Strength training vs. Cardio aerobics, here’s why strength training

will always trump aerobics

Strength training is important, it builds muscle which prevents injury and keeps our bodies healthy. Most women, when faced with the task of fitting an appropriate exercise regimen into their tight schedules, tend to focus their limited time on those activities that they believe will burn the most fat and/or calories.

In their quest to get healthy, lose fat and ultimately attain the much-coveted feminine version of a hard body, women typically prioritize the traditional cardiovascular activities known to be effective for burning large percentages of fat and calories.

In the gym, they may dedicate hours to the treadmills, stair steppers and elliptical machines, while basically shying away from the weight machines and dumbbells. Under the mindset that they must avoid gaining “bulky, masculine muscles”, women may half-heartedly use the weight equipment, but only with minimum poundage settings, less enthusiasm, and only when convenient.

With what we know today, this common view of weight lifting as being exclusively for those who wish to look like extreme body builders is very outdated. This belief is not only counterproductive for women seeking their ideal physique, but it can cause them to miss out on the several health benefits of incorporating weight training (one of several types of “strength training”) into their fitness routines.

Over the last decade, researchers have made extremely compelling arguments for the benefits of weight training for women–especially for those over the age of fifty. Below are some of the specific reasons why women should consider making weight training a part of any comprehensive and successful exercise routine.

The Top 10 Benefits of Strength Training for Women

1) Increased Metabolic Rate- adding muscle increases our metabolism naturally.

2) Increasing and Restoring Bone Density- prevent and fight osteoporosis by building strong bones.

3) Increased Lean Muscle Mass- each pound of lean muscle mass burns 35-50 calories per day.

4) Injury Prevention- a solid foundation strengthens our bones, ligaments, and tendons.

5) Improved Balance- strong leg and core muscles help stabilize us.

6) Decreased Risk of Coronary Disease- strength training can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

7) Aids Rehabilitation and Recovery- the best way to strengthen and recover from an injury is to slowly build your strength around the injured area.

8) Enhanced Performance in Sports, Exercise and Life In General- climbing stairs, carrying the kids, or walking with your spouse becomes more enjoyable.

9) Aging Gracefully- strong muscles build a strong body. Strength training and fitness can help keep aging bodies in well-working condition.

10) Feeling Better and Looking Better- strength training reduces overall body fat, it tones our muscles and it builds confidence.

Why Strength Training Beats Cardio for Weight Loss

The theory behind strength training burning more than cardio comes from the idea that one pound of muscle uses more calories per day than one pound fat does. Take a look at the numbers:

182 calories are burned per day for each pound of kidney.

110 calories are burned per day for each pound of gray matter (brain stuff).

6 calories are burned per day for each pound of muscle.

2 calories are burned per day for each pound of body fat.

It’s true that you may burn more calories during a cardio aerobic session; however, a strength training workout may burn less calories during the workout but the real benefit of weight training starts after the workout is finished as you will burn more calories at rest than you will after an aerobic cardio session.

Why Cardio Doesn’t Beat Weight Training for Weight Loss

If you’re interested in boosting your metabolism to lose weight, ideally you would pair aerobic training with weight training for example, walking for 20 – 30 minutes then weight training for 20 – 30 minutes three times a week or more will be a better investment than either aerobics or weight training alone. However, if you have to choose, weight training would be a better investment than aerobics.

And that is if you don’t have a medical need to perform aerobics for heart and lungs efficiency. Aerobics make you heart and lungs efficient at oxygen consumption among other things.

Lets look at the numbers to see why strength training is better at weight loss than cardio aerobics:

40 minutes of moderate cardio (running 8:30 pace) vs. 40 minutes of moderate strength training


522 calories burned during the activity, 30 calories burned post exercise

Strength Training

136 calories burned during the activity, 20 calories burned post exercise, 30 calories burned from gained muscle

Cardio leads by 366 calories – Not so fast!

We are forgetting an important part of this scenario:

Take an average woman, 5’6” – weighing 140 pounds with average body fat of 30%.

140 lbs X 30% = 42lbs of body fat

98 lbs of Lean body mass (LBM) and 42 lbs of fat

Why is the LBM important? Because strength training increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the amount of energy (calories) expended while at rest. At rest the woman above would expend 2164 calories with 98lbs of LBM; however, BMR decreases with age and with the loss of lean body mass that’s why increasing muscle mass through weight training can slow or even increase BMR. That’s why weight training should be an important part of your fitness program along with cardio.

Womens Fast Weight Loss Strength Training Workout #1

Click here to view the fast weightloss strength training workout #1

Cardio Free Diet

According to famed author and personal trainer to the star’s and owner of Jim Karas Personal Training, LLC, Jim Karas, author of such notable New York Times bestsellers The Business Plan for the Body, Flip the Switch, and The Cardio Free Diet, says, “Cardiovascular workouts do burn a few calories, but far fewer than you think. And the more cardio you do, the hungrier you feel. Not only does cardio fail to help you lose weight, but it kills — it kills your time, your energy, your joints, and your motivation. You burn a few measly calories but then eat twice as many afterward. The result? Weight gain — and lots of it.” Jim emphasizes strength training to boost your metabolism; build lean, sexy muscles; and achieve all the same heart-healthy benefits of cardio. With just twenty minutes a day, three days a week, you can look and feel noticeably leaner, stronger, and younger than ever before.

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Benny Jones

Owner at LifeMeds LLC
Benny earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida in Exercise and Sport Science. Benny believes a well balanced wellness program should encompass flexibility, strength, balanced clean diet, and proper rest. Connect with us on our Google Plus Page Active. Healthy. Well.