Most people who are trying to shed body-fat are very fixated on doing it FAST. There are no shortcuts to getting fit and healthy, but some strategies are faster than others. With this in mind, you may ask: yes, but is weightlifting a better calorie-burner than cardio?

Both weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise burn calories, the results vary from person to person, because the intensity with which you perform an exercise and how much you weigh will determine how much energy you use. You certainly should do both weightlifting and cardio, but again, the way you incorporate each part in your routine depends on your goals, intensity and weight.



Cardio burns a lot of calories during the cardio workout. You will burn more calories during a cardio session like speed running, than in a lifting session that lasts for the same amount of time. The longer you workout, the more calories you burn. During an intense cardio, you could burn up to 800 calories.

And since you need to burn about 3500 calories to shed a pound of body-fat, if you do long and intense cardio sessions without putting all those calories back, you could reach your goals faster. That means you would have to do plenty of long and intense cardio sessions and count your calories all the time. Many athletes wear compression leggings and upper body compression in order to help them lengthen their cardio session, to promote proper blood flow and relieve pain during and after training.

However, cardio has many benefits. It supports ATP production, helps reduce your cortisol levels, aids better sleep and recovery and elevates your heart rate. During cardio sessions, you metabolic activity increases and fat cells melt away.  So cardio is a great stress reliever and it will help you shrink down to your desirable size.



After a cardio session, your metabolic increase lasts from 30 to 60 minutes. But with weightlifting, your metabolic increase can last up to 48 hours. Even more wonderful is that long-term weight training promotes a long-term metabolic increase.

Weight training will help you build up more lean muscle mass, that will become that calorie burning powerhouse of your body. So after you workout, those muscles will continue to burn while they repair and prepare for the workout ahead. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn after you work out.

Another thing that makes lifting preferable to cardio is that it allows you to reshape and tone your body. While cardio is great for melting fat cells and helps you lose weight, lifting helps you melt body-fat while building the form and size of your muscles. Weight training can make you quite sore, especially if you train a certain muscle to failure. So many weightlifters use compression garments to distribute adequate pressure on their muscles and to speed up their recovery.

So if you want a more attractive and defined physique, weightlifting wins over cardio this time. Not everyone who trains with weights will bulk up, especially women and men who have low testosterone levels. So looking 'big' as soon as you pick up a weight is a misconception. Building muscle takes a lot of targeted effort, aided by nutrition and supplements that are meant to help you grow in size.

While cardio promotes the production of happy hormones and reduces stress hormone levels, weight training promotes an anabolic state that helps with muscle mass gains. So, if you want to tone and shape your body, lifting will help you achieve that.



Now we know that cardio burn more calorie during the workout, and that lifting while it does burn a lot of calories during training, it keeps your metabolic increase up for a maximum of 48 hours. Of course, this varies from person to person and things like weight, intensity, body composition, and diet play key roles into how much you will end up burning, but there are things everyone can do to maximize their caloric burn during their weightlifting sessions.

Compound movements will help you burn more calories than isolation exercises. Squats, deadlifts and kettlebell exercises will help you recruit more muscles and increase calorie burns. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) includes both strength movements and cardio, so this is the best way to maximize your caloric burn.

It will help you build lean muscle and improve your cardiovascular system. However, HIIT workouts shouldn't be performed to failure, so don't overdo it. Work intensely and only as much as you can handle. That will promote your metabolic increase after training as well. HIIT sessions help develop a strong muscle-mind connection and compression gear helps with proprioception, for faster and better results.



Kettlebell exercises are amazing for HIIT session because they combine cardio with weight lifting. You can perform them with one or both arms and they target your arms, shoulders, upper body as well as your lower body muscles, like hams and glutes. For a better performance and maximum results, wear compression gear like a shirt and short leggings in order to protect your muscles against trauma and speed up your recovery rate.


Kettlebell Swing



  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width, bend over at the hips with knees bent, and keep a neutral spine.
  • Grasp the kettlebell with an overhand grip and lift it off the floor, by pulling your forearm against your thighs. Keep your hips and knees bent.
  • Keep your torso upright, drive your hips forward and straighten your knees in order to push the kettlebell forward and upward.
  • As the it swings back down, fold at the hips and bend your knees. As your forearms reaches your inner thigh, let the kettlebell swing under your hips.
  • Repeat the movement immediately and continue to swing the weight.
  • Allow your swings to reach shoulder or eye level for better results.


Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift



  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width and squat down between your legs to grasp the kettlebell with an overhand grip with both hands.
  • Pull the weight off the floor by extending your hips and knees. Keep your chest high and stand upright.
  • Lower the kettlebell between your legs while squatting back down.
  • Repeat with a limited range of motion - do not jerk the weight off the floor.


Kettlebell Snatch



  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Bend over at the hip and bend your knees, keeping a neutral spine.
  • Lift the kettlebell with an overhand grip and pull your forearm against your inner thighs, while keeping your hips and knees bent.
  • Push your hips forward, keep your torso upright, and your knees straight, so that the kettlebell starts to swing forward.
  • Raise your shoulder and slightly pull the weight towards your body, with your elbow pointing outwards.
  • Decelerate the rise by allowing the kettlebell to rotate in your hand into an inverted position.
  • Punch the weight upward in an overhead straight arm position, with the kettlebell positioned behind your forearm.
  • Swing it forward and downward into a lower position and fold at the hips while bending your knees.
  • As your forearm reaches your inner thigh, swing the kettlebell back under your hips and repeat the movement.



Remember, whether it is cardio or weightlifting (or both), you still need to watch your caloric intake in order to shed the unwanted body-fat. If you train hard, but continue to eat above your recommended calorie intake, your results will take a lot of time to show up.

It is best to try and combine both cardio and weight training for your calorie burning goals. HIIT sessions are the best way to combine the two, but you could also use cardio as a 10-15 minutes warm-up before your weightlifting session. And warm-ups before your workouts are very important. Don’t forget to stretch afterwards as well!

Weightlifting is ultimately a better long-term strategy to achieve your fat-loss goals, but cardio has its benefits that you shouldn’t neglect. Full-body workouts are a great way to help you build strength and shed unwanted body-fat. Click here for a full body-workout designed for fat-loss! Try it yourself and you’ll see excellent results in no time!


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