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Should you Train for Cardio or Strength?

Both cardio and strength training are important components of a well-rounded fitness routine, and they each offer unique benefits when it comes to body recomposition. The effectiveness of each depends on your specific goals, preferences, and overall fitness level. Let's explore how they contribute to body composition:

Cardiovascular Exercise (Cardio): Cardio exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming, or aerobic classes, primarily focus on improving cardiovascular fitness, burning calories, and promoting fat loss. Here's how cardio can contribute to body composition:

  • Caloric Expenditure: Cardiovascular activities typically burn a higher number of calories during the workout session, which can contribute to creating a calorie deficit necessary for fat loss.

  • Cardiovascular Health: Regular cardio exercises improve heart health, increase lung capacity, and enhance overall endurance and stamina.

  • Fat Loss: Cardio exercises are effective at burning calories and promoting fat loss, which can contribute to improved body composition and a leaner appearance.

Strength Training: Strength training involves activities like weightlifting, resistance band exercises, or bodyweight exercises. It focuses on building and strengthening muscles, increasing overall strength, and improving body composition. Consider the following benefits of strength training for body recomposition:

  • Muscle Development: Strength training promotes muscle growth and development. Building muscle mass can help increase metabolic rate, leading to greater calorie burn both during and after workouts.

  • Body Composition: Strength training can help reshape your body by increasing muscle mass and reducing body fat. As muscle is denser than fat, it can give you a more toned and defined appearance.

  • Metabolic Impact: Muscle is metabolically active tissue, meaning it burns calories even at rest. Increasing muscle mass through strength training can have a positive impact on overall metabolism and contribute to long-term fat loss.

  • Functional Strength: Strength training improves functional strength, making daily activities easier and reducing the risk of injury.

For effective body recomposition, combining both cardio and strength training is often recommended. Integrating cardio exercises into your routine can help with overall calorie burn and fat loss, while strength training promotes muscle growth and body sculpting while increasing your resting metabolic rate.

When adding cardio to strength training programs, it is important to consider the demand of the strength training program. Each additional session of cardio should be considered an additional training session. To ensure you avoid overtraining, closely monitor the total number of training sessions in a week as well as your diet and recovery.


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