I recently got a home multi gym but my main goal is to lose fat then work on muscle, so I tend to prioritise cardio and only do weights of I have extra time. Which generally means it doesn't get used!

In terms of pure calories burned in exercise, how would working out on the multigym compare to running or cycling for an average person? Could a weights session replace a bike session for daily exercise?

And yes I realise there are a huge number of variables, I'm talking crude ballparks here only.

  • I'd argue that lifting weights is a higher priority than cardio as it can preserve muscle mass(which you tend to lose during weight loss), gain muscle mass(which can burn more calories in the long haul), and also strength training burns a lot of calories post exercise especially if you do supersets or circuit training. That being said idk how much a multigym has to offer. Cardio burns more calories during the exercise but not after.. unless you're doing HIIT which burns more post exercise.
    – user32213
    May 8, 2020 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


As you might well imagine, there are a host of variables at play here. However, some basic studies have indicated that, all other things being equal, a typical bout of strength (hypertrophy) training requires, at most, about half of the energy that is required of a similarly typical bout of endurance training. This can easily be confirmed by calculating and aggregating the total work performed in a strength-training session, and comparing it with work output estimates for an endurance session of the same duration.

The primary reason for this is that the loads involved in strength training are relatively difficult to move; that is, if we halve the load that we are lifting, we can do more than double the work. And consequently, our strength training bouts are necessarily punctuated by periods of rest, while our endurance sessions are typically continuous.

It is commonly stated that the additional muscle mass developed by strength training compensates for or even exceeds this disparity in energy usage, since an increase in muscle mass corresponds with an increase in our basal metabolic rate. However, this claim fails to account for the relatively small contribution that any increase in muscle mass has on basal metabolic rate. On average, skeletal muscle accounts for just 18% of the body's total metabolic activity. And men, who have an average of around 12 kilograms (26 pounds) more muscle mass and 36% greater strength (averaged across the upper and lower body) than women, have just 7-8% higher basal metabolic rates relative to their size.

Thus, the muscle developed from strength training, while significant, does not come close to compensating for the differences in energy usage in the two training modalities. It is worth noting, also, that endurance training also leads to hypertrophy and gains in strength.

The value of strength training should not be underestimated—ideally, regular endurance training would be combined with intermittent bouts of strength training. But in terms of energy consumption and fat loss, endurance training is far superior.

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