Weights or Cardio for FAT LOSS?
A debate that I hear time and time again. Many get confused on what they should do to burn stubborn fat. A common misconception is that cardio burns strictly fat, and lifting weights builds muscle. This is FALSE. There is a short answer to this question as well as a long answer. I will start with the short answer.
Short answer: Weight Lifting.
Long answer: Cardio long term, makes muscle atrophy (shrink) which is not good. The more lean body mass (muscle) a person has, the higher that persons metabolism should be. Therefore, holding more muscle mass through strength training is crucial to a high metabolism and a lean body. The key is to realize that they go hand in hand.
To lose fat it comes down to ENERGY BALANCE. This means diet is the 100% most crucial factor in losing fat. A person has to be taking in less calories than they are burning to have a negative energy balance. This is called a caloric deficit. Weight lifting burns calories for 24-36 hours after to rebuild torn down muscle tissue. It rebuilds through a process called protein synthesis. This means that lifting weights will burn more calories long term than cardio.
Cardio makes a person burn many calories during the time that they are moving, but the number drastically drops once the session is over. Constant overuse of cardio can have a negative effect on lean body mass over time as stated above. This will slow metabolism.
Cardio and weights should go hand in hand. However, you NEED to prioritize lifting weights over cardio regardless if you are male or female. Cardio should only be a tool used to help get you into a slight calorie deficit. Ultimately it will take YOU getting your DIET in check to have any change in your bodyweight or fat percentage.