Yoga vs Gym: Which is More Effective?

Yoga vs gym.

Which is better?

If you're trying to get fit, you may be wondering whether to spend more time in the studio or underneath some heavy weights. 

For most, a combination of both pursuits can help avoid boredom and get more well-rounded results. But, if you are determined to choose, this article compares yoga vs gym and explores which burns the most calories.

Let's dive in.

The Benefits of the Gym

If you have a specific fitness goal in mind, joining a gym and heading there for regular workouts could be the best way to achieve it.

At the gym, you typically focus on one goal or one muscle group at a time. So, you can choose to hit the elliptical machine, treadmill or stationary bike for cardio one day, use the machines on leg day, and use free weights to increase upper body strength. 

Much of the equipment at the gym is beneficial to people with specific ability levels. You won't want to grab the heaviest weights when you are just getting started.

Also, most machines focus on parts of the body rather than the body as a whole. Because of this, it's important to look at different gyms and find one that is a match with your current level of fitness and strength.

When you are first starting out at the gym, you will probably want the assistance of a personal trainer. They can help you identify the right series of exercises to meet your goals. They can also give you vital tips about form to help you get the most benefits and avoid injury. 

The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga isn't just a physical exercise. It's a mind and body practice that reduces pain, combats stress, keeps the body lean and even helps with digestion.

Yoga is mainly a body weight exercise, which means you can do it anywhere you have room without having to worry about specialized equipment. That said, many people find it helpful to go to classes at first, so they can learn the proper form and get more information about important facts like proper yoga breathing.

Yoga is a good choice for people of any fitness level. Every yoga pose has modifications that can make that pose achievable, even for beginners who do not have as much strength and flexibility. There are over 100 different types of yoga, so try more than one type of practice.

Yoga's benefits don't stop when you leave the studio, either. Adding yoga to your routine can help improve your performance in sports and other activities. It can also make you less prone to stress, headaches, insomnia and pain. Practitioners say they feel more energetic and focused throughout the day as well. 

Is the Gym or Yoga Better for Weight Loss?

A typical weight-focused gym session can burn approximately 300-500 calories. Your body may require more time to repair due to muscle breakdown. These stats are based on the experiences of a six foot, 38-year-old male. Yours may vary depending on age, weight and metabolism. 

However, this is assuming you're following a rigid training program and know what you're doing.

A basic 60-minute yoga class will burn between 100-200 calories. An intense typical hot yoga class can burn between 200-500 calories, depending on your skill level. This type of practice will aid rather than hinder the repair of your body, although it may leave you feeling more dehydrated.

Activity statistics for a yoga session

Again, these stats are based on the experiences of the aforementioned above male using a Whoop fitness tracker. Your stat may vary depending on age, weight and metabolism. 

A hard session at the gym is probably better for weight loss, assuming you're following the right program. However, you can lose the same amount of weight and tone up by committing to a hot yoga practice or holding challenging poses for longer. Yoga may also cause you to become more mindful of what you put into your body.

Garbage in, garbage out!

Activity statistics for a gym session

Yoga vs Gym: the Pros and Cons

If you only have time to fit in one sport, consider what you want from training. A weightlifter is better served at the gym, whereas an injury prone athlete might get more from a yoga practice. 

Pros of the gym:

  • The gym allows for targeted training as you isolate one muscle group at a time.
  • The gym is better for building muscle mass.
  • A combination of cardio and strength training at the gym can help take and keep weight off.
  • Cardio at the gym can benefit heart health.

Cons of the gym:

  • Many people get bored with the repetition of the gym.
  • Going to the gym can be inconvenient.
  • The gym lacks a focus on mindfulness, meditation and mental clarity.

Pros of yoga:

Cons of yoga:

  • Yoga won't build bulk.
  • If you learn best in classes, yoga can be more expensive than the gym.
  • Some yoga practices have a spiritual dimension that can be off-putting.

The Final Word on Yoga vs Gym

Both the yoga and the gym offer different benefits. Deciding what's right for you depends on your health and fitness goals. 

Choose yoga if you are looking for a clearer mind and more toned body. Hit the gym if you want more targeted results, like bulking. Ultimately a consistent practice, whether in studio or at the gym, is best.

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