Do you know what the best non-cardio workout for weight loss is?

It’s not a specific exercise. It’s not a specific technique. It’s not even a type of exercise at all. The best non-cardio workout for weight loss is whatever gets you moving, and keeps you moving.

When we talk about “non-cardio” workouts, we’re usually referring to workouts that don’t involve running or cycling or other cardio exercises. But when it comes right down to it, any kind of movement—even walking—is better than no movement at all when it comes to weight loss. That said, some types of exercise are better than others when it comes to losing weight and getting fit. So what should you do if your goal is weight loss?

The best way to lose weight without running is by focusing on resistance training, which builds muscle mass and increases your metabolism so that you burn more calories throughout the day than someone who doesn’t lift weights at all would burn (which is why many people think lifting weights can help them lose weight).

Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on is cardio necessary for fat loss, non cardio exercises at home, how to lose weight without running, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Best Non Cardio Workout For Weight Loss

Some people run the other way when they hear the word cardio because it’s just not their thing.

I get it – I’m not a big fan of it either. Don’t get me wrong, I love to exercise and see the great results from my press and pull home workouts. Toned arms and abs, and just feeling stronger and proud of my efforts are awesome benefits. Not to mention, how weight training boosts your metabolism.

But more on that later!

There are a few tips and tricks to losing weight without cardio and this post will tell you exactly what you need to do to make it happen. So, let’s not delay any longer, my friends! Cuz I know you’re ready to get started. Let’s do this together!

Is Cardio Necessary For Weight Loss?

Nope, cardio is not necessary for weight loss. I won’t lie, it can help because you will burn fat when you do aerobic workouts, but there are other ways to get it done too. And we’re going to look at those down below.

It’s true that the higher the intensity of your exercise session, the more calories you burn, but you’ll see in my tips below that there is a bigger picture – and what I mean is that a lifestyle change for the better is often the best way to lose weight without cardio. Cardio can get boring, or sometimes you lose motivation, but with a change in habits and attitude…you can accomplish a lot!

Can I Lose Stomach Fat Without Cardio?

Yep, you can lose stomach fat without cardio. Again, I’ll fill you in with my easy-to-follow tips below. But to give you a heads up right now, you can blast that belly fat via a few easy steps, but for a brief rundown, take a look here:

  • Add fiber to your day
  • Drink green tea (and gain other benefits too!)
  • Drink apple cider vinegar (learn how to do it here)
  • Include probiotics in your diet
  • Avoid sugar

Those are just a few of the ways to get rid of stomach fat. To read more about how to get rid of fat around the middle, hop on over to the post after you’re done here!

Can I Lose Weight By Lifting Weights Only?

Not really. Why, you ask? While lifting weights is an amazing thing to get into – as I said before, I love it – there is more to the picture than just lifting weights. Sure, we’re here to learn how to lose weight without cardio, but lifting weights is just one piece of the wonderful puzzle that getting fit is!

You’ve got to find a form of exercise that you love and will stick to and if lifting weights is it, then do it. After all, weight lifting does a LOT of things like help bone density and reduce blood pressure. So yes, definitely use weights as part of your training program. You’ll never regret it!

In A Nutshell: Cardio Versus Weights For Fat Loss

Both cardio and weights (also called resistance training) can raise your heart rate and that’s key to weight loss. Whether your form of exercise is hiking at a fast speed or using resistance bands to target specific areas, whatever you do to improve your overall health is a win, right?

I always say, step by step, be proud of what you do, and keep it up. You can do it! Just a few notes to add:

  • Cardio does burn more calories than weight training in the same amount of time
  • But weight training helps you to burn more calories while at rest (see my post on NEAT)
  • HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has you doing bursts of intense exercise like sprints and jumping rope and is a proven way to burn calories
  • Combining all types of exercise like walking, pushups, curls with weights, and more is an overall great way to lose weight

What’s More Important: Weight Loss Or Fat Loss?

Fat loss is really the key to better health. And when you lose the fat, you lose weight. When you follow a healthy weight loss eating regimen, you lose fat.

So, the two go hand in hand. But when you lose fat, you are doing yourself a favor by reducing the risk of illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. When you have more muscle, you burn more calories while at rest. Muscle growth and maintenance are also essential to body repair and strength as you age.

Keep a healthy balance of protein in your diet, make sure to exercise, and maintain a calorie deficit (eat more fruits and veggies, whole grains, and full fat dairy while ditching fake healthy foods).

Workouts To Make You Feel Better

Are you looking for ways to lose weight without cardio today? Start with this schedule for the week:

Monday: Do some resistance training

Tuesday: Stretch your body with yoga

Wednesday: Work on your muscles again with squats, pushups, and lunges

Thursday: Give your body a rest

Friday: Follow my video again

Saturday: Take a nice long walk and breathe in the wonderful fresh air

Sunday: Rest day

More Tips For Losing Weight Without Cardio 

You’ve got some great info in hand now on how to lose weight without cardio, and here are a few more tips:

  • Eat healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, while avoiding unhealthy fats found in things like processed foods (they cause chronic inflammation!)
  • Eat foods that fight inflammation 
  • Don’t fill up on empty carbs full of sugar and additives
  • Try protein powders as a way to increase your healthy protein intake
  • If you are vegan, look to good protein options
  • Get your steps in – you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be
  • Use a food scale to help you portion control
  • Choose a few healthy habits to get you started

How To Lose Weight Without Cardio

All right, I promised you how to lose weight without cardio. These are the 8 tips and pointers I have to get it done!

  • Eat clean: This is so important. Stay away from packaged foods and make smart choices by eating protein, unrefined grains, and veggies and fruits. Stay clear of inflammation causing foods because you’ll only feel bloated and uncomfortable, making it harder to get out there and move with energy.
  • Try strength training: We’ve touched on this a bit already but I can’t really stress enough how much strength training can do for your overall well-being, including helping your clothes to fit better. You’re building muscle after all!
Close up shot of the steak fajita bowl with cilantro lime rice, topped with guacamole and a lime wedge, ready to eat.
  • Drink water: Water is so essential to our health. When you drink water, you naturally feel better. Drink half your weight in ounces every day. You’ll lose weight and your skin will glow. Seriously!
  • Keep a calorie deficit: Burn more calories than you eat! How to do this? I’ve written a post on how to calculate your macros which simplifies things. Watch my video on macros too!
  • Intermittent fasting: This is a way of eating that works for weight loss and is practically fool-proof! The key is to find the right regimen that works for you – one that you can stick to and that isn’t hard for you to manage.
  • Meal prep: Meal prep is easy and super effective! Prep your meals ahead of time and then during the week when work has you swamped or the kid’s activities have you running from place to place, you’ve got healthy food at hand. Learn how to meal prep with these recipes – they are easy and delicious!
  • Eat protein: As I have mentioned, I target my daily calories to be 40% protein. There are tons of sources for meat eaters, protein powder lovers, and even vegans. Eat your protein, folks, because it does help you lose weight and build muscle. Protein keeps you full and helps you burn calories as you digest.
  • Get your sleep: Sleep does a lot for us, from preventing disease to repairing muscle after an exercise session. Poor sleep is linked to obesity and also makes it hard to fight off cravings that can pop up during the day. I have found personally that if I lack sleep, I gain weight and inflammation. So I aim for at least 7 hours per night.

The last thing I’ll say is, you’ve got this. You really do! Thinking about working towards a healthier lifestyle and taking some steps forward is major. And you are already doing it! So, keep going and watch the results happen.

Non-cardio workouts guaranteed to blast away fat

Getting rid of body fat and toning up does require some aerobic activity, but, if the idea of a lengthy cardio session fills you with dread, the good news is you can still achieve your dream physique with weight training instead.
Weight training has been proven to increase both your short-term and your long-term calorie burn. This means that after a weightlifting session, your metabolism will be boosted for up to 38 hours. Better still, weight-training helps you build up larger degrees of lean muscle mass, so your basal metabolic rate also improves.

So, although a weight-training session may not burn as many calories per minute as a cardio-heavy workout, the overall calorie-burning benefits after your workout is done completely outdoes cardio.

So, if you’re looking to lose weight and tone up, follow these key weight-training workouts. These workouts can be done by both men and women – they have been designed to help aid weight loss and tone up – not to make you bulk up.

Before you begin, we recommend focusing on weights about 2kg heavier than you would usually choose, and progressively load as your strength improves.

WORKOUT ONE

For heavy resistance training, each exercise should be done as 5 sets of 5 or 4 sets of 6.

BARBELL SQUATS

– Choose a barbell that you can comfortably (but not easily) lift over your head and place it across your shoulders

– Place your feet about shoulder-length apart pointing at a slight angle

– Begin to bend your knees while moving your hips backwards and slowly lower yourself down until your knees are fully bent

– Stand back up without locking your knees

BENCH PRESS

– Lie on a bench with your feet on the floor and unrack the bar with your arms straight

– Lower the bar to your mind-chest

– Press it back up again until you’ve locked your elbows while keeping your body on the bench

– We would recommend always having a spotter with you while you complete your sets, even if you’re using a weight you find fairly easy

DUMBBELL DEADLIFT

– Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip

– Hold them at arm’s length with your hands at your sides

– Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent while bracing your core

– Keeping your knees slightly bent, hinge at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor

– Keep the dumbbells as close to your body as possible

– Pause, then raise your torso back to the starting position

WORKOUT 2

For heavy resistance training, each exercise should be done as 5 sets of 5 or 4 sets of 6.

LATERAL PULLDOWN

– Sit in front of the lateral pulldown machine facing the weights and adjust the knee pads of the machine to fit your height

 Grab the bar with your palms facing forward with your hands spaced out at a distance slightly wider than shoulder width

– Bring your torso back around 30 degrees and stick your chest out

– Bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back

– Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slowly raise the bar to the starting position with your arms fully extended

DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISES

-Pick up two dumbbells and stand straight with your arms at your sides with the palms of your hands facing you

-Lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend in the elbow and your hands tilted slightly forward. Continue to lift until your arms are parallel to the floor

– Slowly lower the dumbbells down into the starting position

HAMMER CURLS

– Stand upright with your torso straight and hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length with your elbows close to your torso

– While holding your upper arm stationary, curl the dumbbell forward while contracting the biceps

– Continue to raise the weight until the biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level

– Briefly hold the position and slowly bring the dumbbell down to the starting position  

WORKOUT 3

For heavy resistance training, each exercise should be done as 5 sets of 5 or 4 sets of 6.

TRICEP DIP MACHINE

– Sit in the dip machine and securely grasp the handles

– Keep your elbows at your sides and bent at a 90-degree angle

– Contract your triceps while extending your arms downwards as you exhale

– Slowly bring your arms back to the starting position as you exhale

HANGING KNEE RAISES

– Hang from a bar with an overhand grip and your body straight

– Bend your knees and use your lower abdominals to raise your legs until your thighs are parallel with the ground

– Hold for a second and slowly lower your legs back down

SEATED MACHINE CHEST PRESS

– Sit down at the chest press machine and choose your desired weight

– Grab the machine’s handles with a palms-down grip and lift your elbows so your upper arm are parallel to the floor

– Pull the handles back towards your body

– Push the handles away from you as your flex your chest and hold for a second

– Bring the handles back to starting position

If you’re looking up your weightlifting game, why not take out a three-day pass for one of our brilliant gyms today? In the meantime, take a look at our 10-minute core workout video or read about the top gym workouts professional footballers swear by.

Is Cardio Necessary For Fat Loss

If heart-pounding running or high-octane aerobics sessions just aren’t your thing, there are other ways you can lose body fat without cardio.

But even though you don’t necessarily need cardio for fat loss, it’s one of the best and fastest ways to burn calories.

Here are some tips for bare minimum cardio seekers and what noncardio workouts you can do instead to help you lose body fat.

Do you need cardio for fat loss?

No, you don’t need to do cardio to lose fat. Weight loss, including fat reduction, is typically caused by a calorie deficit: slashing your calorie intake, increasing the number of calories burned, or both.

That said, cardio will help you burn calories more quickly, increasing your fat loss potential.

Why is cardio good for fat loss?

Cardio is short for “cardiovascular activity.” Sometimes it’s also referred to as aerobic exercise. Cardio helps bump up your blood pumping and breathing rates, resulting in a great workout for your heart and large muscle groups (think torso and legs).

This type of exercise is good for fat loss because it helps you burn more calories, plain and simple. The exact number of calories you need to burn to lose a pound of fat depends on your metabolism, but generally, you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat in a week.

Cardio’s cool for burning calories, but it’s not the *best* option for fat loss. That’s because while cardio burns calories while you move, strength training can actually help your body keep burning more calories through the day and night (more on that later).

How can you lose fat without cardio?

Remember, fat loss happens when there’s a calorie deficit. But there’s more than one way to dial down your intake or turn up your calorie burn.

Other ways you can lose fat and skip the dreaded cardio:

  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet. It’s 100 percent possible to fuel your body with lean proteins, fiber-full fruits and veggies, and healthy fats. Depending on your daily diet, you might be able to slash a few hundred calories by simply giving up sweetened drinks, sugar-laden condiments, and refined carbs.
  • Nix soda and booze. Alcohol and sugary soda can fill up your calorie quota in a jiffy. Some folks might lose belly fat just by ditching these.
  • Try intermittent fasting. Limited research suggests that shrinking your eating window to 8 hours each day could help decrease body fat mass. Heads up: Intermittent fasting isn’t a healthy fat loss method for kiddos, pregnant women, or folks experiencing signs of disordered eating.
  • Pump iron instead. Cardio isn’t the only activity that burns calories. Strength training torches body fat too!
  • Become a yogi. Yoga can also help you burn calories and maintain muscle. For optimal calorie-burn try Vinyasa or hot yoga.

Can you just lift weights to lose fat?

Short answer: Yes, you can lose fat by lifting weights.

Weight training offers the one-two punch of burning calories while lifting *and* revving up your overall metabolism. According to a 2008 study (whoa, “Twilight” era 👀), lifting weights locks in lean muscle, which torches more calories throughout the day than, say, your jiggly bits.

Hitting up the weight rack can be a great way to lose fat, but it can also lead to a higher number on the scale. Don’t freak out. You’re not gettin’ “bulky” with this weight gain. Lean muscle is actually heavier than visceral fat, and it’s a healthy swap. Remember: those numbers on the scale never give you the full health picture anyway.

So, what’s the best cardio for fat loss?

If your goal is to lose fat, it’s true that cardio will help you rev up your calorie-burning rate (aka your metabolism). But cardio doesn’t have to mean lacing up your running shoes and hitting the pavement. Here are your options.

Aim for full-body cardio

You’ll need to work your major muscle groups to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time. All your standard cardio will do this. Just get your body moving.

Need an idea of calorie burn from different cardio workouts? The CDC offers these estimates for how many calories a 154-pound person could burn in 30 minutes:

Cardio formCalories burned
walking (3.5 mph)140 calories
dancing165 calories
hiking185 calories
swimming (slow freestyle laps)255 calories
biking (>10 mph)295 calories
running (5 mph)295 calories

Try HIIT

High intensity interval training (HIIT) requires short bursts of intense activity followed by brief rests. Research has linked HIIT to reduced belly fat and a fired-up metabolism (thanks, afterburn!).

HIIT is more about the intervals than a specific exercise. You can build a HIIT workout from any of these cardio classics:

  • push-ups
  • burpees
  • jumping jacks
  • kettlebell swings
  • jump squats

Try a cardio machine

Research suggests that home-based cardio machines like NordicTrack systems can be just as effective as heading to the gym. Exactly *which* cardio machine will whittle your waistline depends on the same factors as body-weight exercises.

Opt for machines that:

  • offer interval training (aka, HIIT)
  • work major muscle groups (upper body, lower body) rather than isolating one area (biceps, calves)
  • keep a moderate to vigorous pace

Rowing machines, ellipticals, treadmills, and bikes are all contenders.

Experiment with fasted cardio

Research on fasted cardio is still inconclusive, but some studies suggest that exercising on an empty stomach *might* help your body readily burn stored fat.

A 2018 research review suggested the cardio on an empty stomach led to a post-workout metabolic boost. And a 2016 review found that fasted cardio unleashed a higher fat burn than cardio after eating.

Still, fasted cardio isn’t healthy or best for everyone. Start slow and stay hydrated if you give it a try.

So, is weight training or cardio better for fat loss?

This is a tricky question. Cardio burns more calories while you work out. Weight training changes your body composition so that you burn more calories all day.

One 2012 study of 119 adults tried to answer this very question. Participants with overweight or obese bodies were divided into 3 groups: cardio, strength training, or a combo of both. Researchers found that cardio kicked weight training’s butt when it came to fat loss. But those who did both experienced the same results as those who’d done just cardio.

Bottom line: Cardio is a faster short-term fat loss solution, but combining cardio with strength training will help you lose body fat while boosting your metabolism for the long term.

The killer combo: How to use cardio and weight training for fat loss

Research shows that combining cardio and strength training can improve your odds of long-term weight loss. Here are a few tips to optimize this killer combo:

  • Time it right. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) says scheduling your cardio immediately after weights will maximize calorie-burning potential.
  • Clock more cardio than strength training. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that 2.5 to 4 hours of cardio per week will help most folks shed fat if they’re also following recommended dietary restrictions. For strength training, 2 or 3 weekly 30-minute sessions are the norm.
  • HIIT up the gym. We know that HIIT is a great way to accelerate that sweet, sweet calorie burn. Many HIIT workouts incorporate both cardio and strength training. #Win

The takeaway

  • Cardio is not a requirement for fat loss, but it certainly helps.
  • Cardio burns more calories during your workout, while strength training helps you build muscle so that you’ll burn more calories 24/7.
  • The best fitness plan for lasting fat loss is a combination of cardio and weight training.
  • Your best bet for fat loss is a combo of cardio + strength training + a balanced, nutrient-rich diet.

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