Cardio vs Weight Training for Fat Loss

So, you’ve decided to lose some fat, but you’re not sure how to get there in the quickest way possible. With only so many hours in a day, you want to make sure you’re getting the most effective workout for your time.

Bring on the age-old debate: Is cardio or weight training more effective for fat loss?

The short answer? While doing cardio can certainly help you achieve your fat loss goals, weight training is far more effective, and will also give you a more toned body shape overall. Typically, the combination of cardio AND weight training will be your quickest route to achieving fat loss - but it’s important to make the weight training more of a priority than the cardio.

Still not sure how much of each to do? Here’s everything you need to know about cardio vs weight training for fat loss:


Ah, cardio... either you love it, or you hate it, right? From high intensity interval training (HIIT) to long walks on the beach, we already know that there are many different forms of cardio to choose from, but what are its advantages and disadvantages?


  • Great for burning immediate calories

  • Boosts endurance levels

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Promotes overall heart health

  • Improves oxygen uptake (lung capacity)

  • Boosts mood and endorphins


  • Can end up losing muscle in the process

The Bottom Line - Cardio is an effective tool for raising your endurance levels, promoting overall heart health and burning those extra calories, but may actually result in you losing muscle overall.


Over the years, weight training has typically been given the reputation of being an activity strictly for bodybuilders, typically males, who want to “bulk up” or build massive amounts of muscle. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are SO many advantages to weight training beyond just building muscle. Below are some of the most common advantages and disadvantages to weight training.


  • Burns calories for hours after your session

  • Great for building lean muscle mass

  • Boosts overall metabolism

  • Builds strength, power and performance

  • Increased muscle promotes more overall fat loss

  • Creates a more toned body shape

  • Boosts mood and endorphins


  • Burns less calories in the same time frame than most cardio activities

The Bottom Line - Although weight training doesn’t burn as many calories immediately, it promotes a longer-term calorie burn well beyond the workout period and does most of the work in shaping your body the way you want it.


Cardio will definitely help you to lose weight; however, this weight loss is typically a combination of both fat AND muscle, leaving you looking like a smaller version of your current self with little to no shape or tone. On the other hand, weight training will promote muscle growth, which inevitably will help to shape your body and enhance your natural curves. Depending on your goals and aesthetic preferences, weight training may be the more favourable option for you.

The ideal program for overall fat loss will always be a combination of BOTH cardio and weight training; however, if you aren’t a fan of cardio and still want to change your body composition, a strictly-weight training program while eating at a caloric deficit should definitely do the trick.

What type of exercise do you prefer - cardio or weight training?

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