SPOKANE, Wash. – When counting calories, it is easy to just think of a burned calorie as a burned calorie. But experts say burning calories while doing resistance or weight training workouts are more effective when it comes to weight loss than regular cardio.

According to health experts, the two most popular types of workouts are cardio and weight training.

Exercise scientists have proven the number of calories you burn depends on the size of your body and the intensity of the workout. You will typically burn more calories during cardio than weight training for about the same amount of time and effort, but a new study published this month in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport finds that all calories burned are not created equal.

Doctors set up tests and classes to compare the physiological and hormonal responses of twelve active women when they participated in light to moderate training and biking sessions that burned the same amount of calories.

The doctors found that both types of workouts boosted the women’s Human Growth Hormone levels, known as HGH. It is produced in the pituitary gland and helps the body use stored fat as energy then build lean muscle.

HGH was almost 60 percent greater after the resistance or weight training workout when compared to a steady bike ride.

Doctors said this is important because the combination of more lean muscle with fat loss will result to fast changes in body composition and better long term health.

Exercise scientists understand it may be tempting to just count and burn calories, especially in this era of wearable devices and activity tracking, but the study showed the benefits of doing both weight resistance and cardio training like biking and running when trying to lose weight.