Cardio VS Weight Training

Cardio VS Weight Training

Welcome to cardio vs weight training, this article is going to categorize these two unique fitness styles, by looking at athletic and goal performance objectives. To help you gain your best sports or fitness direction this year. 

Weight training has exploded exponentially as a major fitness component in most muscle building and dietary weight loss lifestyles and is equally promoted and encouraged in women.

I will try to bring some understanding to where and how both have their place and level of importance, so... let’s check it out.

Cardio vs Weight Training: Getting Started

Examining one of the first things in cardio vs weight training should be: recognizing exactly what you want to achieve in your fitness-weight training or cardio-based goals.

Simply put: how do you want to look or appear to yourself, and how much time are you prepared to commit do... to get there

This may not sound like much, but having a clear idea in your mind about cardio as apposed to weight training while focusing this direction towards your goal, will help you decide which may be more appropriate for your needs 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 muscle toned from a good weight training program.

If you're a complete beginner or somewhat new to exercise, seeing your health care provider to help give some good guidance towards a responsible fitness program for you along with some...

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

Cardio and weight training are two vastly different fitness and exercise styles, as cardio is 'aerobic' often with an endurance factor...

Weight training is 'anaerobic': this conditioning can primarily be used to achieve longer-lasting weight loss results, the promotion of new muscle growth is achieved by manipulating set and rep ranges...

Both forms of fitness should have intensity added to them over time in order to see any serious or noticeable results.

Why Do We Perform Cardio Conditioning?

Let’s look at the body in general terms, to see where some of the differences in cardio vs weight training come into play: Besides the skeleton, skin, brain and nervous system, there are two main components to the body’s structure regarding fitness and vitality to life as we know it.

First let’s start with: (cardio-respiratory conditioning).

Cardio/pulmonary system

The First primary component of cardio for the most part is: increasing the efficiency of the cardio pulmonary operating system that runs our day to day lives.

This also increases muscle oxygen efficiency in energy production-towards the aerobic activity you’re engaging in.

Cardio-based conditioning also increases endurance efficiency of the most important muscle you have: your heart! Cardio conditioning also increases lung capacity to produce and oxygenate blood levels as greater demands become increased.

Major arterial vessels, veins and capillaries grow in size and wall thickness to accommodate for greater oxygen and blood flow.

The Second component to Cardio conditioning provides a calorie expenditure resulting in weight loss, but... extended periods of cardio or aerobic training, (in-excess of 45 mins), releases higher levels of ‘cortisol’.

This hormone is primarily responsible for encouraging the loss of lean muscle mass (something you don’t want).

This is a natural nervous system response to extended periods of cardio, hard work or a laborious work day stimulates a catabolic response within the metabolism, keeping fat stores and muscle tissue usage evenly consumed by the body.

On the plus side where where a comparison in cardio vs weight training is concerned: aerobic activity burns and reduces fat deposits in the mid-section and over-all body evenly, (which is something you do want)

...more on this further down.

Cardio vs Weight Training 

Weight Training:

Another component and equally as important to the vitality, enjoyment and wellness of life, resides in the strength and development of lean muscle.

Cardio and weight training can have a tendency to be misunderstood. The effects of weight or resistance contraction-training using multi-joint exercises simultaneously accomplishes three distinct things.

Weight training and the after burn effect:                                                 

  1. As muscles become conditioned; you effectively activate 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), as-high-as 20-30 hours after weight training. Understandably adding up to a lot of calorie burning stimulation for that one hour in the gym.

  3. Studies have proven-the effects of vigorous weight resistance training of 3 to 4 times a week of regular conditioning exercises, you can expect to burn between 8 -10 extra calories per hour for each hour after working out.

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?   

If you do the math over the course of each day and week...

Then it becomes very clear, where some differences are found in cardio vs weight training as opposed to only performing aerobics - which only has these lasting effects during the time you're in the target range; then these effects diminish rapidly on completion

Increasing Muscle Size and Strength Increases 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 workout, to break down cardio and weight training. Feel free to adjust the time frames to suit fitness goals and energy levels.

The graph is merely a guide to help produce positive results.

In order to get your best results from cardio training try to vary 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 while decreasing 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 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 or daily activity are essentially what is going to burn the majority of the calories you ingest. Conditioned muscle = the greatest calorie fat burning machine you possess.  

Women don't worry about becoming bulky or thick from weight training!

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.

Meaning: you don’t have to worry about becoming large; as a women you naturally produce a greater abundance of the feminine hormone - (estrogen).

Why Most People Go To The Gym?

Weigh Scale

Some tend to go to the gym to work out and feel better, but are primarily interested in burning calories.

With that said, books, magazines, TV commercials and their sales ads, 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 a gym or at home - whether you exercise using cardio or weight training or both as a fitness lifestyle and basing it only on how many calories you’re burning doesn’t have much in the way of longevity towards a fitness goal.

Don’t let magazine articles undermine the positive efforts of any serious, responsible fitness lifestyle you wish to embark on.

Building, sculpting and shaping muscle is ultimately what makes you notice yourself...

all too often I have seen men and women weighing 20 or 30 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 - not how you look or feel. 

Counting calories does have its place; try to save most of your calorie counting for the foods that you purchase, know what you're buying.

Know what calories are coming from which sources of fat or sugar in your foods as well as sodium levels; is what adds the final polish to how you look.

The Spirit of Weight Training

Cardio vs Weight Training

The spirit of weight training is seldom mentioned, with any depth of affection.

This is where incorporating weight training begins to change the rules and the boundaries of how you see and do things.

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.

As any physical or spiritual path that we take in life, builds 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 fitness 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. Everyone knows there's nothing easy about the free weight part of any gym.

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

Working with steel is the essence of what builds a better body and a real physique that becomes a head turner and something that you’ll have forever, if you take care of it. 

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 over extended periods
  •  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  your body may not resemble the dream you had for it.

Concluding: Cardio vs Weight Training

Some misunderstanding that shadows cardio and weight training can come from lack of knowledge; as these are two different exercise forms. As mentioned: cardio or aerobic conditioning is exercise used to strengthen and condition the vitality and pulmonary system.

Anaerobic or weight resistance training is another set of exercise tools that we use to develop muscle, while improving bone and tendon strength.

Cardio and weight training should be viewed as parts of each other to physically complete and unify the bodies strength and cardio conditioning.

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

Equally as important; is a continued effort to progressively increase strength and muscle efficiency - nowhere does this become more important in this increase in strength and flexibility as we grow and mature in age, from the many (benefits of weight training).

Muscle size, shape, density and tone are what changes 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 models used to achieve muscle/cardio conditioning, and loss of unwanted pounds.

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, most positive, and realistic deciding factor in exactly what you will see and receive from your efforts.

 I hope some light has been shed on cardio vs weight training for you. 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 try to inspire and share that knowledge with others.


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