carbohydrates.

As these are broken down and transported, they are stored in the muscle as glycogen which in turn is used for fuel. See (weight lifting diet ).

With that said: if you ingest more calories than your body can naturally burn between each meal, the excess of this can be stored as body fat. Ultimately, this is what gets most to the gym, preforming cardio and eating salads.

The thermal activity that your muscles naturally produce from vigorous weight training and your daily activities, are essentially what is going to burn the majority of the calories you ingest.

In regards to cardio vs weight training, the effort and intensity you expend towards resistance exercise to develop and build your muscles will become the greatest calorie and fat burning machine you have, period!   

Regarding, Female weight training  you don't have to worry about becoming bulky or thick!

Women naturally have the muscle building hormone (testosterone), but is not produced in near the same quantity in women, as in men. As females, you only have about 10% of this hormonal benefit effectively working for you, as opposed to males.

The point here is: you don’t have to worry about getting huge muscles, as females are protected against this from the abundance of the hormone (estrogen), and altering this can only be done by using performance-enhancing drugs.


Why Most People Go To The Gym?

Weigh Scale

My experience has led me to believe that for the most part; people tend to go to the gym to work out and feel better, but are primarily interested in burning calories.

With that said, a lot of the books, magazines, TV infomercials and their sales ads out there generally are gearing your attention to; count and burn calories, period!’

This is unfair to the beginner or to the uninformed, and grossly taken out of context. This should not be the only reason for going to the gym.

Training at home or performing cardio and weight training as a fitness lifestyle of any kind in your life, and basing it only on how many calories you’re burning doesn’t really have a lot of longevity towards a good plan to arrive at your fitness goal.

Don’t let the media effort of trying to sell magazine articles undermine the positive efforts of any serious and responsible fitness lifestyle you wish to embark on.

Building, sculpting and shaping your muscles, tendons and your bone structure, is ultimately what makes you notice and visually see yourself in a different light...

all too often I have seen men and women weighing 30 or 40 pounds over what the American and Canadian food guides recommend we should, but... 

They look great, simply because their body and muscle mass suits and fits their bone structure. The weigh scale can do one thing: it can tell you what you weigh, but it cannot tell you how you look. 

counting calories does have its place, try to save most of your calorie counting the foods that you buy know what you're buying to know what the fat, salt, sugar and calorie count is in your foods, because this will have a bigger impact on how you look.

The Spirit of Weight Training

Arm curls

The spirit of weight training is seldom mentioned, with any depth of affection, meaning; this is where incorporating weight training as a lifestyle begins to change the rules and the boundaries of how you see and do things in your life.

The spirit of weight training has to be lived to be understood. It will not be found in the calorie counting articles in magazines, nor will it be found in articles written by doctors and magazine editors that have rarely worked out with weights...

It also won’t explain how the weigh scale does or doesn’t move in your favor.

Working towards a deeper understanding of yourself spiritually and working towards trying to achieve physical excellence takes courage.

As any physical or spiritual path that we take in life, is a discipline. Self-discipline is something that has to be worked on and nurtured each day as we run in to obstacles that will surely test the hunger of your goal regularly.

The point made here in cardio vs weight training is: that there is a perfectly good reason why people search for their answers in calorie counting magazines...

The answer is the same one you’ll find in every gym after dinner time. 80 to 90% of the people are on the cardio machines with hopes of burning lots of calories and reducing body fat.

The majority of people that are using the cardio machines are there simply because it’s easy. They know perfectly well there's nothing, easy about the free weight part of any gym.

But this is where the the real construction of the physique is built. This is where lines of definition and symmetry, contours, shape and shadows are created.

This is the essence of what builds a better body and a real physique that becomes a head turner – this is something that you’ll have for as long as you want, and train for. 

Pros and cons of cardio:

 The pros:

  •  Increases cardiovascular endurance

  •  Builds the vessel and capillary size and thickness
  •  Increases heart and lung efficiency
  •  greater Increase of blood and oxygen flow
  •  Burns calories

Cons and misconceptions:

  •  Also burns lean muscle mass
  •  If not enough clean calories are ingested, intense aerobic activity uses      muscle tissue for fuel.
  •  Over-reliance on aerobics and counting calories alone to create a better  body
  •  Frustration when cardio, calorie counting and weight loss goals are  realized, but body looks nothing like the dream you had for it.

Concluding: Cardio vs Weight Training

Some misunderstanding surrounding cardio vs weight training is usually from lack of knowledge, from these two very different exercise forms. As I’ve mentioned, cardio or aerobics is exercise used to achieve and strengthen your pulmonary system, which is vital to your life.

Anaerobic or weight resistance training, of course is another set of exercise tools that we use to develop the muscles and strengthen the bones and the tendons associated to them. Effectively, these are both parts of each other and should be understood this way, to complete the body in its entirety, physically.

As our bodies age, they enter into different phases as we go through each cycle in life. Cardio conditioning is important and vital to the efficiency of your pulmonary system.

Just as important, is a continued effort to progressively make your bodies muscles stronger and more efficient as you grow and mature in age - does this become more important for you to increase the strength and flexibility of each muscle group? See (benefits weight training).

Muscle size, shape, density and tone are what truly change the contours and dynamics in your physique.

The combination of what is better known as concurrent training: or (both aerobic and resistance training combined in a single work out), is probably one of the best modes of exercise for building muscle, and particularly for the achievement of fat loss.

The real key in cardio vs weight training or where the secret or mystery lies...

(if there is any)... can be found in one word: ‘Intensity’.

Summon your passion of what you desire and focus your training intensity towards it: will be the biggest and most positive, realistic and deciding factor in exactly what you will see and receive from your efforts towards cardio and weight training...

Simply put: your ability and desire to stay focused on what you want, will become your reality.

I would like to leave in part by saying I hope this brings some understanding to cardio vs weight training. Love and enjoy your body as well as the training that you give to it. As you learn and gain in your knowledge, never be afraid to push yourself toward your goal and experiment; and share that knowledge with others. DWT

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