You want to be fit, to have endurance and speed. But you want to gain muscle as well. Can you do both? Yes, you can. Even though the experts don’t all agree on this idea of balance, I, Larry Weltman, believe it can be achieved.
You might think that strength training and cardio workouts are at odds. But they don’t need to be.
The two can be combined for a balanced approach. After all being fit, means being strong and fast!
Cardio isn’t just about losing weight, but about building fitness and endurance.
We need cardio to keep our hearts and systems strong.
Cardio workouts don’t necessarily burn muscle, unless you do so much that the body has no option but to turn to that muscle for fuel. This situation is one for only the most hard-core , such as marathon runners; most people won’t ever find themselves in it!
Lifting weights isn’t just about building muscle – it boosts your strength and metabolism.
Proper weight training will not only build muscle (slowly) but it will make those muscles more efficient which in turn makes your cardiovascular system more efficient too. So, lifting weights actually boosts your system and is known to boost metabolism.
Cardio and weight lifting don’t undo the benefits of each other. Rather, they complement one another!
In short, one does not necessarily cancel the other out and undo all the benefits it brought. A balanced combination of cardio and strength training allow these two methods to work in harmony rather than competing against each other.
How to Achieve Balance
This balanced approach needs to be targeted to each person individually. Consider your body type, the goals you’ve set, and what kind of workouts you like to do. All these variables need to be factored together.
Choose a focus: lose weight and build endurance, or build muscle and gain strength. Once you know your priority you can create a tailored workout regime.
Lots of pros advocate 30-60 minutes of cardio a day, and that’s just not doable for a lot of people, especially if they also want to do weight training. Lots of pros recommend that, if you want to build muscle and strength, that weight training should be done at least 3 times a week. This can be done on consecutive days especially if you are alternating body parts. Don’t forget, you need to rest any body part at least 24 to 36 hours after weight training that muscle group.
Here are some tips to help you balance the two types of workouts in your weekly routine:
– If your goal requires a lot more cardio, on weight-training days, cut your cardio workout in half. Alternate weight training days with cardio days to allow maximum rest between workouts if you only need say 3 cardio workouts a week.
– Make sure that the intensity of the cardio is getting your heart rate up. A thirty to forty minute workout with a high intensity portion of 20 to 25 minutes is better than 60 minutes at a slow pace.
Weight training tips
– Alternate body parts between weight days. Chest and Triceps combine well. Back and Biceps are go well together. Legs are a tough day! Try Shoulders and Core together.
Combined workout tips
– Make your cardio workouts –high intensity weight training circuits. Seek moves that work both upper and lower at the same time and full body movements. For example: a lunge with an overhead press or a squat with a front raise. This makes for an efficient and intense training that builds muscle and is cardiovascular too. Try 3 to 5 exercises in a row, with a short rest period. And repeat 5 to 6 times.
– Make sure to do a warm up and cool down for these sessions.
– This form of mixed workout builds power, strength and fitness. However it is not for everyone. I’ll put my name to it, Larry Weltman, and say that these workouts are fast weight burners. So if your goal is to gain weight and size, they are not for you!
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and for general information. The author rakes no responsibility for any damages of any kind incurred or suffered as a result of the use or reliance on his views expressed in this article. Readers should consult with a professional fitness trainer and medical adviser before starting or changing any fitness program.