What is the best exercise to lose weight? Combine strength and cardio

Cardio activity makes you burn calories and strength training speeds up your metabolism. That’s why this combination, cardio + strength, is the best for losing weight. With a fitness expert we explain the training plan that works best.

The combination of cardiovascular exercise with strength exercise is, without a doubt, the one that gives the best results when it comes to losing weight.

  • Jordi Notario, technician and trained at the DiR Academy, explains to Saber Vivir why this tandem is so effective and advises us on the strength and cardio exercise plan that works best.



The sum of both types of exercise helps you lose weight faster than if you practice them separately.



It is the one that, by definition, increases the heart rate and ensures an increase in energy consumption while we are practicing it.

  • And that’s just what we need to lose weight: consume more energy to burn fat from our reserves.
  • Let’s remember here that the body needs 25-30 minutes of continuous exercise to start burning body fat.



It causes an increase in energy consumption not only while you are doing it, but also afterwards.

  • This is so because the force exercise generates muscle destruction. “That’s why stiffness appears and hurts us: they are the result of the destruction of the muscle sarcomere and until it recovers there is discomfort,” says Jordi Notario.
  • And while the muscle is recovering, your body consumes more calories even if you’re sitting down watching TV.

But strength exercise not only increases caloric expenditure due to the energy consumption required by the muscle to recover.

  • This type of exercise also increases your muscle mass, and muscle itself consumes more energy than fat.


Strength exercises speed up metabolism

In summary, that strength training increases your resting metabolic rate, that is, it speeds up your metabolism, and that is very interesting when it comes to losing weight.



Any exercise that generates muscle tension is a strength exercise and there are many. The ideal is to practice them in a varied way to work all the muscles of the body and not focus on a single area.

  • Squats or squats. With your legs shoulder-width apart and your back straight, bring your buttocks down as if you were going to sit on an imaginary chair until you are at a 90º angle.
  • Push-ups They are the typical push-ups with the hands and the tips of the feet resting on the ground and the body in a plank position.
  • Pull ups or dominated. It consists of holding onto a raised bar with your palms facing out and, from this position, pushing yourself up.
  • Tractions. Anything that involves bringing resistance closer to the body is a good strength exercise. There are several options: rowing on a fitness machine, stretching with suspension straps…
  • Lunge. It is a forward stride and works legs and glutes.
  • Step up. One leg is placed on the step or a slightly elevated platform and the other foot is raised using force only with the leg that is supported on the step. The step up or classic stair climb strengthens the legs.
  • Bicep curls. With 2 kilo weights in each hand and the arms close to the body, it is about flexing the elbows bringing the hands to the shoulders.


Apart from running or cycling, Jordi Notario recommends 4 very complete cardio exercises to practice at home or in the gym.

  • Burpees. Standing, it consists of bringing your hands to the ground and your legs back until you stay in a plank position. Then drop your chest to the ground and return to the starting position with a small jump to stand up.
  • Squat jump. It is about doing a squat and, from the 90º position, jumping up.
  • Skipping. It is simply running without moving from the site.
  • Jumping Jack. It consists of making jumps while you open your legs and raise your arms, and then close them and lower your arms.



You can start your session by first performing the strength exercises suggested above.

  • For each of them, Jordi Notario recommends doing 3 sets of 12 or 14 repetitions with a rest of 45 to 60 seconds between each set.
  • You can also do a circuit with 4 or 5 varied strength exercises doing a series of each of them. Repeat the circuit 5 times but without breaks.


After the strength work, you can do a 30-minute cardio session that could consist of going for a run, running on the treadmill at the gym, or combining the four suggested exercises (burpees, squat jum, skipping, and jumping juck).



Working on strength first and then cardio is an effective formula but, according to Jordi Notario, if the goal is to lose weight, it is even more effective:

  • Alternate a strength exercise with a cardio exercise. “For example, you can do 45 seconds of squats and then 45 seconds of burpees and work your way up to a combination of strength and cardio exercises until you complete the session.”

Obviously, if you have excess weight, you must follow a hypocaloric diet supervised by a specialist in dietetics and nutrition. And if you are not trained in exercise, it would also be advisable to put yourself in the hands of a fitness expert.

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