Strength Training and Cardio: What’s the Right Mix For Weight Loss?

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Strength training and cardio are the two main forms of exercise you can do. Depending on your health or fitness goals, you may want to focus on one more than the other. However, we believe you should absolutely consider doing both, especially if your goal is weight loss.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to exercising. For example, a lot of bodybuilders have the idea that cardio will reduce their gains. Keep reading to find out more about each of these and what the right combination is, along with some tips to get you started.

What is Strength Training?

Strength training, resistance training, and weight lifting are all largely the same thing. The main goal is building muscle and, therefore, strength. It can range from simple activities like pushups, situps, and other bodyweight exercises you can do at home to more complicated ones involving weights and machines.

Why is Resistance Exercise Important for Weight Loss?

Building up your muscle is crucial if you want effective weight loss. Ultimately, this relates to your metabolism and how many calories you burn at rest. Fat cells are not very metabolically active. Muscle, on the other hand, is. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn just going about your daily business.

The process of building muscle in your body also involves protein synthesis, which itself consumes a fair bit of energy. Finally, when you build more strength, you’ll find you can lift even heavier weights and do more overall. This, in turn, results in more potential weight loss. It’ll also create a much better sense of well-being and confidence.

Strength Training Exercises to Focus On

When we’re in the gym for the purposes of weight loss and strength building, we have to remember our goals are a bit different from that of a bodybuilder. It’s important to focus on exercises that target the large muscles and multiple muscle groups at once.

You want to try and avoid isolation exercises that only work with individual muscles. A few examples of exercises to include are squats, deadlifts, chest press, rows, and shoulder press. These will give a good foundation for proper muscle growth.

Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise looks to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping. This can include jogging, running, jumping rope, cycling, or using stationary bikes. Cardio is an important part of weight loss since it helps to burn more calories directly. Generally, these exercises are far easier to do, and you don’t necessarily need a gym or any equipment.

It’s important to start with something that’s appropriate for your current level of fitness. If you’ve been sedentary for a long time or don’t work out much, you don’t want to jump straight into doing intense cardio.

You can start off even with simple walking. Then gradually, add in jogging and increase the intensity little by little. Light activity is more helpful for your health than sitting around and doing nothing at all.

How Should I Balance Cardio and Strength Training?

This question is difficult to answer since it depends on so many factors and also what your particular goals are. Your age, current fitness level, and what you’re looking to achieve are all crucial factors. So, there isn’t a single answer that works for everyone.

For Those Looking to Lose Weight

If you’re part of this group, you should definitely be doing a good mix of both cardio and strength training. It’s probably not a good idea to do cardio within six hours of resistance training. Some research has shown that it could confuse your body and reduce potential muscle growth.

You should also pay attention to how you feel and what your body is telling you. If you currently have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), it might be best to skip the cardio for that day. In terms of an actual number, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends you should look to get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardio a week for effective weight loss.

Strength training, on the other hand, should be done at least two days a week. You’ll have to plan things accordingly, and the beginning can be a little rough. Overall, your workout plan should include more cardio compared to weight lifting.

Personal Trainers

Don’t be shy about seeking out a personal trainer to get you started, at least for the beginning. It can be very intimidating when you begin if you’re on your own. You may not know how to do some exercises correctly. A trainer can also help to maximize your efforts. They’ll serve as an important coach and guide to get you started.


The journey to better health isn’t always a straightforward one. There are so many different exercises, diets, and weight loss plans it can be overwhelming. Remember that even starting out with something as simple as going for a regular walk can lead to improvements. Hopefully, you know a little bit more about cardio and strength training now.

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