Cardio or Weights to Burn Fat?

Cardio or weights to burn fat? Conventional wisdom says to eschew hoisting the iron to maximize fat loss, but could conventional wisdom be wrong? Stop arguing with your friends and grab a read.

Cardio or weights to burn fat if you’re going to do only one? That is the question. I’ve come down on the side of weights here at BFL, on the theory that you need muscle to do the actual burning. After all, it’s your metabolic fires that actually melt away your extra fat, and what keeps that metabolism going? Why, muscle, of course! How do you pack on more of the meaty stuff? High intensity weight training sessions.

I’ve posted on that subject several times over the last few years, and I’m not alone in my fondness for iron. Of course, a balanced program of high intensity weight training, and high intensity interval cardio training is the best for overall fitness. Fitness isn’t all about body fat levels. Supplying enough O2 to your muscles is mighty important, too, and you’ll need some effective cardio training to facilitate that.

The Fat Burning Time Waster

If you’re trying to burn off fat though, cardio is a waste of time. It works, it just takes too long. So, back to the iron. Not only will you burn fat, you’ll look better when you’ve burned it, thanks to the lean, hard muscle you’ve packed on under it during the training process.

It’s pretty simple, really. Do you want to burn off fat mainly during the 30-60 minutes you’re actually exercising, or the day’s other 23 hours? Building more muscle through weight / resistance training elevates your basal metabolic rate such that you burn more calories all day long, no matter your actual activity level.

Cardio or Weights to Burn Fat? - 1 Vote for Weights

You can be sure she got this body by hitting the weights hard. Remember, though: ” Abs are built in the gym, but exposed in the kitchen.” … and she’s got a sweet 6-pack!

What Order to Train for Fat Burning? Cardio or Weights First?

If you’re going to combine cardio and weight training on the same day, hit the weights first, then head over to the track, treadmill, or elliptical. You can do a few minutes of cardio to get the blood flowing and warm up your muscles and connective tissues before you lift, but do your real cardio training after you’ve killed yourself on the bench or under the squat rack, not before. You’ll need the energy to maximize your training intensity when powering up those weights.

Check out smokin’ hot, 4-time Olympic medal winner, Kaitlin Sandeno (@KaitlinSandeno) over on the Yahoo Sports Training Day blog for her take on the subject: