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The cardio versus weights debate

Researchers recently measured weight lifting versus cardiovascular exercise to determine which was best for weight loss.

They found that cardio burns more calories and is best for reducing fat mass but excessive cardio can lead to a loss in muscle. Not a good thing when you are a bodybuilder! On the opposite side of the spectrum you need to lift weights if you want to build lean body mass, strength and function.

So, what is better, cardio or lifting weights?

Research shows that the biggest weight loss bang for your exercise buck is to combine strength training with cardio. The process of fat loss will be quicker for most individuals.

Duke University in North Carolina conducted a study comparing the effectiveness of cardio only, strength training only and a combination of both. The group who performed cardio lost the most weight, the strength training only group gained a small amount of weight while the cardio plus strength training group improved their body composition best – losing the most fat while at the same time adding lean muscle mass.

According to the American Council of Exercise a person’s heart rate is higher by about 12 beats per minute during your cardio bout when you have already lifted weights beforehand.

When you perform cardio you burn calories and fat but strength training will also keep your metabolism elevated after exercise. Bodybuilders know that the key to getting shredded is the calorie deficit, not cardio training per se or weight training per se. You can out-eat any training programme. Nutrition, therefore, plays a vital role in how much weight you lose and not just the type of exercise you perform.

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