Cardio vs. Weights: The Battle for The Fitness Throne

We’re in the business of helping people reach their health and fitness goals. Part of that means busting the myths floating around concerning health and fitness. And believe us, there are many. With so many different claims, fad diets and unrealistic health promises out there, it can be difficult to sift through what’s fact and what’s fiction.

Here’s one question we get asked all the time: cardio vs. weights — which one is better? Is one superior to the other, or are they equal, and is one better for weight loss? We’ll attempt to get to the bottom of this classic dilemma in just a bit.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and see who would go home the winner in a battle of cardio vs. weights.

alice lunge bulgarian split squat legs cardio

Cardio and weight loss

When it comes to weight loss, cardio is probably the style of exercise that comes to mind. Activities like running, jumping rope and team sports like basketball and football all fall into this category. And, if you go to the gym from time to time, you’ve probably noticed that there are machines made explicitly for cardio like the elliptical and stair climber.

In case you’re not already familiar with the term, cardio is short for cardiovascular. Also known as aerobic exercise, this sort of workout includes any activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat. Cardio can be done outside, in the pool, in the gym or even in the mountains — fun activities like hiking and climbing are both considered cardio exercises!

One merit when it comes to cardio and weight loss is that it tends to burn more calories in an hour than strength training does. For example, someone who weighs 160 pounds (63 kg) would burn around 250 calories jogging at a regular pace, while weight training would only burn between 130 and 220 calories. But don’t let that throw you off — even though cardio tends to burn more calories per hour, weight training has its list benefits that really pay off down the line.

Here’s a list of what else cardio can do for you:

  • Reduce the risk of stroke
  • Increase circulation, promoting clearer and healthier skin
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Strengthen your heart and improve the level of so-called “good” cholesterol (HDL)
  • Help regulate your sleep cycle and promote REM sleep
  • Boost your mood and improve your self-esteem
  • Increase energy levels throughout the day
weight training loss healthy strength

Weight training and weight loss

There’s a common misconception that weight training and weight loss don’t go hand and hand. That’s because many people associate strength training with bulking up. However, bodybuilders and other bulkier athletes are usually eating a substantial amount of food to get that way. If you eat reasonably portioned healthy foods or maintain a healthy caloric deficit, then gaining weight (specifically, getting bulky) from strength training isn’t something you need to worry about.

The thing that makes weight training and weight loss work well together is that strength training can actually help your body burn more calories throughout the day, even when you’re doing absolutely nothing. Yep, steadily building more muscle weight will result in your body burning more calories, even at rest.

What else can weight training do?:

  • Improve your posture
  • Lead to better stamina and increase muscle endurance over time
  • Strengthen your bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduces your percentage of abdominal fat
  • Alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety

Cardio vs weights — which one is better?

We’ve weighed out the advantages of both, and now the 8fit cardio vs. weights battle has come to an end. So, what’s the verdict? Who wins? You may have already guessed it  — it’s a tie! We recommend a combination of both cardio and weight training for maximum fitness results. Although weight training and weight loss may not seem like a likely pair, we think they’re a match made in heaven.

Of course, nothing keeps the heart healthy and happy like good ole cardio. And, weight loss is more likely to happen if you combine cardio workouts with strength training activities and good nutrition. In fact, we can’t stress this part enough: nutrition plays a significant role in weight loss and can even account for up to 80 percent of your end result. Unless you exercise at an athletic level, it’s nearly impossible to burn off all the calories you would consume from a nutrient-poor diet.

Where does 8fit come in?

Just ten minutes a day of high-intensity training (HIIT) — like 8fit’s workouts that make use of both cardio and strength exercises — is all that it takes to start profiting from an increase in endorphins, higher energy levels, and better sleep.

Don’t believe us? Try this 10-minute HIIT workout today, then schedule it again two days from now. You’ll need enough space to lift your arms and do a plank. Grab a timer and repeat this sequence five times:

  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • 20-second squat hold
  • 10-second rest
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers 
  • 20-second plank hold
  • 10-second rest

Together with a healthy diet, you can start seeing significant changes in almost every aspect of your life, not just when it comes to losing weight.

male decline push up at home workout

Our philosophy

Your weight loss journey doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Take things slow and set reasonable goals. Remember, it’s not a race, it’s a lifestyle change. Learning how to eat better and exercise more effectively can feel challenging at first, but with 8fit by your side, you’ll never go it alone. Complete with hundreds of recipes curated by our in-house nutritionists and an extensive library of HIIT exercises designed by certified fitness trainers, you’ll receive guidance by top-class health and fitness experts.

8fit’s exercises are fast, effective and convenient. You can do a workout anytime, anywhere — all you need is your smartphone and some space to train. Novice or expert — we’ll guide you through every exercise, no matter what your current fitness level may be. Sign up to 8fit Pro and you can enjoy workouts that strike the perfect balance of cardio and bodyweight strength training, no matter your goal.