Cardiovascular workouts and weightlifting are two types of exercise that differ in intensity, duration, and the groups of muscles that they use. They also burn calories in different ways. While cardiovascular exercise helps the body burn more calories per session, lifting weights allows the body to burn more calories in the long term.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) define aerobic exercise as any activity that uses large muscle groups, is possible to maintain continuously, and is rhythmic.
The ACSM define anaerobic exercise as intense physical activity of short duration, which uses fuel from energy sources within the contracting muscles rather than relying on inhaled oxygen. Lifting weights and sprinting are both examples of anaerobic exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise (cardio) is a form of aerobic activity. It increases breathing rate, burns calories quickly, and improves overall endurance. Examples of aerobic exercise include cycling, dancing, jogging, and swimming.
How long do the effects last?
Cardio generally has a less prolonged aftereffect than lifting weights.
In many studies, experts use “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPOC) to measure this effect.
For example, the researchers working on a 2014 study used it to measure the positive effects of cardio on men with metabolic syndrome. EPOC refers to the amount of oxygen that the body requires to return to its pre-exercise or resting state.
A 2018 study looking at the effect of resistance training in sedentary adult women found that this activity, which includes weightlifting, elevated the participants’ overall basal metabolic rate (BMR) for up to 48 hours. The BMR is the number of calories that the body burns at rest.
Lifting weights usually leads to higher EPOC levels than cardio, resulting in more significant muscle breakdown. This means that the body continues to burn calories even after completing a weightlifting workout.
Calculating the calories that weightlifting burns
Online calculators can help a person establish how many calories they burn, taking their weight and physical activity of choice into account.
For example, the Calorie Burn Rate Calculator outlines various calorie burn counts depending on body weight and the type and intensity of physical activity.
Similarly, the Omni Calculator uses the activity type and duration to estimate the total number of calories that a person burns. It also helps predict how much weight a person can expect to lose.