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Cardio or Strength Training: What’s Best for Weight Loss?

Cardio or Strength Training: What’s Best for Weight Loss?


Most often, when you think of losing weight, the two things that come to your mind are exercise and diet. It is because one of the common causes of obesity is a sedentary lifestyle and one of the best ways to lose weight is to eat right and stay active.

What if we tell you that exercise is important but not enough for weight loss? How to choose the right type of exercise when losing weight?And, what are other required elements for weight loss?

Obesity is a complex disease, and several factors can influence it. Just blaming the poor diet and physical inactivity for all that weight gain will be wrong. Along with our diet and lifestyle choices, some factors influencing obesity include genes, environmental and socioeconomic factors, psychological reasons, certain diseases, and medications.

All of these factors individually decide why someone gains more weight than the other. If not treated or managed on time, obesity can lead to severe health complications like diabetes,
heart failure, and high blood pressure, amongst others.

Obesity treatment involves understanding the cause of obesity and all the factors that influence it. Diet and exercise are an integral part of weight management.To understand more about exercising, let’s talk about the importance of exercise for weight

Why Exercise?

Our body works well when there is a proper energy balance. There has to be a balance between the total amount of calories you consume and burn. If you take in more than you burn, you will end up gaining weight. Similarly, if you burn much more than you consume, you could lose weight excessively and become sick.

Now, what is the best way to burn calories?

It’s Exercising.

Exercising: An Important Element for Weight Loss.

Exercising not only helps you lose inches but also improves cardiac, metabolic, physical and mental health. Our total body weight comprises water, fat, and muscles. Before opting for any weight loss workout, it is crucial to know your BMI and plan accordingly.

Exercising increases your metabolism and the number of calories you burn. It also helps in maintaining and increasing lean body mass and energy expenditure.

Furthermore, exercise improves cardiac function, diabetes, depression, blood pressure, including obesity.

However, there are different types of exercises, and not everything works for everyone. Let’s understand about different types of exercise.

Different Types of Exercises for Weight Loss

All exercises may help in losing weight, lift your mood and help you stay fit. However, not all of them show the same results for everyone. Everyone’s body is different, and it is better to choose an exercise that suits your body and weight loss goals.

There are two types of exercises:

  • Cardio (Aerobic Exercise)
  • Strength Training

Let’s delve deep into both of them and learn what each exercise does to your body and weight.

Cardio and Weight Loss

One of the most popular exercises is aerobic exercise, also called cardio. It elevates your heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen. It includes exercises such as walking, swimming, running, and jogging, amongst others.

If we talk about mass building, cardio doesn’t affect your muscles but does a wonderful job burning calories. Regular cardio exercises help in burning fat, especially excess fat that sits around your waist.

The formula for losing weight is burning calories, and aerobic exercise does it efficiently. Most doctors recommend cardio as an initial step for weight management. Although, results could differ from individual to individual.

In conclusion, cardio reduces liver fat and improves cardiac health. It also keeps your overall health in check and promotes obesity control.

To see better results, progressively increase the intensity of your exercise. It is because your body gets accustomed to burning fewer calories with the same intensity of exercise. To measure the intensity, you can pay attention to what you can and can’t do during the exercise. During high intensity, you won’t be able to speak or even complete short sentences. During moderate exercise, you can talk but can’t sing or have a normal conversation for a few minutes. Lastly, in an easy intensity exercise, you can sing or talk comfortably.

Strength Training and Weight Loss

If you don’t want to burn calories alone and wish to work on your muscles, strength training might help you. Here, you lift heavy weights to tone and shape your muscles. Building your muscles may help improve your metabolism and burn calories, even during rest.

However, directly starting heavy weightlifting before getting used to cardio exercise can be problematic. One should begin with a few months of cardio, followed by gradually increasing weights during the time. While doing strength training, increase the intensity of exercise gradually.

During high intensity, you will feel pain during the last repetition. During moderate exercise, you will feel the reduced velocity of execution and lastly, in low intensity, you will feel comfortable with the number of repetitions.

Is Exercising alone Enough?

Exercising plays a vital role in weight loss and maintenance, but just exercising is not enough. You might see improved results if you also pay attention to your diet and restrict calorie intake. Out of cardio and strength training, studies showed that aerobic exercise was more effective in fat and body mass reduction.

It is also possible that your weight is influenced by a factor other than diet or lack of exercise. Consult a specialist to understand your cause and risk of obesity.


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  2. Willis LH et al, Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2012;113(12):1831-1837.
  3. Jakicic JM et al, Role of Physical Activity and Exercise in Treating Patients with Overweight and Obesity. Clin Chem. 2018 Jan;64(1):99-107.
  4. Hill JO et al, Role of physical activity in preventing and treating obesity. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005 Aug;99(2):765-70.

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