Cardio vs. Weights – Which is Better?
- DAN NORTH
CARDIO OR WEIGHTS?
RUN OR SQUAT?
AIRDYNE OR DEADLIFT?
CYCLE OR SNATCH?
There’s a long lasting debate between which is ‘better’. First, I think we should define what better means. What does better mean to you? Is it based on how cardio or weight training makes you feel? How it makes you perform? How it makes you look?
Also, what are your goals? What are your current capabilities and what are you aspiring to become? Are you training for an event? Are you a competitive athlete? Are you just someone trying to get into a healthier routine?
IF YOU’RE AN ATHLETE…
Asking yourself these questions helps paint a better picture of which training method is most effective for you and your body to achieve your goals. This matters particularly if someone is competitive in a performance-specific sport.
Lets take powerlifters and triathletes for example. Two highly demanding sports which put a ton of strain on the body on two opposite sides of the spectrum. One is about maximal strength output. One is about long-distance performance. These athletes, therefore, require different training protocols to perform at their best in their given sport.
IF YOU’RE A POWERLIFTER…
All of your training and recovery is designed to get you stronger. Your main objective is to lift maximal weight in the squat, bench, and deadlift. How you structure your workouts and approach your recovery methods will matter when it comes to your performance on the platform.
TRIATHLETES, ON THE OTHER HAND…
Need to complete long distance swimming, biking, and running events. Their training and recovery needs to be designed specifically for their musculoskeletal and respiratory systems to last for long distance periods.
WHAT IF I’M NOT A COMPETITIVE ATHLETE?
Lets say you’re not a competitive athlete and you just want to get healthier and lose a bit of weight. Should you lift weights or go on the treadmill? When just starting a regular workout routine, specifics don’t matter as much as they will when you are further into your program. At first, the key is to simply get moving. Get into the habit of moving, whether its biking, lifting, running, or squatting.
Once you start getting more specific with your training and want a more focused direction, then you can weigh out the pros and cons to both styles of training. Again, one isn’t better than the other. There are simply different protocols for different individuals at different times.
- Improves bone health
- Strengthens ligaments
- Increases energy levels
- Increased metabolism
- Improved sleep
- Increased strength
- Increased muscle mass
- Improves anaerobic and aerobic capacity
- Stronger heart
- Improves respiratory health
- Weight loss
- Increased bone density
- Reduced stress
- Reduced risk of heart disease
When you lay it all out, there are clearly some great benefits when it comes to both cardio and weight training. The question is, which is better for you?
If you’re someone looking to start a healthier routine, you don’t need one without the other. Most things are good in moderation and that is true when it comes to weights and cardio. There can be a healthy balance of both training methods to get you stronger, leaner, healthier, and make you feel and perform better. Both are good for the body and there is no need to go to the extreme with either to start getting healthier.
Weight training will add muscle to your body and ultimately help you keep fat off in the long run. The stronger your body is, the higher energy output you have. The more energy you burn off in a day, the more efficient your body is at maintaining a lower body fat percentage.
Cardio will help strengthen your heart and lungs. If you didn’t know already, those are pretty important. The stronger your heart and lungs are, the more efficient your body will be at providing blood and oxygen to your muscles. The more efficiently your body does this, the better your body performs and the faster it recovers.
If you’re unsure of which direction to take in the gym, whether its by the cardio machines or the dumbbell rack, try both and see what you like. You might find you enjoying lifting more than sitting on a bike. Or you might enjoy how running helps you focus and make you feel when you’re stressed.
Both are great. Both are better suited for different athletes. Both have their time and place for anyone looking to get healthier.