Strength Training, Cardio or Both – What’s the Best Plan for You?

Strength Training, Cardio or Both

Cardio and strength training are both key components of any healthy lifestyle. The benefits of each type of exercise are numerous, and in general, regular exercise can help you lead a longer, healthier life.

However, there are some differences between the two types of exercise that might make one a better fit for your personal goals and current state of health.

Strength training will tighten and tone your body; it will also increase your resting metabolism so that you continue burning more calories even when you aren’t working out.

In contrast, fast-paced cardio such as running or cycling is great for burning excess fat and boosting your stamina so you can do more activities with ease.

However, it’s not an either-or proposition – even if only one of these types of exercise is right for you at this moment in time. You don’t need to choose between strength training or cardio…you can have BOTH! Let’s take a look at what makes each type unique.

What’s the Difference Between Strength Training and Cardio?

Although both strength training and cardio are great for health, they are designed to meet different goals. Strength training is designed to make your muscles stronger, while cardio helps increase your endurance and metabolism so that you burn more fat throughout the day.

Strength training also increases your resting metabolic rate, but it’s even more effective at doing this than cardio. In fact, strength training can increase the metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after the workout session ends.

This is why people who strength train can lose fat more quickly than those who only do cardio. Additionally, strength training is more effective at building lean muscle mass than cardio, which is helpful when you’re trying to lose fat.

Muscles: The Building Blocks of a Healthy Body

Muscles are the most important components of a healthy body. They help you move, grow taller as you age, regulate your body temperature, and even maintain healthy organ function.

In fact, every single thing you do, from walking to talking to eating, involves muscles. In short, you need strong muscles to be a healthy, active person. That’s why a regular strength training routine can be so beneficial.

With regular strength training, you’re increasing the size of your muscles, allowing them to do more work with less effort on your part. This is helpful for everything from walking up the stairs easier to doing everyday household chores more quickly.

Regular strength training can also help you maintain healthy bone density, which is especially important as you age when risk of osteoporosis increases. Additionally, having more muscle mass means that your body will require more energy to function.

And while it’s true that you need the energy to survive, it’s also stored as fat. The more muscle you have, the more energy you need to survive, and the less fat you have to store that energy.

Cardio Exercises: Running, Biking, and More

Cardio, or cardiovascular exercise, is designed to increase the amount of oxygen that gets to your lungs and muscles. The more oxygen your body can process, the more efficiently you can function during exercise, and even after you finish.
Cardio is also helpful for regulating your blood sugar, which is especially important for people with diabetes. Biking, walking, hiking, swimming and other similar exercises are great for improving your cardiovascular fitness.

However, some people choose to focus primarily on cardio while others choose to focus on strength training while only doing a light amount of cardio. That decision comes down to personal preference, but there are some differences between strength training and cardio that might help you decide which one is right for you.

  • Cardio exercise can help you lose weight quicker. Depending on the intensity of your workouts, cardio exercise can burn around 100 calories per mile, which is about 10 times as many as strength training burns.
  • You can still build muscle even if you only do cardio. You don’t need to exclusively focus on one type of exercise if you want to see results from both. You can do a quick cardio session after your strength training workout, or vice versa.

Strength Training Exercises: Resistance and Weights

Strength training exercises often involve weights, resistance bands, and even your own body weight if you are doing exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges.

  • Exercises that focus on building strength often involve multiple muscle groups. A good strength training workout will include at least one exercise that targets each major muscle group in your body.
  • Strength training can help you build muscle, lose fat, and increase your metabolism. Many people choose to focus on strength training because it’s a great way to get the most bang for your buck. It helps you build muscle, which in turn burns more calories.

You Can Have Both!

If you’re undecided between strength training and cardio, you don’t have to choose. You can do both! You just have to make sure you’re giving your body enough time to rest between workouts.

If you don’t take time between workouts, you risk overtraining, which can be extremely harmful to your body. This means that you should schedule at least one day for rest every week.

If you’re just starting out, you should focus on cardio, which is easier on your body than strength training. If you want to start strength training, make sure you give your body enough time to rest. You should also make sure you’re eating right and getting enough sleep so that your body can recover properly.

Which Type of Exercise is Best for Your Body?

If you’re just starting out on a new exercise routine, you don’t have to make the decision between strength training and cardio right away. You can ease into regular exercise by doing some gentle cardio, such as walking.

You can also try some strength training exercises, such as push-ups and squats, that don’t require weights. Once you’ve gotten into a regular exercise routine, you can decide which type of exercise you prefer.

However, if you have any pre-existing health issues, you should consult a doctor before starting any exercise routine. And if you have lots of energy, you might even want to do both types of exercise at once!


Exercise has lots of benefits, but it can be challenging to decide which type of exercise is right for you. The best thing you can do is experiment with different types of exercise, and see which ones you enjoy the most.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the different types of exercise out there, you don’t have to start with everything at once. Start with one type of exercise, and once you get into a regular routine, you’ll see how beneficial it can be for your body.



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About the Author: Sam Siegel

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