Is Lifting Better Than Cardio?

It’s pretty common knowledge that both strength training and cardio play a role in fitness and health. However, there is a question of whether or not one is more important than the other.

Let’s look at the differences & similarities of each one to compare whether one has a more positive affect than the other.

Weight Lifting:

It is known that weight lifting is the number one to gain muscle. Also, weight lifting also boosts metabolic rate and increases metabolism. When you light weights, your metabolism is elevated 10% for up to 3 days.  When you are weight training, you burn more fat than you would with cardio because you are focusing on your muscles. Cardio makes you lose both fat and muscle whereas with lifting, you are focusing on increasing muscle mass.

Weight lifting changes your body composition for the better and provides more definition in your body. Loosing fat makes you slim, but gaining muscle sculpts your body and makes you strong.

Weight lifting also improves your overall mental health, and gives you confidence. Your physical health and appearance is improved as well, since weight lifting allows you to develop every muscle in your body. When you focus, and set our goals, lifting allows you to build your body to reach those goals.


There is a limit to how much you can do, because you don’t want to over train or injure your muscles. Whereas when you do cardio, you can typically do it every day because there are many different cardio activates.



Any cardio is the most basic way to burn calories. Cardio burns the most calories while you are physically active. Unlike weight lifting where you are still burning calories after your workout, your calories are only burned during cardio when you are active.

While certain cardio exercises can help build muscle, most cardio exercises do not help to build muscle in every point in your body like weight lifting. Typically during cardio you lose both fat and muscle, therefore making you the smallest version of yourself and not necessarily the strongest version of yourself.

Also, running doesn’t always have to be stressful on your body whereas weightlifting can be demanding on your body.  Doing a light cardio routine doesn’t put that much stress on your body compared to the soreness/recovery of weightlifting.

Cardio boosts your endorphin levels which helps suppress stress, depression, and anxiety. The feeling after a cardio activity makes you feel accomplished, and also gives you confidence.

If you are looking to battle your scale, shed fat, and suppress stress and depression, cardio is the way to go.


Running specifically only builds muscle on your legs and doesn’t provide a broad range of motion, and cycling specifically builds muscle in the quads/promotes bad posture. So, if these are your only means of cardio, you might be putting a lot of strain on your body.

Engaging in lots of cardio can make you tired and make it harder for you to lift weight


In conclusion, cardio is not better than weight lifting and weight lifting is not better than cardio. The difference between the two, comes down to the difference between fat loss and muscle building which ultimately comes down to your diet and fitness goals.

If your goal is to increase muscle mass and have defined muscles, then weightlifting is probably going to be what you decide is more important.

If your goal is to burn calories, fat, and muscle to be your smallest self, then cardio is most likely what you find to be more important.

However, combination is key. Combing both cardio and weight training is the most effective method to staying fit, lean, and healthy. Cardio is a great way to warm up before weight lifting or to cool down after, and can help you accomplish your goals of shedding fat.  If you mainly do cardio, adding weight lifting to your routine can help with your strength and endurance.

Both cardio and weight lifting require energy to perform and time to recover after a workout.

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