• DisciplineFitnessCoach

Strength Versus Cardio For Fat Loss

A fundamental question that arises within the health and fitness industry has to be this question.


Which one should I do more of to lose fat?


The most common answer is "a balance of both". Well I'm not going to give you that answer straight away but what I will do is give you some definitions and then let you make up your own mind.

The definition of cardiovascular is simply a system in your body which is made up of your heart, blood, and the blood vessels. Via the blood vessels your heart pumps blood around your body carrying oxygen and nutrients. On it's way back to the heart your blood carries carbon dioxide and other waste. This is called a cardiac cycle which is the sequence of events that occurs in one complete heart beat. This happens about 60 to 80 times per minute depending on how conditioned you are.

As your body moves (which is driven by the muscles signalled by the CNS) your cardiac cycle increases meaning your "heart rate goes up". Again depending on how conditioned your muscles are will determine the how fast, how high, and how long each cardiac cycle will be. If you were to pick up a 10 kilogram bag of potatoes from the ground and lift it over your head for about a minute or 10 repetitions what do you think happens to your cardiac cycle? How many muscle groups are you engaging and are forced to chip in to lifting the bag of potatoes?

In the process you'd be burning calories, developing strength and increasing your endurance capabilities. Of course you need to be doing this over and over again for a number of months to notice some significant gains but suffice to say soon enough you'd be feeling pretty good about yourself.

Now let's have a look at the "other cardio". The jargon you read about in magazines and hear on TV. The type of thing you get asked when you go to the gym - "Are you doing weights or cardio today?" Usually this means are you going to jump on a treadmill for 45 minutes or are you going to lift some iron.

Of course running and cycling will increase your heart rate and burn energy while clocking up endurance in your legs which is a great benefit if this is what you're trying to achieve. But what you must ask yourself is exactly that - What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to be a better runner, cyclist, rower, or do you want to change your body composition while building strength and increasing cardiovascular efficiency?


From this we can determine that the more specific your goals the more specific your training must be. But, if you're not an athlete or have no interest in keeping up with what's trending on social media then take these 7 points with you to the gym;


  1. Choose a few compound exercises;

  2. Incorporate exercises which engage the whole body;

  3. Warm up with the chosen exercises and identify your capable range of motion;

  4. Use a steady tempo so your muscles do all the work rather than momentum;

  5. Work within a specific rep range depending on your goal;

  6. Determine your rest subjectively;

  7. Aim for the required number of sets and repetitions based on your programming.

I am a bit of a fan of the "build more muscle to increase your metabolism" theory. Although, this is a true statement, it will require you to stack on a large volume of muscle before there is any real significant change.

Why I don't train my clients this way is because most people will tend to do the weights program and then feel like they can eat anything they want because their "metabolism is now faster". This difference in metabolic increase is not enough to warrant this type of thinking.


If you want to get the right type of training with the best results, then reach out to Discipline Fitness, today!



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