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 INSHAPE NEWS OPINION – Traditional Cardio Vs Metabolic Resistance Training


Nick Jack – CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Personal Trainer

Many ask whether there is “a one size fits all” or “what’s the best thing to do” for health, fitness and fat loss. Both traditional cardio and metabolic resistance training have their unique and different benefits, but the question is how they are different and which one is better?

Traditional Cardio

Exercises that fall under traditional cardio include running continuously at low intensity for a long duration. This form of exercise burns a lot of calories and is in the fat burning zone. So, it sounds great when you put it that way. But, there is a lot more to achieving optimal health than just weight loss.

The Danger Of Long Slog Cardio

Most people believe that the key to losing fat and getting in-shape is to spend lots of time doing long slow cardio sessions. If you don’t get a sweat then it is not a good workout! Thankfully this philosophy has evolved from the calorie counting and the more calories you burn the more weight you lose concept.

I will let you in on a secret – CALORIE COUNTING DOES  NOT WORK.  The reason is hormone related. Apart from elevated cortisol (stress hormone) which suppresses anabolic hormones like testosterone that produce muscle, research has found that people who performed long slow cardio suffered from decreased T3 hormone production. T3 is the hormone produced by your thyroid to burn fat. When you do cardio, your body reacts to the stress by suppressing this fat burning hormone. This means your body starts gaining fat straight away, for the body needs the fat in order to function.

Plus, this type of training, at this intensity, won’t speed up your metabolism. Why? Well, your body is unable to add muscle, which is the single biggest factor in speeding up metabolic rate. And apart from the metabolic downsides of cardio, loss of muscle occurs. These muscles are typically needed in daily activities, occupations and sports so they need to be maintained and improved. The one benefit this training does provide is the cardiorespiratory health. But I would still prefer INTERVAL TRAINING to long slow cardio for the benefits are significantly greater and it takes much less time.

Now let’s compare traditional cardio exercises to metabolic resistance training.

Metabolic Resistance Training

Metabolic resistance training covers all muscle groups and necessary movement patterns. Plus, it has the great benefit of speeding up your metabolism. Putting on more muscle will speed up your metabolism faster than any other method. Therefore, the body transports fat and other nutrients around the body better than a slower metabolism.

Sure, metabolic resistance training doesn’t burn as many calories throughout the workout. However, it will allow you to burn more calories when you rest. Speeding up your metabolism allows the body to burn more calories at rest, and throughout the next 24-hours. Generally, if you can get in a 1-hour training session, you’ll burn more calories over the next 23-hours of your day. In terms of general health, metabolic resistance training also improves your strength, stability and mobility. Of course, you need to exercise correctly to get these results. However, you may not achieve the desired cardio respiratory benefits as effectively. Therefore, supplementing with interval training is a good idea.

Which One is Better Cardio or Resistance Training?

Metabolic resistance training speeds up your metabolism. Also, it burns fat more efficiently and achieves more significant health benefits. But, your health needs consideration first. As such, developing your strength is a priority. Fitness needs consideration after health.

Cardio, on the other hand, improves the cardiovascular and respiratory system. Also, it improves endurance.

Overall, though there is a better result from a combining resistance and interval training. Plus, the best thing is they don’t take long to do.


Nick Jack is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, Level II Holistic Lifestyle Coach and personal trainer. He runs a personal training business called NO Regrets Personal Training.

Nick likes to lift weights, cycle, run and triathlon. He has played almost every sport at one time in his life. Now, he enjoys spending time walking his dog and relaxing with his wife and friends.

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Disclaimer: The information published in this column is based on the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion don’t substitute professional medical advice or treatment. Therefore, always seek the advice of a doctor or health provider with any medical questions. Also, visit a doctor before beginning any nutritional or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


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