Cardio vs. Strength Training: Which is Best for You?

An age-old fitness concern that has echoed throughout time is the differences between cardio and strength training. The push and pull between cardio vs. strength training is a constant one, with most individuals debating between the two while trying to maximize their workouts. At the end of the day, neither fitness regime can be neglected for the sake of the other and each will provide its own unique benefits to those with a consistent workout schedule. Let’s dive deeper into the differences and similarities between cardio and strength training to figure out which of these popular workout types is best for your current goals.

A man and a woman planking on one arm

Cardio and Strength Training are Both Reliable Ways of Staying Active

The goals of the individual will ultimately be the determining factor in deciding between a cardio and a strength training routine. Ultimately, both will burn calories and help you stay active in the long run but will each contribute a different set of improvements. To properly strength train you need reliable access to weights and to effectively cardio train you need to have a consistent schedule and a large enough area to properly train in. 

Benefits of Cardio Exercise

While there are many benefits to gain from both cardio and strength training, cardio exercises have some unique advantages that are worth mentioning. Some of the benefits of cardio fitness routines include:

  • Accessibility: Cardio exercises tend to be more accessible, as running outside or taking a brisk walk is usually an easy option.
  • Cardiovascular Support: Cardio exercises are great for supporting cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, and combating heart disease.
  • Weight Regulation: Studies show that cardio and aerobic exercise can be highly effective for supporting weight loss and burning fat. 
  • Stress Relief: Many studies indicate that cardio exercise can help regulate emotions and boost your mood after a workout.

Bottom line: If you’re in debate over cardio vs. strength training, cardio is a great option for those looking to increase endurance, get faster, relieve stress, and burn fat in order to lose weight.

Muscley legs running down a long road ahead

Benefits of Strength Training

While cardio is great, when considering cardio and strength training both sides need to be considered. Some of the distinct benefits and appealing elements of strength training programs include:

  • Support for Bone Density: The process of strength training supports bone density and helps activate bones that were once dormant. This helps prevent bone-related diseases and helps address joint pain.
  • Build Muscle: Certainly the most obvious benefit, strength training pushes your muscles to the limit which supports muscle growth over time to help you become stronger. 
  • Burn Fat: While there may be fewer calories burned during the initial workout than cardio, strength training burns additional fat when your body is at rest, quickening your metabolism

Avoid Injury: A common factor in deciding between cardio and strength training, strength training done correctly doesn’t allow for as many injuries as cardio or aerobic routines might.

A man planking and lifting two dumbbells

Bottom line: If you’re in the debate over cardio vs. strength training, strength training is a great option for those looking to build muscle, increase endurance, quicken metabolism, and avoid fitness-related injuries.

Cross Train with Cardio and Strength Training at the Academy of Self Defense

There are many ways that cardio and strength training provide a similar experience. With both programs and a consistent workout schedule, you are likely to burn fat, boost your own self-confidence, sleep better, and more. Depending on your current fitness journey and goals in mind, a combination of cardio and strength training could be a great balance. Cross-training guarantees that you will have a well-rounded fitness experience and will challenge yourself to achieve peak performance within your goals.

Stay active within a cardio or strength training regime at the Academy of Self Defense! With our variety of classes, we provide countless opportunities to cross-train and get in great shape with cardio and strength training courses taught by our passionate team of fitness instructors. Sign up for a FREE two-week trial today!