This topic comes up a lot.

Honestly, you need BOTH or you won’t be successful over the long haul, but if you HAD to choose just one, here is a video that talks about this conundrum.


While you burn only up to 10 calories per minute lifting weights, compared with a few more for cardio, you continue burning calories after you put those dumbbells down. That’s the big bonus.

 After Weightlifting you take you about an hour to recover from your workout—burning an extra 25 percent on top of the calories you burned during your workout…,

Your metabolism stays elevated for three days after you lift as your body repairs the micro tears in muscles,


So could you ONLY do strength training and be healthy and trim?

It’s possible to get your cardio from strength alone.

Here’s another expert that confirms that strength training is overall the better choice.

If you keep moving between sets, going straight from one exercise to the next, you’ll strengthen your heart and lungs along with your other muscles.
Studies show that you can get better results—both aerobic and strength gains—from three 20-minute strength circuits a week than you can from 60 minutes of cardio five days a week.
Only performing steady state cardio can be counterproductive.Too much cardio can result in muscle loss. That being said, it’s best if you can do both. I’ve said that if you had to choose.  Choose weight lifting.
Always lift weights more often than doing cardio. The repeated impact of running, biking, swimming or rowing can create muscle imbalances over time that can lead to joint problems.

Could weight training only be used for fat loss – with no cardio at all?  You bet.

 When you work out, if you don’t just dawdle the whole time, you’re burning calories throughout your workout, and if you move quickly from exercise to exercise and use the Pyramid Method, you’ll expend quite a few calories.
Studies have shown that your metabolism is boosted by up to 36 hours after a workout, meaning that you’ll be burning more calories during that time, even if you’re just sitting and relaxing.
This is a big benefit.
On a monthly basis, if you workout out regularly, you can burn a significant number of calories just from your workout and the lasting effects afterward.
With cardio alone, you will burn calories, but when you stop the exercise, the calorie burn does not continue.  You can get a prolonged calorie burn after a cardio workout, but you have to exercise intensely and for a long period, an hour or more.
The additional calorie burn you’ll get from weight lifting is the daily increase in calorie burn you’ll get from the lean muscle you’re adding to your body.  The more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body burns all day long, no matter what activity you’re doing.


Even though I don’t think you need much cardio and could strictly do strength/weight training and get in the best shape of your life, there are counter arguments that say you must include cardio in your overall get-in-shape routine.

I’m biased and think cardio has its place but doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be your main method of losing weight.  The cardio that is the most beneficial to you is not the slow steady treadmill, but exercises like sprints which are High Intensity and can make a difference in your body

For now, Strength training can do it all better.

Published by "W" Tucker

I've been a fitness enthusiast for many years and want to encourage guys over 40 to get and stay in shape. It makes life better, and makes you look and feel better.

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  1. Yeah, I know what you mean when you say doing only weights would be better than just cardio.

    I used to run about 3-4 times every week and I never did any weights. Then one day I landed on one leg wrong and ended up hurting my knee pretty badly. I couldn’t run for quite a few weeks, so I had to turn to just weights in order to stay in shape.

    What’s crazy is that I saw HUGE results from doing a weights only training after a just couple of weeks! It’s gotta be that fact you mentioned about calories continuing to burn even after you’re finished.

    Like you said, both are important, but if you had to pick only one, go with the weights.

    1. Nick, what a nice personal account of the cardio vs. weight training discussion. I used to be a runner also and finally had so many injuries that I stopped. Are you running again, or are you just a weight training guy now? I’m interested because I think I don’t do enough cardio. I was doing Cross Fit and boot camp for a few years, but I’ve stopped that because of lack of time. How about you?

  2. I would agree that you don’t really need that much cardio to lose weight. You could do weight training, plus control your diet. This combination would help lose weight and help tone up. Cardio might be useful for various sports though. But, diet first, and strength training (I’m partial to strength training), next.

    1. Yes, you are right. If you were training for a specific sport then you’d need cardio. I used to participate in stairclimging races, and I trained running stadium stairs. You definitely need cardio training for that. Otherwise, I think if you do strength training in a “hurried” fashion, you can get decent cardio.

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