Did you know that worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975? In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, aged 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these, over 650 million were considered to be obese. This amounts to a whopping 39% of adults being overweight in the world.
These figures prove how valuable working out is and show how many people should start on a fitness journey. In order to make the most of your workouts, some planning should be done beforehand.
Are you not sure whether a cardio or strength workout is better for you and which one you should be doing? Well, keep reading below to learn the difference between a cardio and strength workout, to find that much-needed balance!
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training or weight training is an anaerobic activity that includes lifting free weights such as bench presses, dumbells, and kettlebells. Strength training is done to gain size on your muscles or for muscle endurance and is great for your health. So, how much strength training do I need? The answer is it’s totally up to you and all depends on the results that you’re after.
Generally, powerlifters, bodybuilders, and sportsmen do this kind of training to improve muscle mass and create overall strength. It can also be used to improve muscle endurance and lose fat. The advantage of strength training is it creates a metabolic spike that means you burn calories even after training.
What Is Cardio Training?
Cardio training is short for cardiovascular training. So, how much cardio do I need?
It is an aerobic activity, which means it uses oxygen to increase your breathing and heart rate. Activities such as running, cycling, and swimming are all cardio workouts but anything that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe hard can be considered cardio. The answer? Cardio really should be determined by the results you’re after and your own personal capabilities.
Long-distance runners, swimmers, and triathletes will use this type of training to be able to run and swim over long distances and build the muscle endurance required to do so. Cardio training does burn calories but not at a fast rate at which strength training burns them.
Faster heart rates are great for weight loss.
Benefits of Strength Training
With strength training, it’s not simply just about lifting heavy weights day in and out. There are endless possibilities to mix and match your workout and keep your muscles guessing what is next. Often people can hit a plateau with strength training but the ability to mix it up makes it very popular with all types of athletes.
In short, there is no way better way to create muscle mass and definition in your muscles than by strength training. Weight training breaks down the muscle fibers in your muscles and creates a natural response in your body to repair these muscle fibers. By putting the correct food in your diet, for example, protein, will replenish these muscle fibers and build muscle at the same time.
The other major benefit of weight training is that even after your workout is done, you will continue to burn calories and improve your metabolism. Strength training is the fastest way to burn fat and replace that fat with muscle.
Along with the weight loss benefits, weight training aids in preventing injury. Lifting weights increases your bone density which affects the strength of your bones. Stronger muscles increase the fiber content in the muscle and the higher muscle mass helps support your joints, reducing the risk of knee and shoulder injuries.
Benefits of Cardio Training
Cardio like any other workout has its own benefits and plays a vital role in athletes and for people seeking to lose weight. Cardio builds up your muscle endurance and the way air is transported to your muscles. If you don’t do the right amount of cardio, you will find yourself short of breath all the time and you won’t be able to keep performing at a high rate.
Doing cardio does burn a significant amount of calories, although at a slower rate than strength training. Cardio does, however, improve heart and lung function to more efficiently move oxygen through your body.
You don’t burn calories as fast with cardio training, but because you are able to work out longer, the number of calories you burn at the end will be higher than if you are strength training.
Which Is Better For You?
It’s hard to separate the two and both have different pros and cons but the decision will come down to what exactly you are wanting to get out of your workouts? Are you looking to build muscle? Do you enjoy lifting heavyweights?
If the answer is yes then weight training would be the answer but if you are training with the intend to compete in a cycling race, triathlon, or anything that will test your lung capacity, then you will need to improve your cardio.
Frequently nowadays most athletes join the two workouts together to improve in every area. For most people, the best possible workout is to alternate between them on separate days or combine them into the same workout.
The pros are there for everybody to see. If you weight train while still taking time out to improve your cardio, you will not improve muscle mass, but you will be able to lift for longer. The time it takes you to catch your breath from high-intensity workouts will be less and you will be able to push yourself harder.
Become a Better You With Fitness
In the truth, there is no written law that states you have to only weight train or only do cardio-related training in your fitness regime. The most important thing is to get out there, do some exercise and become a better you!
By training and looking after yourself, you will not only feel better as a person but you will live a healthy life and not have health problems now or when you get older!
Are you looking for more great fitness content? You should totally check out our article on the five best ways to gain muscle.