• Robert Karpathios

Case Study: Cardio vs Strength Training

A lot of people are under the impression that to lose fat, you need to perform endless hours of cardio and suffer through grueling circuits of burpees, box jumps and mountain climbers. If you’re guilty of this, today is your lucky day, because we’re going to talk about why strength training is far more superior than traditional cardio for losing body-fat, becoming super hero strong and looking your best.

At the end of the day, to make changes to your body-weight, you need to be tracking your calories according to your goals. Want to gain weight? Eat in a caloric surplus. Want to lose weight? Eat in a caloric deficit. Want to maintain weight? Eat at your caloric maintenance. For the purpose of today’s case study, let’s assume that calories are controlled at maintenance across the board.

Let’s take two identical twins, twin #1 and twin #2. Each twin weighs 200lbs and is sitting at 20% body-fat. Like mentioned above, they’re both eating at their caloric maintenance which means their weight won't change at all. Does this mean that they won’t make changes to their body? Let’s find out.


Strength trains 3-4 times per week, performing movements such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, rows and more, all while performing ZERO cardio or circuit training.

Over the course of 6 months, twin #1 ends up losing 10lbs of body-fat and gaining 10lbs of muscle. Technically, he weighs the same 200lbs as when he started, except now, he's at 15% body-fat instead of 20%. Twin #1 has added more shape (muscle) in the right areas and has reduced excess fluff (body-fat) from his problem areas, all while becoming stronger and improving bone density.


Searches for the latest internet trends, performs hours of cardio on the treadmill each week and suffers through grueling circuits of burpees, box jumps, mountain climbers and other HITT programs.

Over the course of 6 months, twin #2 has only lost 4lbs of body-fat and gained only 4lbs of muscle. This leaves him at the same 200lbs and now 18% body-fat. He hasn’t added much shape (muscle) to the right areas and he still has some fluffy (body-fat) problem areas. Not to mention, he hasn’t gained any strength either.


Each twin has undergone what is called a “body recomposition”, which means they have both lost body-fat and gained muscle at the same time, leaving them at the same body-weight as when they started. The difference lies in the methods they used to get there. As you can see, twin #1 has experienced a much more desirable outcome by use of regular strength training and not opting for cardio. Twin #2 has also made some progress, but not nearly as desirable as twin #1.

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