Fitness
Moderators: melkor


Cardio vs Weight Lifting for Fat Loss


Quote  |  Reply

All,

I am still confused. I used to do tons of cardio and a moderate amount of weight lifting. i have changed that around and am doing more weight lifting and some cardio (mostly spin classes and 2 HITT days).

I have read the Hierachy of Fat Loss - which says more weights than cardio. Now i have read the Burn the Fat Fast by Tom Venuto which says to do way more cardio then what i am doing now.

I am only concerned because i strictly count calories, work out 5 days per week and am not seeing a lot of results. Some inches lost - not enough as far as i am concerned, but absolutely no pounds.

18 Replies (last)
 It depends a bit on your body type - in general you lift weights to encourage your body to hang on to the muscle you've already got, use your diet to make a controlled calorie defict, and do extra cardio to help burn more fat.

 What Cosgrove writes in the Hierarcy article is that up to 3 hours/week of lifting weights gives a net positive benefit compared to spending those three hours doing cardio. Adding more resistance training than those 3 hours/week doesn't lead to additional improvements over cardio though, as then intensity will probably suffer and recovery management starts being an issue. So from a pure fat loss perspective you'd program in 3 hours/week total of lifting weights, and then add in all the cardio your schedule can handle and your body can take. Whether that works out to more weights than cardio or not depends on how much time you've got available for your workouts.

 Diet is about 70% of your results though, your exercise selection only accounts for about 30%. So having a handle on your diet and operating in a mild calorie deficit should see you lose both inches and pounds once you get past the muscles-retaining-water stage of changing your program around and exposing your body to an unfamiliar training stress.

 That's the theory anyway, and it works for the majority; unfortunately our bodies don't run on theory and sometimes they act quirky. In that case, you've got to start experimenting a bit to figure out what workout mix is right for you - people are very rarely exactly average ;)
Muscle burns energy. The bigger the motor the more gas you use. At first you may not lose weight at the scale but the body fat will decrease. The more muscle you have equals more calories burned wile using those muscles.

The reason you haven't lost pounds is because the muscle you have gained weighs more than fat you lost. That's why you lose inches and not pounds. Inches and body fat percent are more important than pounds.

I bought Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle e-book.I read through it once...need to read it again and start following it better.

I do know that everything I have been reading lately has been saying that lifting weights is more important for fat loss. But cardio is also benficial as well.

Best of luck to us both.

~Mia~

Balance is always the key. But to lose weight you should probably go back to what you were doing, bumping up your cardio. Current guidelines, according to my trainer, is 250 minutes of cardio per week for a female and 300 for a male...that is for weight loss, not maintaining fitness.

And remember, cardio is working at 75-80% of your max heart rate, not just logging time on the treadmill. You really have to get and keep your heart rate up in your target zone for max. benefit. And new research is showing that if you peak a couple of your workouts during the week, that is to really push your heart rate up there for a shorter amount of time, and then work out at less HR for the other workouts but for a longer period of time, that is even better for losing wieght. So, if you have only 30 minutes, get in there and really work your butt off, you will do yourself more good than if you wait until you have that full  hour and then work out more slowly.

As always, anything is better than nothing! Keep up the good work.
4-5 hours of cardio a week? Sure, if you've got the time or the inclination you can do it.

 But when it comes to working out, more isn't better - better is better. And for fat loss, a combination of resistance training, interval training and steady state cardio works better than doing just one or the other exclusively; but there's pretty much nothing you can do to out-train your diet so getting that right is at the very top of any fat loss regime.

 Though again, you can do as much cardio as you want and can find the time for once you've got the weights covered - for anyone who isn't a raw beginner it's difficult to impossible to add significant muscle mass in a calorie defict, but without resistance training it's certainly possible to lose significant muscle while dieting if you don't lift weights. Your body prefers getting rid of metabolically expensive muscle over precious stored fat in a calorie deficit, and without lifting weights there's no reason for your body to hang on to muscle tissue.

 It's all a question of figuring out what works best for you, your body and your goals though. There's no single right answer that suits everyone.
Thanks for the replies. I am doing the RFFL program 3 x per week, which has some HITT involved, plus some spin and resistance training. i think i will bump in some more cardio.

weight lifting and cardio are not polar opposites. 

For instance, try leg presses.  your quadriceps and hamstrings are by far the largest skeletal muscles.  after a couple reps, your heart will definitely be pounding, as if you were jogging.

Bottom line, you can turn weight lifting into an aerobic exercise.

muscle weighs more than fat
Really, scorpiogurl57?  If a pound of muscle weighs a pound, then how much does a pound of fat weigh?
#10  
Quote  |  Reply
Original Post by trhawley:

Really, scorpiogurl57?  If a pound of muscle weighs a pound, then how much does a pound of fat weigh?
Exactly. Muscle is denser than fat, but not heavier.
#11  
Quote  |  Reply
   A lb. of muscle is about the size of a grapefruit & a lb. of fat is about 3x that size. Which lb. do you want on your body?

Scorpiogurl meant to say:

muscle weighs more than fat, PER CUBIC INCH.

#13  
Quote  |  Reply
Original Post by ruyrose18:

   A lb. of muscle is about the size of a grapefruit & a lb. of fat is about 3x that size. Which lb. do you want on your body?

 The difference is not that much.  The density of fat is about 0.9 g/cc and that of muscle is about 1.06 g/cc.  Therefore, a pound of fat will take up about 20% (17% to be precise) more space than a pound of muscle (that is the difference between a grapefruit and a little bit bigger grapefruit).

To the OP - I think Melkor's advice is dead-on.  Lift weights (heavy) and do a mix of high-intensity and regular cardio.

 

visual aid.

Muscle is nicer to look at. 

Original Post by paxguy:

Scorpiogurl meant to say:

muscle weighs more than fat, PER CUBIC INCH.

 This debate happens every couple days, do we really need to bump threads from close to 2 years ago to re-hash it?

"am not seeing a lot of results. Some inches lost - not enough as far as i am concerned, but absolutely no pounds."

theres your results right there.... dude losing inches is such a good sign of fatloss and your body hanging onto lean mass. whatever you are doing, keep it up, and do yourself a favour and get rid of that stupid scale and just get some body fat calipers and measure your body fat levels. bodyweight is just a stupid number, you really have to start focusing on body composition

I myself was having this same (problem) i cut down my cardio from 6-7 times a week and some light-moderate weight lifting to only cardio 3 times a week and 4 days of intense resistance training on a split program. to my "horror" i started putting on weight and clothes are fitting tighter. but then i got my body fat measured and it so happens that my lean body mass has gone up, while my waist size has gone down, yet i fill out my jeans more tightly now since i have clearly visibible bigger quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as my chest is growing and ive noticed im getting stronger, I also had my body fat measured and i am currently sitting at 9-10%, which is pretty freaking lean.

so stop being so consumed and obsessed with the dam scale and instead use the mirror... if you arent losing (or are even gaining weight) but you look better on the mirrow (more definition, etc) then thats a GOOD SIGN that you are doing something right, your body is literarily turning into a fat burning machine while hanging onto and maybe even building muscle in the process. so once again, focus on body composition (muscle to fat ratio) rather than a stupid figure from the scale, body fat testing and the mirrow are your best friends :)

It_jesus, really? Did you not see floggingsully's post RIGHT ABOVE YOURS?

Original Post by melkor:

4-5 hours of cardio a week? Sure, if you've got the time or the inclination you can do it.

 But when it comes to working out, more isn't better - better is better. And for fat loss, a combination of resistance training, interval training and steady state cardio works better than doing just one or the other exclusively; but there's pretty much nothing you can do to out-train your diet so getting that right is at the very top of any fat loss regime.

 Though again, you can do as much cardio as you want and can find the time for once you've got the weights covered - for anyone who isn't a raw beginner it's difficult to impossible to add significant muscle mass in a calorie defict, but without resistance training it's certainly possible to lose significant muscle while dieting if you don't lift weights. Your body prefers getting rid of metabolically expensive muscle over precious stored fat in a calorie deficit, and without lifting weights there's no reason for your body to hang on to muscle tissue.

 It's all a question of figuring out what works best for you, your body and your goals though. There's no single right answer that suits everyone.

+1. Also add that there are significant weight/fat loss benefits that occur by adding quality resistance training to cardio, even in the absence of any increase in lean body mass. This was shown by the Westcott research in the early-mid 1990s. 

18 Replies
Advertisement
Advertisement
Allergy Remedies
Is It Possible to Go Natural?
The side effects of allergy medications keep some people from using them. Natural remedies can be a great alternative, but some are more effective than others.