Cardio vs. Weights - FIT Human Performance

Cardio vs. Weights


August 26, 2012

The question arises…cardio or weightlifting for maximum calorie burn? 

In the never-ending ‘battle of the bulge’ the debate always emerges as to what activities we should engage in for weight loss.  My answer is a very obvious one and about as honest as it gets.  Do an activity you enjoy and one you will be consistent with that will allow you to reach a safe but intense workout.  But, some still consider this answer vague and also remind me I have not given a definite answer to the first question.  So here are some key points and fitness facts to get us closer to the answer. 

Weightlifting Calories

According to the Mayo, a 160-pound person performing a weight lifting workout uses 219 calories per hour. However, a 240-pound exerciser expends 327 calories an hour doing the same workout. 

Cardiovascular Calories

A 160-pound person who jogs for an hour uses 584 calories, while the 240-pound exerciser uses 872 calories per hour, according to By session, cardiovascular workouts clearly burn more calories than weightlifting exercise.

Post-Exercise Burn

“While it is evident that cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than lifting weights, the true work your body does is after the workout! The movement part of exercise is critical as your body is a mobile work of art and an incredible machine the needs to move.  Our brain sends signals to move the leverage system into momentum, balance, and posture.  And from these movements, calories are burned.  After movement, the body must restore itself to it’s natural balance called homeostasis.  This in turn requires work, otherwise known as metabolism.  So one, the body must restore or re-fuel it’s gas stations with glycogen/glucose (sugar the body derives from all foods.)  Secondly, the body must repair damaged muscles from any movement it makes.  This takes a little more time than refueling.  Therefore, the true calorie expenditure comes from EPOC, or exercise post oxygen consumption.  Metabolism increases after cardiovascular exercise only last 30 to 60 minutes, whereas post weight training metabolism increases for up to 48 hours.  And that is when the body is truly redesigning your appearance, or beating the bulge.   

The answer … weightlifting burns more calories than cardio does. If you aren’t sure about my answer, visit F.I.T. and do both! 

In good health, 


The quality of life is determined by it’s activities.” – Aristotle