When it comes to fat loss, most people embark on a program of cardio and dieting while strength training is just an afterthought. Strength training, however, can burn just as much, if not more, fat than cardio. So why is it that people focus on cardio as they're primary fat burner? For one, cardio shrinks you down. It shrinks down both your fat and muscle. You end up skinny and soft. While the term “skinny" may sound attractive, it also means that you are weak. You may be able to outrun anyone you know for longer distances as your cardio improves, but what about lifting or doing heavy work?
While cardio burns calories and fat when you're performing it, high rep strength training has what is known as high EPOC or "Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption." This is a fancy term for saying how long your metabloism is elevated after exercise. Studies show that well-designed strength programs can elevate your EPOC or metabolism for up to 38 hours after the workout. In other words, you continue to burn calories long after strength training. Whereas once you stop cardio, the calorie burning stops as well. Bottom Line? Strength training coupled with diet and cardio burns fat far more than cardio and diet alone.
Which should come first in your training? Depending on your goals and personal fitness levels the answer is not the same for everyone. Here is a chart to help you simply identify a general guideline.