When it comes to physical health, the debate between cardio and lifting is one that has many components.
For starters, the answer to which is better really comes down to the individuals themselves.
Simply put, if your goal is to lose weight, lose fat or just tone your body in general, cardio and a good diet will help you get this done. Whether it be the treadmill, stairmaster or just good old fashioned running, burning as many calories as possible will help you see results.
On the other side, lifting is something that helps people complete the same goals that cardio does, just in a different way.
For weight loss, performing cardio after your weight training workout is best for fat metabolism. This has been shown where resistance training 20 minutes and 120 minutes before endurance exercise resulted in greater fat metabolism compared to endurance exercises alone, according to studies done by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Whether you are looking to build muscle mass, gain strength or just feel better, lifting is an activity that can help you do all of that. It is difficult to determine what is “better” because it comes down to the goals that you want to accomplish for your specific body.
Doing cardio before or after lifting weights is known as “concurrent training,” which is training two different qualities (strength and endurance) within the same session or day.
For sophomore finance major Sydney Smith, lifting and cardio are equally important to her lifestyle.
“I think they both are really important to maintaining good health,” she said. “I would say that doing cardio is better for someone’s body in the long term but both have their benefits.”
Smith, a member of the Club Rugby team at the University of Maryland, said she has to remain in shape in order to be at the top of her game while playing.
“When playing rugby, you need both the strength of lifting and the endurance of having good cardio,” she added.
Senior communications major Nate Allen got into lifting over a year ago.
“I have nothing against cardio but I definitely focus my energy on lifting and getting bigger,” he said. “Everyone has different bodies and goals so it is really just up to you and whatever makes you feel and look the best.”
Senior engineering major Eric Jennings agrees with Allen. Jennings appreciates both forms of exercise, saying he does about 60% lifting and 40% cardio.
“They’re both something that you need to do to be healthy in general, so why should I neglect one of them?” he said.
Jennings ends his workouts with 20 to 30 minutes of cardio, whether it be the treadmill, track or simply walking back to his apartment.
“As long as you treat your body right by eating the right things and working out as much as you are capable of, you will see a difference in how you feel and look.”