Fact Check: Should You Do Both Cardio and Strength Training for Weight Loss? 

Cardio and strength training for weight loss. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Sabel Blanco)
Cardio and strength training for weight loss. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Sabel Blanco)

Combining cardio and strength training for weight loss is a common concept. Not only does it increase the number of calories burnt during a session, but it also focuses on adding muscle mass while losing weight.

However, you need to strike a balance between the two to acquire the maximum benefit out of both. Now, before you understand exactly how the combination helps with weight loss, you need to understand what strength training and cardio are.

What is strength training?

Strength training, also referred to as resistance training, is a way to make your muscles stronger and bigger.

It requires you to move your muscles against resistance such as weights, resistance bands and others.


Now, resistance training requires an additional burst of energy, which the body provides by burning extra calories. What you burn during weight lifting isn’t exorbitant, though.

However, your metabolism rises during the session, and you end up burning calories throughout the day and beyond.

What is cardio?

This workout routine revolves around raising your heart rate and burning extra glucose to create the fuel you need to keep going. Essentially, it’s an aerobic activity and can be done in two ways - steady state and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

You can do steady state cardio for a considerable amount of time without running out of breath. In this cardio, you burn calories during the time you’re doing the session.


Meanwhile, HIIT is a routine where you put in 100% effort for 30 seconds followed by 20 seconds of 10-15% effort. That can be done on various machines, such as treadmills, cycling and others.

How does cardio and strength training together help?

Cardio and strength training are two parts of an overall workout routine.

You might not need both at the same intensity every day, but combining the two creates a routine that helps with muscle gain and weight loss.

Here’s how:

Strength training focuses on helping your muscles become stronger.

That requires quite a bit of energy, and the body can produce fuel by burning the extra calories stored. When that happens, you will lose weight, as burning stored calories is a way to lose weight.

Meanwhile, cardio sessions help you warm-m up, cool down, and help raise your heart rate and improve your metabolism.

If you focus on only one of the two, you won’t be able to see the optimum results you thrive for. The only way to ensure you’re not missing out on any element of the workout routine is by combining cardio and strength training.


If you want to, you may create a circuit training programme that helps you incorporate both sections of the routine into one set.

Nevertheless, you do not have to do a HIIT or a rigorous weight lifting session every day. You can take cardio slow for a day and pair it with heavy lifting.

The next day, you can do HIIT with light-weight sessions. However, on light weight days, you should aim to max out the reps.

Bottom line

Combining cardio and strength training for weight loss can work wonders.

If you can add a proper diet to the mix while focusing on carb-cycling once in a while, you’ll be able to witness results in a few weeks.

If you want to become lean, you have to stay the course. Here are some things you must remember to accomplish the same:

  1. You need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
  2. Keeping yourself hydrated is a must.
  3. Don’t forget to rest and recover your muscles.
  4. Focus on progressive overload for your weight training sessions.
Edited by Bhargav