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Weightlifting or Cardio: Which is Better for Weight Loss?

February 2nd, 2022 | 2 min. read

By Jaime Monsen, Certified Health Coach

Woman running up a set of stairs for cardiovascular exercise

When you start venturing into more exercise, what should you be doing more of — weightlifting or cardio?

Before we actually get down into the details of that, keep in mind that a sedentary lifestyle is very damaging to the body. When it comes to movement, anything is better than nothing. If you're not doing anything at the moment, any kind of activity that you enjoy is going to give you benefits and increase your health.

Once you get past that, which is better for weight loss? Let's discuss. 

Cardio is a great starting point. 

Cardio is a great way to start with weight loss. People generally begin by focusing on the caloric burn and moving more throughout the day.

Keep in mind there is more to it than calories in, calories out. This is where it's really important to talk to a health coach to really understand the differences.

Any form of cardiovascular is still going to improve your cardiovascular health, burn calories, and enhance weight loss.

However, cardio is very limiting in the fact that it's not going to give you a lot of functional fitness. It won't give you a lot of muscle gain, and as we age, we're going to lose a lot of that.

Weightlifting is your engine.

So weight training, what I like to tell people is it's your engine, right?

If you're a vehicle driving around town and you have a large engine, you burn more gas. As a human, it basically works the same way. The more you're doing weight training, your engine is actually going to increase as well, giving you an opportunity to burn more gas.

Even though while actually weightlifting, it may look like fewer calories, but the long-term benefits are actually greatly enhanced.

The most important when starting either cardio or weight training is starting out where you are, finding out how much time you should be focusing on each, what's safe for you based on any kind of limitations you may have.

When it comes over to weightlifting, it's really important to assess how much you can lift, your body form, how many sets you should be doing, what should you be focusing on first before you jump into too much because injuries can occur.

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Jaime Monsen, Certified Health Coach

As a certified health coach at PartnerMD in Midlothian, VA, Jaime Monsen has more than 20 years of experience. She has worked with patients struggling with a variety of health and wellness issues, including weight, stress, sleep, balance, and more. Jaime is dedicated to getting to know you, your interests, your work, your family, and your day-to-day life. She aims to understand your unique challenges and create solutions that simplify your life and help you thrive.