Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Which Is Better?



There was a stupid girl who always felt there should be 24 hours and 5 minutes unlike those who thought 48 hours should maketh a day ! She needed 5 minutes extra for everything in life – to finish writing exam, to board a bus or a train, to complete a presentation and what not on earth! One day (not so fine day), she as usual was late to board her bus from office to her way back home. In a hurry, she boarded a wrong bus. Smart enough to realize her mistake, she got down at the next signal and pestered all the bus drivers on the road inquiring about the correct bus. She was again struggling for those 5 minutes to find the bus that would take her home. Finally, after a lot of running she finally boarded the correct bus. Catching her breath, the girl grabbed a seat and noticed her beeping mobile phone. Mr. Fit had sent a Whatsapp message asking about her workout. She replied saying that she is traveling back home and so out of breath ! Mr. Fit replied saying that half her cardio is done since she ran so much after buses 😉 The girl replied that cardio is a cakewalk when compared to this anaerobic exercise of chasing buses due to which she was panting so badly. Both started discussing about Aerobic vs Anaerobic exercise and which is best ! Do you know Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Which Is Better?

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Which Is Better?

What is Aerobic Exercise ?

The one with intensity and long duration. In short, your 45 mins- 1 hr long, boring monotonous cardio on treadmill is Aerobic in nature ! Some of the examples of aerobic exercise are walking, bicycling, cardio on treadmill or cross trainer(elliptical machine), jogging etc. Aerobic exercise is known to use fat for energy. During aerobic activity, the body remains in fat burning zone unless you push yourself too hard and start working out in high intensity. 

What is Anaerobic Exercise ?

Anaerobic exercise is high intensity exercise done for short intervals of time. The body uses glycogen manufactured from glucose for energy while doing anaerobic exercise. Since there is an instant need for energy, glycogen being a simpler structure breaks faster as compared to fatty acids. A few examples of Anaerobic exercise are weight training, sprinting, and rowing. HIIT is also a form of Anaerobic exercise. Read about HIIT here and its unending benefits here.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise:Which Is Better?

Anaerobic workouts need immediate energy reserves. Because of this, anaerobic exercises tend to burn more Calories from carbohydrates(glycogen) relative to fat, while Aerobic workouts do the opposite.

If you workout at a particular heart rate (around 60-70%), you will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat. This is called Fat Burning zone. Now, you may reason that since your idea is to lose Fat, then Aerobic exercises are better. Ummm, not quite true ! Let me explain.

It is true that lower your heart rate, higher the percentage of calories burned come from fat. This also means that your burn maximum fat while you are sleeping since your heart rate is at its lowest that time 😛 .So in theory, Sleeping is the best way to cut Fat. Does that happen in reality 😀 ? If that happened, I would have been a Bomb Shell right now 😉

The truth behind the above irony is that during Aerobic exercise while you burn a higher percentage of calories from fat, the total number of calories burned is much lower.

The important thing when you workout is to burn calories. More calories burnt means more fat lost ! As long as you’re burning more calories than your calories intake, you’ll lose weight. 3500 calories is what you need to lose 1 pound. This equation holds true even today. That doesn’t mean you can eat Rasgulla same in calories to your meal and lose weight though ! All calories can not be treated equal.

Anaerobic exercise has 1 advantage over aerobic exercises which will bowl you over ! Anaerobic workouts put your body into a period of postexercise oxygen consumption. This simply means that you continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate for hours after your workout. Your metabolism remains high for hours after your workout completion.

Have you ever wondered why Sprinters (Anaerobic) have better body as compared to Marathoners (Aerobic)? Check the pictures below –

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise Fat loss

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise Weight loss

Now again back to the same question – Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise:Which Is Better?

You can’t do Anaerobic exercise daily since they are high in intensity. You need a day gap for your body to recover. Hence, for best results, a combination of Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise is required.

For a better understanding of how to plan your workouts, you can refer to 1 monthly workout plan here. Any Questions? Scream 🙂 !