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Bolt vs Farah or Strength vs Cardio

A v quick one today. But I wanted to follow up on a question I was asked recently - "which is better for me, strength work (i.e. lifting weights) or cardio (i.e. running, cycling, walking, etc.)?"

To put it another way - should we be aiming to have the strength and power of Usain Bolt, or the low body fat and incredible endurance of Sir Mo Farah?

This is a common question - and as ever, the answer isn't simple. Or it is - both are good for you, so you should try and fit both kinds of training into your weekly routine.

But I'm not going to wriggle out of it that easily. Ultimately it really depends on what is meant by "better for me"? Some people want to lose weight. Some want to improve their fitness. Others want to achieve a certain sporting milestone (first 5km, marathon, triathlon, 100 mile cycle, etc.), while others are already at a good level of fitness but want to improve their athletic ability and get faster or go longer.

However, the broad answer is still the same - no matter what you want to achieve, you probably need some combination of both kinds of exercise. Instead, lets look at them in terms of what benefits they offer and what drawbacks they might have:


Great because its:

  • Generally low intensity

  • Easy to learn (most people don't need to be taught how to run or walk)

  • Can be done anywhere without needing special equipment.

  • Burns calories quickly during exercise

  • Quick to recover from and can be sustained for a longer time