Which is better: Strength or Cardio?

HP Mar 15 Header

Let’s say your goal is to burn 300 calories. Which is a better method: a strength workout? Or a cardio workout?

It’s the same amount of calories…so does it even matter?

Hell yes!

Did you expect me to say anything otherwise!?

You must check out this week’s video below.

This week’s special Blog content

So how on earth do you keep cardio from becoming catabolic???

1. If you are doing cardio after a strength workout, keep it to 35 minutes or less.
2. Never, ever, ever, do cardio on an empty stomach. When? NEVER.
3. If your cardio must last longer than 45 minutes, sip on a beverage that has a little bit of carbs in it. Believe it or not, I use Gatorade from time to time, now that they removed the high fructose corn syrup.

Check out this week’s video below for more thoughts on this!

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As always, I’d love to hear from you. How do you split up your workouts? Can you feel the effects of catabolic cardio? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below!

8 replies
  1. Kate
    Kate says:

    Thanks for the info, Holly!

    I am in my 9th week of your fabulous ‘easy gainer’ workout from Lift to Get Lean, and I love it. Thank you so much for writing such a terrific book that got me back into the gym after 8 years.

    A quick confession and question for you: I have never been able to finish the designated reps of lunges (with no weights) or bicycles! They seem to ramp up in number every four weeks a little bit faster than I can keep up. What is the best thing for me to do?

    I have tried both a) doing the specified number of sets, doing as many reps as I can each time, and also b) doing extra sets, as many as needed until I can get the full number of reps in. The latter approach makes me feel more proud about my success, but also is leaves me worn out and feeling intimidated by the next gym session. What approach do you think I should take?

    Thanks again and keep up the great work.


    • Holly Perkins
      Holly Perkins says:

      Hi Kate,

      Congratulations to you for being on your 9th week of your workout plan and for going back to the gym to kick some butt! As for you lunges, I would suggest breaking up your sets into four, instead of two sets of 40 reps. So split it up into 4 sets of 20. The following week you should be able to do 4 sets of 30, and the following week after that, you should be able to do 4 sets of 40. You should be resting 5 to 10 seconds between each set and still keeping it at no weights. Also remember to fuel your body properly before and after workout. Don’t feel intimidated by your next gym session. You are so much stronger than you realize!!

      One other suggestion I would have for you, you should try out the newbie program. It would be great to really build up your strength. Let me know how this works for you.
      Stay STRONG

  2. Alicia
    Alicia says:

    This is great advice. You mentioned constant state cardio as not taking advantage of EPOCH or increasing your RMR, and being detrimental to building lean muscle mass. How about doing interval cardio training in conjunction with my strength training. I do a 1:2 ratio (1 min 85% intensity, 2 min rest at my constant state at 60%) on the treadmill or stationary bike for 30 min. What is this doing to my goal of building lean muscle mass? And will this take advantage of EPOCH and increase my RMR?

    • Holly Perkins
      Holly Perkins says:

      Hi Alicia! Great questions, and yes, yes and yes! That protocol for interval cardio is great for all of the above. It will boost your RMR by boosting EPOC, AND studies show that it is beneficial for building muscle. Looks like this affect is most likely caused by a boost in HGH and/or Testosterone. If your goal is to BUILD lean body mass I suggest doing the cardio intervals either after strength workouts, or at an entirely separate time. That will allow you to dedicate more energy to your strength workouts. Keep on being an AWESOME example of a strong woman!

  3. Staci
    Staci says:

    Great information, I never thought about cardio and strength training that way. I love to go for a good run, but I do love strength training much more! Thanks Holly for always having such great information.

  4. Shirley
    Shirley says:

    Hi Holly!

    Goal ???? Is to lose weight.

    Yesterday I set a new goal of 45 mins on the elipitical 6 days a week. Sounds like that may be too much.

    If I do yoga 2 days a week and strength training 2 days a week (with light weights – don’t have access to heavier weights on the island), how much cardio should I be doing?

    Thanks Holly!


    • Holly Perkins
      Holly Perkins says:

      Hello Shirley,

      I should suggest to keep your cardio 6 days a week for 30 to 40 min. The intensity should be at an 8, on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being too hard to do). Continue to do your cardio and strength training as well. Hope I was able to help. Let me know how this works for you.

      Stay STRONG!


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