Combined Training for Weight Loss

cardiovascular exercise combined training resistance training
Woman. Elliptical trainer.

Looking for an effective alternative to high intensity training? This is it.

What is combined training? 

Combined training is when you do cardiovascular exercise and resistance training in the same exercise session. It is an effective method of training for general fitness, weight loss and management and to reduce girth at key sites like the waistline; however, it is not advised for sports performance goals because strength gains are compromised by endurance training. This occurs at the molecular level and is beyond the scope of our goal here; however, it is advisable to be aware.

Getting the most out of combined training, requires an understanding and application of EPOC, which is defined as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC connects the benefit of exercise in the immediate like an improved mood to sustained outcomes like weight loss and management.

Quick tips to maximize EPOC

1. Do high-intensity aerobic training with resistance training (RT). Research shows this is the most effective way to improve BMI (body mass index) and reduce body fat percent in persons with obesity (Hao, 2023).

2. In one study, RT appears better for post-exercise oxygen consumption while doing both RT and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) together is effective to increase calorie consumption (Greer, 2021). 

3. In another study, sprint interval training appears to be the preferred mode to increase oxygen and fat use the most after exercise (McCarthy, 2023).

4. Recovery plays a role how substrates are used; however, the good news is that recovery doesn't have to be rigid to be increase fat and oxygen utilization. Research has shown that EPOC and post-exercise substrate oxidation responses are similar with varying modes and durations of recovery and that fixed and self-paced are equally effective (Fidalgo, 2023).

To learn more about programming for weight loss and earn PT CEUs, click here.


Fidalgo A, Farinatti P, Matos-Santos L, Pilon R, Rodrigues GM, Oliveira BRR, Monteiro W. Self-selected or fixed: is there an optimal rest interval for controlling intensity in high-intensity interval resistance training? Eur J Appl Physiol. 2023 Oct;123(10):2307-2316. doi: 10.1007/s00421-023-05246-9. Epub 2023 Jun 7. PMID: 37285052.

Greer BK, O'Brien J, Hornbuckle LM, Panton LB. EPOC Comparison Between Resistance Training and High-Intensity Interval Training in Aerobically Fit Women. Int J Exerc Sci. 2021 Aug 1;14(2):1027-1035. PMID: 34567357; PMCID: PMC8439678.

Hao Z, Liu K, Qi W, Zhang X, Zhou L, Chen P. Which exercise interventions are more helpful in treating primary obesity in young adults? A systematic review and Bayesian network meta-analysis. Arch Med Sci. 2022 Sep 9;19(4):865-883. doi: 10.5114/aoms/153479. PMID: 37560714; PMCID: PMC10408036.

McCarthy SF, Jarosz C, Ferguson EJ, Kenno KA, Hazell TJ. Intense interval exercise induces greater changes in post-exercise metabolism compared to submaximal exercise in middle-aged adults. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2023 Oct 11. doi: 10.1007/s00421-023-05334-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37819613.

Author Biography

Amy Ashmore, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a physical therapy continuing education provider located in Las Vegas, NV.


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