Cardio or Strength Training?!!

A girl doing working out. Cardio or strength training

If you do cardio one day and the next day you can do weights, do it that way. If you need to do it at night or in the morning, do it that way. Whatever you need to get it done, just get it done.

LL Cool J

The Size Zero Myth:

#Myth 1- Cardio is the best for weight loss.imageedit_3_3714574653

If I run more and do more of cardio, I will be burning more calories and hence will lose more weight. Definitely cardio is the only workout which I need.

A guy running on treadmill

#Myth 2- Strength training will make me masculine.

I don’t require building muscles. I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder.

Dumbbell stacked up

The Wise Hero Reality:

1. What is cardio?


Cardio is the most recommended exercise by dieticians, physicians, cardiologists, etc. It is also called Aerobic, which follows the aerobic pathway, and by that, it means that muscles get to use oxygen. These are the tasks that are not high in intensity but high in volume.

A girl doing aerobics

2. What is strength training?

Girl doing strength training

Strength training is the most misunderstood workout. It is also called Anaerobic, which follows the anaerobic pathway, by that it means that the muscles function in the absence of oxygen. It doesn’t mean there is no oxygen available; it only means that task was completed so fast, oxygen couldn’t reach the working muscle group. Since they last for short period of time, obviously they can carry out really high-intensity tasks.

3. Cardio & Strength training for heart health.

Guy doing strength trainingLet’s see the effect of exercise on the heart. The heart can be roughly divided into four chambers, each performs a unique task. The upper two chambers are called auricles & lower chambers are called ventricles. The lower left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood to the body.

With cardio or aerobic workout, the left ventricle will go through an increase in size and become bigger than what it was. But it is with anaerobic (strength) training that the left ventricle will also develop a thicker wall, with a larger & more efficient capillary network, leading to an increase in strength as well.

So only cardio & no strength training is a half-hearted attempt to improve heart health.

Girl doing leg weights

4. Growing Muscle is different from Body Building.

The idea of going to the gym is to bulk up, it’s called the growth of the muscles (increases lean body weight). Nobody looks like a bodybuilder just because they did weight training. Even people, who want to build body and work hard to do so, fail most of the time. Cardio doesn’t help in increasing lean body weight.

Guy doing weight training

5. Fuel needed to exercise

The aerobic workout uses carbohydrate, fat & protein as fuel to derive energy.  Carbs are the starting source of fuel as they need fewer oxygen molecule for oxidation.  In presence of oxygen, glycogen (carb) is broken into intermediate pyruvic acid and after a series of reactions to carbon dioxide, water & energy (more energy is produced than anaerobic). So aerobically there are lesser by-products than anaerobic. Fat takes over later. Aerobically, when fat is broken down it produces more energy as compared to carbs. Protein is used as fuel in extreme conditions. Its main purpose is in building & repairing body tissues.

Girl doing leg press

The anaerobic workout uses carbs in the form of glycogen stored in muscle & liver as fuel. In absence of oxygen, glycogen is broken down into an intermediate product called pyruvic and then to lactic acid & energy (lesser than aerobic).  Anaerobically fat cannot be used as a fuel.

So during the workout, we burn more fat during cardio & no fat during strength training. You must be thinking, why do I insist on strength training then? Why am I trying to sell it? Well keep reading and you will know why & trust me you will definitely buy it.

Lactic acid leads to the sweet pain we experience after strength training, to remove it from muscle, light aerobic activity like walk or jog needs to be done.

Girl doing functional workout

Guys finishing a marathon6. Cardio & Fat Burn.

Calories burned is directly proportional to oxygen consumed. During cardio, oxygen consumption increases hence calories are burned. But aerobic activity hardly needs any extra oxygen post workout. So there is no afterburn advantage.

A guy running

After Burn: It is when the body, at rest burns more calories at higher rate post exercise as compared to what it would normally have.

7. Weight training makes your body a better fat burning machine.

During weight training, oxygen consumption is less, therefore, less calorie is burned. Now you must be thinking why should you weight train if you are not burning calories as much as cardio. The answer to that question is ‘The afterburn’. Post-exercise a lot of oxygen is required for the following activities:

  • Restore the body to its resting state (breathing, digestion, circulation, etc).
  • Recovering & repairing from tissue damage
  • Removing lactic acid accumulation from the muscle.
  • Restoring glycogen stores
  • Bringing body temperature back to normal, etc.

This is called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or After Burn. Your body will burn more calories (which means more fat) for as long as 24 to 48 hrs post exercise.

Girl doing dumbbell training

8. Your body is intelligent.

When you train anaerobically regularly, your body understands that it needs to reserve the glycogen store as you cannot access any other fuel training in that zone. Hence when you train aerobically, your body will use less of glycogen and more of fat so that glycogen can be conserved for strength training. This is called ‘Glycogen Sparing’. This way when you train both ways, during cardio you will burn more fat as compared to when your workout schedule only consist of cardio. Your body understands your energy needs & modifies its consumption.

Girl doing weight training

9. Takeaway.

  • Make sure you do minimum 150 minutes workout in a week
  • It needs to be a wholesome workout, training both aerobic & anaerobic ways.
  • Plan aerobic workout after anaerobic to utilize the lactic acid as a fuel so that they get used up & quickly removed from muscle leading to better recovery from an anaerobic workout.
  • Ladies, lifting weights won’t make you big and bulky, it will actually enhance your feminine curves. Train like a beast, look like a beauty.
  • Train Smart, not hard.

I always believed, the more I run or jump, the leaner I will become. But my weight was stuck & I got desperate at the same time disappointed. When I started strength training, I could see the difference in my body. I did not have to train for more than an hour in the gym daily. Still, I constantly lost weight and felt good about myself.

Girl doing weight training

BE SMART -Train both ways. Cardio and Strength training when scheduled properly, will work together to help you reach your fitness goals.

Cardio = Skinny

Cardio + Strength = FIT

Forget skinny, train to be FIT.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. herlittleloves says:

    I love how skinny is out and its all about strength! I work out at home because I have two littles one but I have been upping the weights I can and hopefully soon I can get in the gym to use some of the weight training machines!

    1. the wise hero says:

      Having two kids and still taking out time to be fit is quite inspiring. I know lotta women give up on the fitness area after having kids. You are setting an example for lot of mothers out their. Great going.

      1. herlittleloves says:

        That actually is something I needed to hear, so thank you very much! 🙂

        1. the wise hero says:

          You are most welcome. U inspire me too. I am gonna work harder to get into shape. If you can do it, so can I.

  2. Katerina says:

    Finally somebody explained this! My first reflex is to lift weights because I hate running, jumping, etc. and I still think that weight lifting and muscle mass increase is the most important part of any training. Aerobic exercise makes me hungry and sweaty, and it’s boring but yes, maybe I should do a little bit of it anyway.

    1. the wise hero says:

      I agree. I hate cardio myself. It feels as if the time just is not passing. Doesn’t make me feel as energetic as doing strength training.

  3. I’m trying to lose weight and I definitely recognize the importance of doing both! Thanks for the detailed breakdown!

    1. the wise hero says:

      Glad to hear this post could be of some health. I myself am trying to loose weight. All the best. Hopefully you reach your fitness goal soon.Good day.

  4. Lynn Lux says:

    Your mode of explaining everything in this article is actually fastidious, all can easily understand it, Thanks a lot.|

  5. If some one needs to be updated with most recent technologies afterward he must be visit this web site and be up to date every day.|

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