Balancing Weight Lifting and Cardio

Adding strength training to your cardio workout can improve your muscle power and overall performance, Sports Medicine’s journal said. 


Though weight training and cardio are often interpreted as two separate and distinct exercises, a combination of the two allows for the most effective fat loss and muscle growing or toning success.  


Cardio often outperforms weight training for fat loss, as the continuous movement at a demanding intensity is much more effective than interval lifting, even at challenging weights.  


Aerobic exercises also result in a longer after burn due to a heightened heart rate, so for a period of time following a high intensity cardio session your body is still converting food and fat to energy. All in all, cardio is generally understood to outperform weights in fat loss and to give quicker results. 


However, weight training increases your bodies muscle mass and increased muscle mass increases your metabolism. The increase in metabolic rate then allows your body to turn more food to energy resulting in longer lasting fat loss.  


It also results in a higher resting metabolic rate, so even when you are not exercising your body converts more food into energy rather than into fat. The only downside is weight lifting is a slower process so physical results take longer to notice. 


A combination of cardio and weight training then allows for controlled and long-lasting fat loss, while toning and even growing your muscle mass.  


Furthermore, a combination means you receive the injury prevention gained from weight lifting, and the stamina from cardio. All in all, the cardio improves your performance in weight training and vice versa. 


To properly combine the two together without burning out and to successfully reap all the benefits, you need balance and a clear goal. 


If the aim is fat loss while maintaining muscle mass, often referred to as ‘toning’, you would require more increased cardio and maintained or decreased weight lifting. 


If the aim is muscle gain, weight training should be priority as the training already converts fat into muscle. Cardio should be attached to the start of your workout as a warm up and at the end for a cool down. 


Integrating HIIT workouts into your training once or twice a week will also keep your stamina high and heart healthy. 


Even if you are working towards running a half or full marathon, weight training is essential in maintaining muscle and preventing injury. Leg day is especially important in building muscle to protect your knees, hips and even ankles. 


If you want to be a huge bodybuilder, cardio is necessary to keep your heart healthy, maintain mobility, and blast any unwanted fat. 


In conclusion, cardio and weightlifting are not mutually exclusive, but are actually most powerful and effective when combined. The diversity of fitness goals that can be achieved by their combination means no one should be skipping a quick treadmill run or a hard-hitting quad and glute session.