Weights vs Cardio? What’s better? This is probably one of the biggest questions I get asked and is one that is of great debate in the health and fitness world. I see girls smash themselves on the cardio machines in an effort to lose weight and they are generally scared of picking up those dumbbells for fear of getting bulky. However, in my opinion, there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss, and if you ask me you should be aiming for fat loss. The reason for this is a person’s weight can be deceptive. Someone who weighs more then another could be leaner, more toned and a lot healthier then someone who weighs less. That’s why it’s important to measure success through fat loss rather than a number on the scales. Since starting my fitness journey, I weigh more on the scales but am far healthier than I was before.
So right now you’re probably wondering what you should do to get the best fat loss? Well in my opinion and from personal experience, the best fat loss method I have found comes from doing strength training and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). If you do long hours of cardio with no strength training, but still expect to tone up, you are wrong. That's why in my programs strength training is always part of the exercise guide.
So let me go into cardio first. Cardio has been said to burn more calories in that moment of exercise, which is why people see it as an effective tool to use for weight loss. I don’t have anything against cardio over all, and doing something is always going to be better than doing nothing. Cardio also still has its place in a health and fitness routine. It improves cardiovascular fitness, gets the heart rate up, boosts your energy and helps with your mood. However, if you want to get the best results possible and get lean and toned, then cardio alone won’t do the job. That’s because in order to burn more fat, you to have get lean muscle, which means you need to incorporate resistance/strength training into your exercise routine.
Now let's get onto weights. Ladies, I can’t say this enough; lifting weights won’t turn you into a man. It will shape and tone your body and trust me you will still look feminine. Having a toned body means having lean muscle and minimal body fat. And the only way to get muscle is lifting weights. Now whilst cardio may burn more calories in the instant of exercise, resistance/weight training will keep your body burning calories long after you have finished your session. Plus muscles burn far more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn, turning your body into a total fat burning machine. That’s why I will always incorporate strength training into my programs and my own routine.
So I really can’t go into this debate without touching on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), as I also recommend this alongside weight training. With HIIT training, you create metabolic changes in your body that will make you burn fat more efficiently. HIIT raises your natural metabolism so you’re burning fat for hours after your workout, and allows your fat burning hormones to work for you rather than against you. This is known more specifically as ‘EPOC’ (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) and is often called the ‘after burn’ effect. Clinical studies have found that HIIT - exercising for short intervals, with rests between exercises – helps to produce this effect and in turn helps you lose body fat faster.
So here's my overall opinion. I’m definitely not anti-cardio. Cardio is a great place to start for anyone on their fitness journey and who wants to lose weight. However, I don’t believe cardio by itself will give you the toned body that most girls want. So if fat loss and toning is your goal, start incorporating weights and HIIT into your routine, or check out my F.I.T. programs for a full guide on how to train this way. By doing this you will maximize your results and get the body you’ve always wanted. For me, this was when my body truly starting transforming and evolving into what it is today.