Is Cardio Or Strength Training Better for Weight Loss?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a fitness professional is, “If I am going to do my cardio and strength training on the same day, which would get results faster?”

It’s always made sense to most, to do workouts in the classic cardio-then-strength order. Cardio warms you up to do resistance training, right? Well, yes; some light cardio will increase your heart rate and warm up your muscles.

However, there is no credible, concrete research that proves this, and what it should really come down to are your fitness goals.


For instance, if your primary goal is to increase your aerobic endurance or lose body fat, then you should go for cardio first. If your primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then you should do strength training first. To get the most out of your workout, perform the exercise that is most important to your goals first, when you are not fatigued.

If your fitness goals include overall improvements, finish your workout with the type of exercise you enjoy most.

You Burn More Calories By Performing Cardio

Scientists have researched how many calories people burn during various activities.

Based on this research, you can use your body weight to estimate how many calories you will burn during different types of exercise, including cardio and weight training.

If you weigh 75 kg (165 lbs), you will burn about 250 calories per 30 minutes of jogging at a moderate pace.

On the other hand, if you weight trained for the same amount of time, you might only burn around 130–220 calories.

You’ll burn more calories per session of cardio than weight training for about the same amount of effort. So in overall, the number of calories you burn during exercise depends on your body size and how intensely you exercise.

Weight Training Helps You Burn More Calories Overtime

Although a weight-training workout doesn’t typically burn as many calories as a cardio workout, it has other important benefits.

Weight training is more effective than cardio at building muscle, and muscle burns more calories at rest than some other tissues, including fat.

Because of this, it is commonly said that building muscle is the key to increasing your resting metabolism, which is how many calories you burn at rest.

Research has shown that you burn more calories in the hours following a weight training session, compared to a cardio workout. (Source)

In fact, there are reports of resting metabolism staying elevated for up to 38 hours after weight training, while no such increase has been reported with cardio

This means that the calorie-burning benefits of weights aren’t limited to when you are exercising. You may keep burning calories for hours or days afterward.

For most types of exercise, a more intense workout will increase the number of calories you burn afterward.



Both cardio and weights can help you become healthier and more fit.

A cardio workout burns more calories than a weight-training workout.

However, your metabolism may stay elevated for longer after weights than cardio, and weight lifting is better for building muscle.

Thus, the ideal exercise program for improving body composition and health includes cardio and weights. It is best to do both but remember, a solid fitness plan includes variety.

Ultimately, there isn’t just one “right” exercise,

If you want to improve your overall fitness, Do either cardio or strength training first. The best exercise is always the exercise that you’ll do. Find something that you enjoy doing on a regular basis.

If there’s something that you don’t like, get it over with first, so you can get to the part you do like.

The bottom line is this, it is better for you to have consistency in your exercise than to worry about the two extra calories you might burn from doing weights or cardio first. Analyze your goals and plan your workouts to reach those goals.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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