Whether you do cardio instead of, or in addition to, weight training will depend on your fitness goals. Here are some things to think about as you plan your workout routine.

Weight training builds muscle
A prime advantage of lifting is the muscle you’ll build. Muscle is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for a favorable muscle to fat ratio and you’ll enjoy a higher metabolism. That means you’ll burn more calories, even at rest. Muscle weighs more, but it is leaner than fat. Although you may not see the numbers drop on the scale, your waistline will be smaller and clothes will fit better. In other words, you’ll look tight and toned. This strategy is ideal for bulking up or maintaining weight if you’ve already reached your goal. Although metabolism is higher for several hours after weight training, for most people on a moderate lifting program this is not the best option for significant weight loss.

Fit people working out in weights room at the gymYes, weight training burns calories….
Contrary to popular belief weight training can provide a rigorous calorie burning workout.

But cardio burns more
Opinions differ on this but many experts agree that if your goal is weight loss the best strategy is some combination of weight training and cardio. Particularly if you want a lean, cut look your focus should be on increasing cardio and decreasing calories. If you weight train, opt for a 25/75 combination with cardio.

Cardio is key for maximum weight loss
High-intensity interval training is best. HIIT training pushes you to work at maximum effort (exercise at a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10) for maximum calorie expenditure. HIIT helps you burn more fat as well.

If you must choose
Make cardio your priority if you want to lose more than a few pounds or get rid of excess body fat. If you are at or near your goal weight or want to bulk up, choose weight lifting. Luckily, most of us have the option of choosing variety. Switching up your routine keeps you interested and engaged, so you’re more likely to stick with it. Instead of lifting every day, get in some cycling, swimming and even rock climbing or dancing. You’ll still be giving your muscles (especially the most important one, your heart) a workout. You’ll look pretty good in that swimsuit, too.