If your aim is to lose weight, you shouldn't just focus on the number of calories you want to burn or on getting rid of fat. A balanced, healthy diet and a good cardio workout are essential to achieving your objective. It's also important to do a little strength training as well to build up your muscle mass. So while losing weight and slimming down go hand in hand, you need to keep working on your muscles to keep your skin nice and firm.

As well as giving you his advice, our fitness coach, François-Alexandre, has come up with two training programmes that will help you knock the kilos off on your cross trainer or exercise bike.

Measure your cross trainer heart rate

Before you start, you should measure your maximum heart rate (HR max)

Before you start your weight-loss programme, you need to find out your maximum heart rate (HR max) so you can use it as a parameter when working out. 

The HR max determines your cardio fitness and the comfort level you need to be mindful of when working out on your cross trainer. You can adjust the resistance of your machine in line with the heart rate you want to achieve during your session.

You can calculate your HR max manually.

Your device can display different programmes to help you achieve your weight-loss goal. They mainly involve interval training and pyramid sessions. These two programmes offer different levels of intensity and difficulty so you can burn calories, sweat and work all the muscles in your body, depending on the incline and resistance levels set on the machine. 

If you have a cross trainer with a manual mode, you can still use an app to find out how to set it up for your session. 

Here are two types of training sessions you can do as part of a weight-loss programme.

[1/] Interval training[dash]

The aim is to lose weight/slim down

To burn calories effectively and develop your cardio fitness, we recommend you focus on interval training. It works your whole body thanks to variations in intensity, from high to low and low to high.

In practice: you alternate between a period of intense effort and a period of recovery:

For 45 minutes: three minutes at a high resistance and incline and four minutes of recovery at a low resistance and incline. 

To recap, that's equivalent to five minutes of warming up, five interval sets and five minutes of warming down.

When you're doing high-intensity work, adjust the resistance of your cross trainer so you can pedal quickly, pushing yourself as hard as you can while also pacing yourself so you can maintain your rhythm throughout.

Cross trainer interval training
pyramid cross trainer

[2/] Pyramids [dash]

The aim is to work on your stamina/lose weight

Pyramid sessions involve working at a certain elevation before increasing and then decreasing it.The greater the elevation, the greater the resistance and the bigger the movements you have to make. So step up the resistance levels.Pyramid training works every muscle in your body, tests your cardio fitness at different levels of intensity and allows you to burn a maximum number of calories.

How often should I train?

An effective programme should include two sessions a week of at least 45 minutes. Ideally, you should be doing three sessions a week.

Whatever you do, don't put your sessions off because you're short of time. If you want to get into a good dynamic, it's better to do a minimum of 30 minutes and make sure you keep on doing two or three sessions a week.

Whatever type of training you go for, leave some time between your sessions so your body can recover. Yes, working out is great! But take some time to rest too.

Pedal forwards or backwards?

It's up to you to decide what you want to work on first. Here's how they both work: when you pedal forwards you use your calves, quads and glutes, while pedalling backwards targets the abs and glutes.

WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRAMME WITH YOUR CROSS TRAINER

[3/] A MUSCLE STRENGTHENING PROGRAMME THAT COMPLEMENTS YOUR CARDIO WORKOUTS [dash]

The cross trainer is very effective if your aim is to lose weight. If you want to tone up, though, you'll need to add some muscle strengthening exercises to your programme (in the gym or at home by doing squats, lunges, core exercises and the chair, for example).

Here are some very accessible and effective exercises for you to do at home if you don't have the time to go to the gym or if you're one of those people who can motivate themselves at home.

WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRAMME WITH YOUR CROSS TRAINER

If you're not keen on doing exercises like this at home, you can combine them with a Pilates class at the gym. Pilates is good for gently toning your whole body.~~Coach's tips: Whenever you work out you should give yourself five minutes to warm up, five minutes to warm down and another five to stretch.You should warm up and warm down at a low intensity. These phases are vital to taking care of your muscles. They'll stop you feeling stiff and they get rid of toxins too.

The coach: François-Alexandre is a sports coach specialising in fitness, cardio, muscle strengthening and cross training. Very committed to his work, he has been giving advice to beginner and experienced sports users at Domyos for six years.

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