The debate between whether to hit the treadmill or hit the weights has flip-flopped back and forth for years. Different studies conclude different results, which ultimately cancel each other out and leave readers confused. Does cardio or weight training tone and tighten faster? Is one workout really better than another? Let’s weigh the pros, cons, and general facts to see for ourselves.

Cardio Training

Cardio workouts are any forms of exercise which require full body momentum and increases heart rate. In the gym setting, ellipticals and treadmills rule the cardio world. However, there are countless ways to get in a cardio workout, e.g. biking, hiking, and HIIT classes.

There is a basic rule of thumb that the more exertion in a workout, the more calories are burned. Thus, cardio has been the go-to workout routine for centuries. The increase in heart rate and exertion of power helps the body burn fat and shed pounds quickly.

Weight Training

Weight training consists of exercises which use weights for resistance. Exercises can be performed on assisted machines or with free weights such as dumbbells, kettlebells etc and there is also the option of using just your own body weight.

Weight training has long been a male dominant practice, but in recent years more and more women have begun to hit the weights to increase muscle mass. Why? Because muscle burns calories. The more muscle a person has, the more calories they burn.

Weight Training Myth

Ahh yes, the myths… Many women won’t consider weight training, for fear of becoming bulky or losing their figure (this is always interesting to hear as weight training is one of the best ways to help change your body for the better i.e a more sculpted firmer, leaner looking body). Unless they follow up their workouts with hormone supplements, getting big and bulky and manly looking will not happen. Just ask those guys who are trying to get big and bulky.

Cross Training

Both cardio and weight training are excellent forms of exercise and each one offers different benefits. To choose just one would be a disservice to yourself. A well-rounded workout routine consisting of cardio and weight training is the fastest way to get in shape, and the most effective way to stay in shape.

If you want to lose weight and look “toned” you should follow a balanced exercise program, so this needs to consist of both cardio and weights. Only doing cardio may help you lose weight, but it may not be all body fat. By also including weights in your workout you will be helping build and maintain your muscles, this is important as your muscles are what give you the “toned look” once you start losing body fat.

Cross Training Workout Sample

If you are wondering how you could possibly fit a cardio workout and a weight training workout in one trip to the gym, you might be surprised.

If you have a small window of gym time each day or each week, think of it as though you are cutting a cardio workout and a weight training workout in half, and then stitching them together. The best of both worlds!

–CARDIO–

  • Run/Ellipitcal 10 minutes
  • (2 X through the following)
  • 20 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Squat Jumps
  • 10 Push Ups

–WEIGHT TRAINING–

  • (2 X through the following)
  • 20 Full Bicep Curls
  • 10 Half Bicep Curls
  • (2 X through the following)
  • 8 X Power Cleans
  • 8 X Squats

–BODY WEIGHT RESISTANCE/CORE–

  • 1 Full Minute of Planking
  • 20 seconds forearm plank
  • 20 seconds left side plank
  • 20 seconds right side plank
  • 100 bicycle crunches

Exercise Disclaimer In the interest of your safety, it is important to check with your physician before beginning any exercise program and to exercise according to your fitness level and capabilities. If you have any questions, please seek the guidance of a health professional.

A balanced training program where you include both cardio and weight training is a fantastic way to train (some classes even combine the two elements in one class e.g. circuit training) and the best way to see results fast but, as with all things health and fitness related, you can’t ignore your nutrition. You may be following the best exercise plan there is but without including a healthy eating regimen your goals may not be achieved or your results may not be as good as expected.

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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