Lessons Learned - Cardio vs. Weights

We all learn from trial and error and I have been obsessing lately about doing more cardio and how I "thought" MORE cardio would take this layer of fat off my awesome muscles. Well, I decided to do 20 straight days of cardio (elliptical, running, jump rope, stair master, etc.) for two hours a day to see if it made a difference. Now mind you I have been working out with weights 5 days a week for a year now so I have a nice muscle base. After 20 days of nothing but cardio I can safely say I didn't lose a damn thing but probably muscle. I actually feel more "giggly" in my legs and arms and my clothes fit exactly the same. I don't look as defined and I also lost muscle strength. Today I started back lifting and I lost about 5-10 pounds per exercise/set. While the trial was a bit disappointing I believe I satisfied that part of me that was obsessing about cardio and I will never do that again.

I am going back to what I know works and that is a little bit of cardio and a whole lot of weights!!!!!
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Replies

  • catfive1
    catfive1 Posts: 529 Member
    I think you are making the right choice.

    I used to do both weights and cardio 6 days a week. One hour of each. Felt spent after each workout. Didn't lose a darn thing. Started doing Stronglifts (minimal cardio) and lost 7 lbs in 14 weeks.

    Welcome back to the world of lifting heavy things. :drinker:
  • dannytrees1
    dannytrees1 Posts: 123 Member
    Yes I beleave you are right
    The muscle that you have been building has been burning the fat off. (From Lifting Weights)
    IMO cardio is for the heart but there are some other benifits that come from it as well.
    The whole thing about lifting is some times confusing...You may stay the same weight on the scale but lose size...ie on the waist etc.
    Muscle burns fat, but muscle weighs more than fat....Keep lifting.:smile:

    ps: Congrats on your acheivement...You did well and should be proud!

    D
  • Adw7677
    Adw7677 Posts: 201 Member
    WOW, thank you for sharing!!! I do less lifting on days that include cardio. I'd rather be lifting!
  • Mr_Knight
    Mr_Knight Posts: 9,532 Member
    Today I started back lifting and I lost about 5-10 pounds per exercise/set.

    Ummmm....what?
  • cafeaulait7
    cafeaulait7 Posts: 2,459 Member
    Today I started back lifting and I lost about 5-10 pounds per exercise/set.

    Ummmm....what?

    The little round heavy things that you pick up.
  • astronomicals
    astronomicals Posts: 1,537 Member
    wont do that again.... your're lucky you didnt lose more strength than that... i know I did when I was injured...
  • ElliottTN
    ElliottTN Posts: 1,614 Member
    That's interesting as through trial and error I noticed the exact opposite of you. Guess we are just different.

    Your next experiment should be just doing nothing for 20 days then go back to the weights. You'll probably notice a good deal more than just 5-10 lbs missing from your lifts.
  • Will_Thrust_For_Candy
    Will_Thrust_For_Candy Posts: 6,109 Member
    That's interesting as through trial and error I noticed the exact opposite of you. Guess we are just different.

    Your next experiment should be just doing nothing for 20 days then go back to the weights. You'll probably notice a good deal more than just 5-10 lbs missing from your lifts.

    Yup, same for me!
  • ChancyW
    ChancyW Posts: 437 Member
    I agree! Weights make such a difference, especially when you take body composition into account. I'd rather be a tight 135 than a flabby, skinny-fat 120 any day!

    Yay for knowledge!

    Also, you did two hours a day? That's dedication!
  • watto1980
    watto1980 Posts: 155 Member
    Interesting experiment.

    If you wanted to lose some body fat you would have been better off lifting weights and doing cardio, or lifting weights and eating less.

    I think it is quite well known that the body prefers when in calorie deficit to use muscle as fuel first before using fat as it considers the muscle less essential to the bodies survival, kind of saves the fat for last when it really needs it. That is why you must keep lifting weights to let it know you still need that muscle ;)
  • MzzFaith
    MzzFaith Posts: 337 Member
    Definitely get the weights in there. It helps a lot
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,249 Member
    Why not do both?

    Weights for body composition, cardio for fitness...........
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    I think it is quite well known that the body prefers when in calorie deficit to use muscle as fuel first before using fat as it considers the muscle less essential to the bodies survival, kind of saves the fat for last when it really needs it.

    No that's a myth - glycogen and fat are the primary sources of energy.
  • watto1980
    watto1980 Posts: 155 Member
    I think it is quite well known that the body prefers when in calorie deficit to use muscle as fuel first before using fat as it considers the muscle less essential to the bodies survival, kind of saves the fat for last when it really needs it.

    No that's a myth - glycogen and fat are the primary sources of energy.

    Ok I will take your word for it, I am no expert. But from what I have read you have to keep lifting heavy when in calorie deficit to hold onto your muscle. So that is definitely what I will keep doing.

    Where does your muscle go then in calorie deficit if you have plenty of fat it could use for fuel instead?
  • I lost 20 pounds two months, to sum up, the following points:
    First. Resolutely do not eat snacks, eat also eat fruit, eat watermelon summer
    Second, do not need too deliberately suppress their own needs, do not force yourself to eat if the great, which has nothing to do with weight loss, it should be more comfortable life, is not it?
    Third, good breakfast, good quality, you can eat like this all the time to focus on the eradication; lunch to eat, without any restraint, try to eat, the purpose of doing a day in addition to ensuring the supply of nutrients, there an important objective is to make the evening as the state is not in a very hungry at night can amount to eat fruit, recommend bananas (satiety), cucumber and pineapple (helps burn fat), kiwi (dimension c of the king, incidentally beauty ), the other at night before going to bed can drink a small cup of yogurt.
  • suzyfj8
    suzyfj8 Posts: 257 Member
    Since I have been weight training I have a noticed a bigger difference in my body shape, I agree weights all the way!
  • alisonlynn1976
    alisonlynn1976 Posts: 929 Member
    I'm not sure why people think this is an either/or. I do both. The strength training is definitely making a difference in my body composition, but the cardio helps too, in terms of creating a calorie deficit leading to weight loss. In fact, whenever I find myself frustrated that the scale hasn't moved in a week or two, I increase my cardio for a couple of days, and off goes a pound! I could accomplish the same by eating less, but I prefer to exercise more instead. I don't get why so many on here think that's so awful. I agree that lifting weights is important, but I see no reason not to also do cardio exercise to facilitate weight loss.
  • weights are an amazing way of getting into shape!! something that I do is interval cardio strength training everyday after I have stretched as my warm up! it allows for my heart rate to get to a nice pace and makes you sweat which Is what we want!

    heres my example of what I do as warm up!

    200m rowing
    15 squats
    20 crunches
    1 min jumprope

    I do this 4 -5 times over with 1 min rest between the jumprope and the rowing :)

    so super simple but wow does this kick the treadmill/stairmaster in the teeth!!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    I think it is quite well known that the body prefers when in calorie deficit to use muscle as fuel first before using fat as it considers the muscle less essential to the bodies survival, kind of saves the fat for last when it really needs it.

    No that's a myth - glycogen and fat are the primary sources of energy.

    Ok I will take your word for it, I am no expert. But from what I have read you have to keep lifting heavy when in calorie deficit to hold onto your muscle. So that is definitely what I will keep doing.

    Where does your muscle go then in calorie deficit if you have plenty of fat it could use for fuel instead?
    Yes you have to use your muscle to keep it but that's the same if you are in deficit, surplus or maintenance.
    Totally agree that weight/strength training is vital when losing weight as it's much easier to retain muscle rather than diet down and then build back up.
    Using active muscle for exercise fuel is the last resort rather than the first resort - it's a problem for very lean ultra marathon runners rather than ordinary people.

    So for this experiment the loss of strength was due to not doing weight training for 20 days rather than doing 20 days of cardio.
  • I'm not sure why people think this is an either/or. I do both. The strength training is definitely making a difference in my body composition, but the cardio helps too, in terms of creating a calorie deficit leading to weight loss. In fact, whenever I find myself frustrated that the scale hasn't moved in a week or two, I increase my cardio for a couple of days, and off goes a pound! I could accomplish the same by eating less, but I prefer to exercise more instead. I don't get why so many on here think that's so awful. I agree that lifting weights is important, but I see no reason not to also do cardio exercise to facilitate weight loss.

    cardio only burns calories while you are doing the cardio but if you incorporate some resistance and interval training into your cardio it can work wonders as you experience something called after burn - this is when your calorie burning continues even though you are not doing cardio :)

    the reason why cardio is important to do while exercising is endurance, cardio exercises the heart and lungs which are needless to say VERY important for exercise