When it comes to weight loss, most experts can agree on one thing: A calorie deficit (burning more calories than you eat and drink) is essential. While lowering your intake is one part of the equation, the other — what type of exercise you should do to burn more calories — is still up for debate.
For instance, one study in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed a cardio workout routine helped overweight exercisers lose more weight than strength training. But part of this difference is because those who strength train gain more lean muscle mass, which weighs more. Moreover, this shift in body composition is beneficial for keeping the weight off long-term, as building muscle can help offset the metabolism slow-down (and potential for weight regain) that often comes with weight loss.
So, if you had to choose, should you lace up your sneakers and run for speed or powder your palms and learn how to deadlift? Here, fitness pros take sides on whether cardio or strength training is the better plan for shedding pounds: