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Cardio or Strength Training? Which Is a Better Option for Improved Metabolism?

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Have you been an active fitness lover? Or are you just starting in the world of fitness? Whichever might be, this could be a significant question in the minds of people – cardio vs strength training.

Which one would you focus on? Well, the answer is pretty simple. By looking at the aspect of your metabolism, cardio is undoubtedly a better option than strength training. Why?

There have been various researches as well regarding this topic. Most of them have stated that a specific hormone called the FGF21 is released more during a cardio session in comparison to a session of strength training. The FGF21 hormone is significantly responsible for the metabolic rate of your body. Thus, it is evident that cardio is the clear winner here!

Let’s check out a few more reasons why your focus should be more inclined towards cardio rather than strength training if you want to increase your metabolic rate.

Burn more calories at a time

Ever felt your heartbeats at peak and sweat dripping after a cardio session? This is because when your heart pumps the blood at a faster pace to keep the momentum of breathing intact, you tend to burn more calories. And by burning more calories, your metabolic rate increases to a significant extent. Even a basic brisk walk of thirty minutes each day will turn you into a fat-burning machine. 

Helps to burn more fat

Where there is a higher metabolic rate, the better is your weight loss journey. This is because your metabolic rate is highly responsible for your overall weight loss. The more intense each of your cardio session is, the better is your metabolic rate. Thus, if you want to lose a few inches, then cardio is undoubtedly your best friend.

Better recovery time

This is quite a common notion that you need to have proper rest days during strength training. Why? This is because when you have muscle tears during strength training, you need an adequate amount of time to rest and build that muscle. This is precisely how you build your muscle. You might have faced DOMS too. Delayed onset of muscle soreness happens mostly during strength training sessions. To combat that, a greater number of rest days are essential.

On the other hand, this is certainly not the case with your cardio sessions. You can implement a cardio session almost every day according to your requirements. It doesn’t require much time to recover. But of course, never overdo it.

Low levels of glycogen

It is advisable to have your cardio session in the first hour of your morning. Why? This is because you barely have eaten a heavy meal in the first hour of the day. So, your body will burn your fat to have the energy for sustaining the entire workout session. This is because more energy is required during a cardio session compared to strength training. And as a result, your glycogen levels also decrease to a significant extent. You can learn more about this if you read resources such as a blog about bodybuilding.

Improved Heart Health

Another significant benefit of cardiovascular exercises is the increased heart rate. The more increased heart rate, the more your metabolic rate is, and the more is your calorie-burning rate! But there is more to that! 

Your heart is a pretty crucial organ, and to keep it fit and healthy, cardio is your way to go! It helps to fuel your body with oxygen. Your muscles and various organs need a sufficient amount of blood and oxygen to working efficiently. It makes sure that all of the muscles and organs get an adequate amount of oxygen and thus, aids in better circulation. 

It prevents various heart diseases like cholesterol from building up, which can be quite dangerous and lethal for your body. Therefore, the more you try to focus on cardio, the better is your heart health. 

Regulates diabetes

Those who choose cardio for their everyday exercises tend to have blood sugar levels in control. This is because, during a cardio session, your muscles utilize the glucose present in the body. This is excellent for diabetic patients. Thus, with the right diet and regular cardio sessions, you can maintain your overall health efficiently.

Improved lung efficiency

With cardio, as your heart health improves, so does your lungs too! Everything is pretty much connected here! How? Your body absorbs more oxygen during a full-fledged cardio session in comparison to strength training. And then, it transfers it to different parts of your body so that you have the energy to complete the entire workout and not collapse beforehand. This way, you are working on your lungs to a significant extent and building their efficiency as well, which is equally important.


Even though strength training is certainly not a bad option for your workout routine, cardio totally holds more importance because of its benefits. Cardio focuses on your overall body at a single time and is excellent for beginners as well. 

There are some good diet plans out there which give you some added advantage to improve your metabolism. One such programme is metabolic renewal. It has been designed by Dr Jade Teta. Tazafit says Metabolic renewal is a 12 weeks programme for women which not only helps to improve your metabolism but also kills frequent cravings and burns fat.

Strength training could be a more challenging choice if you are just starting out since you might not have the strength in your muscles to sustain the workout. But cardio mostly requires stamina and endurance. Thus, it is an outstanding choice for beginners!

Since we have discussed several benefits of cardio and why it is better for your metabolism, in comparison to strength training, it is time to gear up now! Wear your favourite workout outfit and hit your upcoming cardio session with full enthusiasm and energy.

Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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