Cardio and strength training are two different types of workouts. In order to get optimum results out of each one, cardio and strength training should be done on different days. However, often people tend to do both on the same day. In that case, multiple factors should be considered — your fitness level, intensity of training and most importantly your fitness goals.
Here’s how to balance your cardio and strength training sessions, keeping your goals in mind:
- When your goal is to burn fat or maintain general fitness.
The important point to focus on is to do both cardio and strength training. In this case, the order is not of great importance. While cardio is necessary for a healthy heart and cardiovascular health, strength training will help improve your metabolism and bone density.
One effective method to attain your goal could be to do circuit training, which involves doing cardio and strength training at the same time.
- When your goal is to improve endurance or cardiovascular ability.
If your goal is to build cardiovascular endurance or to run a marathon, then do cardio before hitting the weight rack. Strength training will lower your body’s energy stores and you will hit the cardio session with fatigued muscles, which is bound to hamper your performance.
Follow up your cardio session with some strength training to strengthen your muscles and bones, to reduce any risk of injury.
- When your goal is to increase strength or increase muscle mass.
When you do strength training, your body is heavily dependent on your glycogen stores as a source of energy. In order to see maximum gains, you should always hit the weight rack with maximum energy. For this, your muscles need to be as fresh as possible and a hard cardio workout before strength training will deplete your body’s glycogen stores, rendering your workout ineffective.
When it comes to fitness, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you. Also, consistency is the key to achieve your goals. Don’t forget to give your diet equal importance. Need we remind you to warm up before any work out, and cool down post it too?