I get asked this question all the time. “Which is best for losing fat; cardio or resistance training?” The answer to this is simple, but the mentality can be tricky. To make this as easy to understand as possible, let’s start with the basics. Your body burns from carbs when you do any kind of resistance training; i.e. lifting weights, high-intensity cardio (sprints, mountain climbers, and yes even those dreaded burpees!). It burns from fats when you’re doing any slower activity like jogging/walking, sitting, sleeping, etc. So at first glance, you’re probably like GREAT, cardio is better, right? But honestly, that’s not the case. In fact, resistance training is the way to go when your goals are losing fat and toning your body.

Here is why:

When you’re doing cardio you burn fat, but as soon you’re done with that activity you stop burning. Say for example, you’re jogging outside, which is burning calories. However, right when you stop jogging, your body stops burning. Always remember, cardio stands for cardiovascular (for your heart). It is by no means something you shouldn’t do. As a matter a fact, it is an important part of the fitness puzzle and keeps you healthy and balanced. Just don’t think of cardio as your main fat loss tool. Cardio alone will not tone your body.

When you’re doing resistance training your body is burning from carbs, however when you stop the activity, your body continues to burn… from FAT! Let’s say you’re doing exercises such as dumbbell back rows, squats, bicep curls and mix it up with mountain climbers and burpees. Your body is burning from carbs that entire time because that’s the easiest fuel source to pull energy from. But because of the energy needed by the body to recover and heal, you continue to burn calories from fat 48-72 hours after your workout. If you work out doing some kind of resistance training a minimum of 3x a week then your body will be in a fat burning state every single day!

So it’s great to do a solid mix of resistance and cardio to keep your body balanced and heart healthy. If your goal is to lose fat and tone your body then resistance training at least 3x a week and proper eating (more on that later) is your best bet.