People* used to be scared of weight training** and now I see so many posts about how weight training is better than cardio.

*people = lots of peeps on the interwebs, of varying degrees of actual knowledge on the topic
**weight training for women makes us manly?? that b.s. is old school, let’s leave it in the past.

Hot take on weights vs cardio? Maybe… 🔥

Cardio & Weight Training are both awesome, and serve different purposes.

Weight training is such a broad term.. let’s get clearer on that before we just lump it all up into one thing.

Compound Weightlifting (requires use of multiple joints and muscle groups to complete movement – think squatting) (also identified as Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, squatting/deadlifting/and more) is great for muscle growth, functional strength increase (that translates to actual pounds lifted across a specific distance and over a specific amount of time), building strong bones, increasing metabolism (this is complex), and I guess yes.. also shaping physique.

Isolated Weightlifting (requires use of only one joint and muscle group – think bicep curls) is great for rehabbing injuries, lower impact needs, building strong stabilizer muscles for safety in movement on compound lifts, and shaping physique.


I’m sure there’s many more good reasons for both of these types of training but I’m trying to give you a general picture here, not an exhaustive list 🙂

Now I want to enlighten you on the cardio side of things (get neon leotards and dance workout videos out of your head)…

JUST TO BE CLEAR. “Cardio” that people are usually talking about is low to moderate effort, long endurance cardiovascular sessions, which may actually look like a 30 minute bike ride or hour long walk.

Slow, long-lasting cardio of, oh, let’s just say 45 minutes to an hour is awesome for recovery! Or those days when you actually just want to enjoy the weather and go for a walk instead of getting into the gym.

Slow cardio is my friend when I need to sweat, recover from harder training days or just give myself a break. It’s still energy output so it burns calories, even if at a slower rate than higher intensity stuff, but if you burn 200 calories in 10 minutes in a HIIT session versus 500 calories after biking for an hour… you still burned more in the slow cardio session. And maybe that’s just what you needed! Who am I to say, another person on the internet who doesn’t know you?

It’s also true that with higher intensity exercise, and especially if weight training is added into that mix (think CrossFit WODs), you will continue burning calories at an accelerated rate throughout the rest of the day as your body attempts to rebuild the torn muscle from your training session (don’t panic! these tiny tears are how your muscles actually get stronger, as they rebuild the stressed fibers post-workout).

So just know yourself and what you need for that training session – sometimes the most essential part of a training program that lots of people miss or under-appreciate is REST and recovery.

And if you’re only exercising to burn a specific number of calories, just let yourself be free from that burden because it is literally impossible to know the exact energy (number of calories) we take in or what we’re able to burn in energy throughout the day (all things considered, like organ function, your workout, walking around the office, etc). That can be where exercising and eating become a battlefield rather than friends or tools to help you have a joyful, healthy life.

And last but not least…

High intensity cardio (“metabolic conditioning”), on the other side of the same hand, is an absolutely necessary tool for training overall fitness. “Fitness” being your ability to perform tasks while at high heart rates & your ability to recovery quickly from that high intensity work. High intensity training sessions can allow you to get in good work if you’re under a time crunch, it can quickly boost your energy (or take it all away I guess LOL depending on how intense we’re talking…) and can accelerate your achievement of fitness goals.


So overall…

Both weight training and a mix of slow/high intensity cardio sessions can keep you at your personal best, for enjoying life today and for many years to come.


This was obviously a very brief explanation on the topics at hand, and there are many more examples and things I need to talk about to make this discussion complete, but without getting all super-nerd on you, I thought it might help to know that no one way is right, but only choosing one way and believing bad things about another way can potential be harmful.


Relax a little more, enjoy your training and stick to your goals (if they’re good ones).


Happy training and recovering, friends!



I think people may feel triggered by “cardio” because they were taught that it’s “how you burn all those extra calories to lose weight,” or because we’re coming off of a generation (our parents – at least for me) who were in their 20’s and 30’s when “cardio” was all the rage and.. so was being thin. Eating disorders taught me that “cardio” would un-do all of my eating mistakes. CrossFit has taught me that “cardio” has many purposes, and all can be beneficial when used well.

6+ years as an amateur athlete – and many years before that as a young, impressionable girl with body dysmorphia – has taught me that both cardio (all kinds) and weight training (all kinds) can be harmful when done under poor supervision, when done to punish oneself, or when done in conjunction with a poor diet (or no diet a.k.a. starving yourself).

Please begin a journey of (if not loving then at least) honoring yourself as you would a loved one; don’t live in a broken relationship with food, and don’t punish yourself with exercise.



My new e-book: "Breaking Free: How I Broke Free From Eating Disorders and Found My Joy Again"