Has strength training or cardio given you personally better results

I have heard both sides from some people. Please explain your own personal experience. We all know that a calorie deficit is key for fat loss. Lately it seems a lot of people are saying that cardio is only best for your heart. Thoughts ?


  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    edited June 2018
    Strength training for aesthetics, better diet adherence, confidence, strength, health (for me) etc. I do some cardio in a deficit but just enough to keep me fit and allow me to eat a bit more. I've lost weight before doing only cardio vs only strength training and I was much much much happier with the results of strength training on my body composition.
  • Jasp03
    Jasp03 Posts: 54 Member
    Several years ago I did cardio with a calorie deficit, and after 3 months I got very bored, and just lost focus and went back to my normal life style. It was working, but for obvious reasons the results were due to a calorie deficit. Back then I was uneducated when it came to fitness and health, so my goal was to lose the weight, get to my goal and then weight train. I didn’t make it that far because of bordem and gave up 15lbs shy.

    Now, this past January I decided that I needed to change my life style again for the better, and I educated myself first. From this community I learned that strength training was the way to go. I’ve been strength training every other day for the past 6 minutes and it gets more and more fun, and I couldn’t be more committed. My deficit isn’t like it was, I don’t have anywhere near as much of a deficit, but the difference is the type of foods that I eat. I’m much more happy with my results this time around, it’s easier and more fun. It’s actually a life style for me now.

    Hope that answers you’re question, sorry for the book.
  • Davidsdottir
    Davidsdottir Posts: 1,285 Member
    Lifting for sure. My body has an awesome shape thanks to the muscle I've gained while lifting and eating in a caloric surplus.
  • jamesakrobinson
    jamesakrobinson Posts: 2,149 Member
    Lifting by far. I only do cardio in winter to mak up for the fact I'm not biking or swimming for fun or walking to get as many places as practical.
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,425 Member
    I have heard both sides from some people. Please explain your own personal experience. We all know that a calorie deficit is key for fat loss. Lately it seems a lot of people are saying that cardio is only best for your heart. Thoughts ?

    Define "Better". I've hit specific body weights using both extremes. All lifting, no cardio and all running no lifting. Both were dumb, with regards to overall fitness. Most would probably say I looked better just lifting because of the muscle mass. I currently run and lift and don't intend to stray to either extreme. When done properly they go together well.
  • 0ysterboy
    0ysterboy Posts: 192 Member
    Honestly, I think that cardio vs strength training have largely non-overlapping effects for me. I am 59, zero meds, blood pressure same as my 23 yo daughter, and can keep up an active lifestyle. All of this I attribute to running, biking and swimming regularly. The cardio does take its toll on my body (stiffness mostly) and I find weight training to be a nice break. The weights also gives my body definition I cannot get from cardio. I am convinced that, for me, a balanced approach to my exercise is the way to go.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,973 Member
    edited June 2018
    I have done and do both but have emphasized one over the other at different points in time based on my specific needs and goals at various points in time.

    When I started my current weight loss effort 2 yrs ago, all I did was lift heavy 3x's a week in order to build/retain muscle and increase my strength.

    I increased my strength significantly and was able to rank at the advanced and elite levels in the 4 main compound lifts for men my age/weight based on the Strength Level database.

    I was also able to reduce my BF% from over 25% at 196# down to 8% at 155# which represents a loss of about 37# in BF and a minor gain of 4# in LBM while on a deficit and restrictive maintenance diet over the 2 yr period.

    In the last 6 months, I have cut back significantly on the amount and intensity of lifting to the point that I have not done any lifting to speak of in the last 2 weeks.

    Instead, I have been rowing 10k meters for an hr a day everyday which burns about 550 cals a day.

    Since I am in maintenance, my goal is NOT to lose more weight doing this. The reason that I am doing this is to be able to eat more than my meager 1750 maintenance cal diet. Rowing daily allows me to eat about 2300 cals/day instead which provides me with more protein and nourishment that I believe I need.

    So far, cutting back on lifting has not significantly reduced my strength based on the limited lifting that I am still doing and rowing helps to maintain the muscle tone and definition that I achieved previously.

    So, to me, it's not a simply question of cardio vs lifting. It's a question of which best meets my needs at a specific point in time.
  • hesn92
    hesn92 Posts: 5,967 Member
    edited June 2018
    Strength training changes the way my body looks and makes me stronger. Cardio doesn’t really give me “results” as far as how I look but it’s good for me and let’s me eat more
  • VUA21
    VUA21 Posts: 2,072 Member
    Both. Cardio for cardiovascular health, endurance, and overall weight loss. Strength training for aesthetics.
  • aokoye
    aokoye Posts: 3,495 Member
    Cardio allows me to ride my bike for hours on end (something I enjoy), run up and down eight flights stairs without feeling particularly winded (not fun but it needed to be done), and be one of the few people in the room not breathing hard after dancing.

    Strength training allows me to rehab from surgeries/injuries and will maybe make climbing hills easier (though not via doing upper body strength stuff).

    What are your goals? Those are what will determine how useful X exercise is in reaching them.
  • pinksunnyrose
    pinksunnyrose Posts: 453 Member
    Cardio in the form of walking
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,813 Member
    Cardio - better for aerobic fitness, better for allowing me to eat more, better than using the car, better for taking me into beautiful countryside, better for endurance, better for CV health, often better for enjoyment unless it's indoor cardio (that's training, not fun).

    Strength training - better for strength, better for physique, better for managing chronic knee and back injuries.

    Both - better for me.

  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,271 Member
    Doing both is what gives me better results. Lifting helps for strength and physique. Cardio for my heart/lunges and, yes, a bit of extra calorie burning while dieting so I can eat more. I'm not a fan of lifting more than 4 days per week (for me, that is, I don't care what other people do) but find that doing some sort of exercise/physical activity helps me better manage melancholy.
  • estherdragonbat
    estherdragonbat Posts: 5,285 Member
    Both. I started strength training a year ago to preserve muscle while losing weight. I don't lift heavy; I've just bought a pair of 25-lb dumbbells, that I'll probably be ready for in a couple of weeks. My main cardio is walking. I also have a fitness glider in my basement that I use if the weather or the daylight aren't cooperating. (Where I live, in the winter, it can start getting dark around 3:30 in the afternoon; sometimes fitting in a two-hour walk can be difficult.)

    This is what I've noticed:

    -My walking speed has increased from 2.8mph to just under 4.

    -I've had two surgeries five months apart. Relatively minor procedures but done under general. In recovery after each one, I was able to sit up unassisted. The nurse on duty complimented me on my trunk muscles. For the record, they are not visible. I'm one of those people who loses fat from the belly area last. But under that fat... something is stronger.

    -After the last surgery, my heart rate started dropping in the recovery room. The nurse phoned a cardiologist to come check me out. The phone station was right by my cot and I heard her mention that although my heart rate was at 39, I was "asymptomatic". Then she turned to me and said, "The cardiologist is asking if you're a runner". I'm not, but it looks like daily 2-hour walks have lowered my RHR. It was 56bpm before the surgery, which according to the charts, puts me in the "athlete" category.

    -I can haul a 28lb box of kitty litter across the pet store in one hand, without a cart.

    -I can carry a 20-some-odd-year-old TV from my parents' garage to the top of their driveway (It's a sloping drive; I had to carry it uphill) to the trash. I'm guessing it was 40-50lbs or so.

    -Someone who hadn't seen me in a while recently commented half-jokingly that my butt had vanished. And yes, that was meant as a compliment!

    -I've got visible deltoids and definition on my legs
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    Depends on my goal(s).

    Strength training has helped with injuries prevention and recovery, overall strength, body composition, appearance*.

    Cardio has helped with stress, mood, endurance, speed, appearance*.

    * diet/intake plays a role as well... can't look at appearance changes in a vacuum.
  • JBApplebee
    JBApplebee Posts: 481 Member
    Both. 9Round is a combination of cardio & strength training & I wouldn't have it any other way. Doing my first 5k mud run tomorrow & can't wait.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 47,108 Member
    I have heard both sides from some people. Please explain your own personal experience. We all know that a calorie deficit is key for fat loss. Lately it seems a lot of people are saying that cardio is only best for your heart. Thoughts ?
    Cardio is best for your heart because that's what cardiovascular exercise is for. Weight lifting (especially heavy weight lifting) raises the blood pressure on each lift temporarily, but again you're training a different muscle fiber versus what fibers you use during cardiovascular exercise. It's ideal to do a bit of both for better retention of current muscle and cardio conditioning.

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