0709-a-wh-fitness-1847
GYM

A WH Fitness Face Off

In one corner: Dumbbells. In the other: A jump rope. The ref: WH, slicing and dicing the research to determine whether strength or cardio rules.

0709-a-wh-fitness-1847

Passat or Prius?
Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? And when it comes to getting the body you want: strength training or cardio? Back when you carpooled in Ma’s minivan, men went to the weight room and women hit Jazzercise. But recently, taking a cue from athletes, many fitness gurus insist that strength training is where it’s at. Some even suggest ditching cardio altogether.

To KO fat — and keep it off…

Cardio’s edge Calorie for calorie, cardio has a slight advantage. You’ll burn 8 to 10 calories a minute hoisting weights, compared with 10 to 12 calories a minute running or cycling, says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., director of research at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Strength’s edge Lifting weights gives you a metabolic spike for an hour after a workout because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover. That means you’ll fry an additional 25 percent of the calories you just scorched during your strength session, Westcott says. “So if you burned 200 calories lifting weights, it’s really closer to 250 overall.” And if you lift heavier weights or rest no more than 30 seconds between sets, you can annihilate even more.

To resolve the strength vs. cardio conundrum, we culled research and chatted up experts to find out how each would fare in a head-to-head matchup (don’t worry, nobody’s going to bite anyone’s ear off). Whether you want to get buff, torch calories, or run your fastest mile ever, we’ve decoded which discipline you should devote your sweat to — and created a workout that’s perfectly proportioned to give you all the benefits. Now, let’s get ready to rumble…

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