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Is Resistance Training Better Than Cardio for Weight Loss?

Is Resistance Training Better Than Cardio for Weight Loss?

resistance training
By: Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

When you think of weight loss programs, what do you think about? The first two major things are probably eating like a rabbit and spending hours on a treadmill doing cardio, right? Unfortunately, this is a misconception, and a trap people fall into, which causes them to resent the process rather than enjoying it and reaping the benefits of watching the pounds simply disappear. Rather than feel like you’re on a hamster wheel every day, implement resistance training and speed up your weight loss results. You may not even need to do ANY cardio at all. Yes, I’m serious!


Below are some reasons why resistance training is better than cardio for weight loss success. That being said, this article is not meant to discount cardio as a weight loss solution but rather a better solution to the boring and repetitive nature of doing any form of cardiovascular activity at nauseum.


Disclaimer: To see any weight loss at all, you will need to put yourself in a caloric deficit. This can be through lowering your caloric intake or by exercising and burning enough calories to put you under your maintenance level. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition program to ensure you are healthy enough to do so.

1. Increase Your Metabolic Rate Through Resistance Training

How would you like to sit down at night in front of the television to watch your favorite show and know that you’re going to be burning calories while sitting there doing nothing? It would be awesome, right? Well, you can.


The reason for this is due to lean muscle tissue constantly burning calories. The more muscle mass you have, the greater the daily caloric burn is due to an increase in metabolic rate. Therefore, through resistance training, you have the ability to not only add lean muscle mass and enhance the appearance of your physique but you also can enhance fat-burning.


Most people would think that you need to lift hard and heavy to reap the benefits of putting on lean muscle mass. This actually has not been found to be the case. In fact, a study conducted by Robert Morton (et al.) has shown that in addition to lifting heavy weights with lower reps, you can flip it around and do lower weights with higher reps and still promote lean muscle tissue growth1.


What this research also means is that you don’t need to have a gym membership or fancy equipment at home to gain lean muscle mass and reduce stubborn body fat. At home, you can do bodyweight exercises or use household items as resistance and still get in a great training session that promotes muscle growth while also helping to burn body fat and improve weight loss without using cardio.


When you focus solely on cardio, you are missing out on preserving and building lean muscle tissue and can even lose muscle mass due to it being broken down to fuel your cardio sessions. This can negatively impact your metabolic rate, which is counterproductive to what you are trying to accomplish. You want to put your focus on resistance training to help keep your metabolic rate elevated all day long – even while you sleep.


2. Effectively Target Abdominal Fat

Everyone likes the term “spot-reduce,” but that, unfortunately, does not exist. You can’t simply exercise and wish away body fat from certain areas of your body where you’re holding extra fat.


However, a study conducted by Rania Mekary (et al.) found that those who engaged in resistance training were shown to have decreased abdominal fat when compared to those who didn’t utilize resistance training and who only did cardio2.


But let’s circle back to cardio for a second. As much as we hate it, there is merit to including it in your weight loss protocol. If you were to combine resistance training with cardio, you could burn more abdominal fat.


A study done by Frederic Dutheil (et al.) has shown that those who combine heavy and intense resistance training with a moderate-intensity form of cardio had the greatest reduction in abdominal fat3.


3. Prolong Your Caloric Burn Following Resistance Training


One of the best advantages of resistance training is that you can burn calories long after you’re done with your workout. This is accomplished due to your muscle fibers being broken down and needing to be repaired so they can grow back bigger and stronger (also referred to as “hypertrophy”).


Due to your body needing 24-48 hours to recover from intense bouts of exercise and muscle damage, you can see an increase in caloric burn the entire time your body is working to recover and rebuild.


By prolonging the caloric burn following resistance training, you essentially turn your body into a fat-burning furnace since your body constantly demands energy and fuel to keep you going and speed up the recovery process.


4. Do What You Enjoy and It Will Be Easier to Maintain


If we were to list all these reasons mentioned from most important to least important, this one should probably go to the top of the list. Think about it, if you absolutely hate doing cardio and people keep telling you that it’s the best way to lose weight and drop body fat, how willing are you to be consistent with doing it if you hate it? I’ll answer that for you… You wouldn’t continue doing it in the long term. Am I right?


Resistance training, for many, is therapeutic. There’s something about pushing your body to the limit and lifting heavy weights around in the gym that can help manage stress and make you feel better. Sure, it’s an “alpha” thing, but for many, it’s a great way to blow off steam and stress.


While clearing their head, resistance training, as mentioned above, can do wonders when it comes to burning fat and helping you lose weight. So, if you truly enjoy resistance training and dread doing cardio, simply do what you enjoy so you’ll be more willing to stick to the plan and not give up.


5. Boost Weight Loss and Fat Burning with a 24-Hour Solution


As mentioned earlier, your body can turn into a 24-hour fat-burning machine. But if you want to kick things up a notch and experience the highest level of fat-burning and weight loss possible, you need Musclesport SlimKit.


Designed specifically for women, MuscleSport SlimKit is an advanced kit that includes Detox for Her, FemmeBurn for Her, and LipoSlim for Her. Never before has a kit so powerful been available for women to maximize results and help melt away stubborn body fat.


The MuscleSport SlimKit allows you to save money by utilizing this stack rather than purchasing three of our best-selling supplements individually. The only thing you need to do is your part, and that’s ensuring you’re getting in your resistance training, cleaning up your nutrition, and tossing in some cardio while using this powerful kit.


1. Morton, Robert & Sonne, Michael & Zuniga, Amanda Farias & Mohammad, Ibrahim & Jones, Amanda & Mcglory, Chris & Keir, Peter & Potvin, Jim & Phillips, Stuart. (2019). Muscle fibre activation is unaffected by load and repetition duration when resistance exercise is performed to task failure. The Journal of Physiology. 597. 10.1113/JP278056. 
2.Mekary, Rania A et al. “Weight training, aerobic physical activities, and long-term waist circumference change in men.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) vol. 23,2 (2015): 461-7. doi:10.1002/oby.20949
3. Dutheil, Frédéric et al. “Different modalities of exercise to reduce visceral fat mass and cardiovascular risk in metabolic syndrome: the RESOLVE randomized trial.” International journal of cardiology vol. 168,4 (2013): 3634-42. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2013.05.012

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