Updated: Jan 24, 2019
"Cardio and resistance training are almost directly correlated to one another."
You can ask 100 sources about what the best way is to get in shape. Half will say cardiovascular training, and the other half will say resistance training/weight lifting. In this case, they are both right.
Here we are going to explain why you shouldn’t be either team cardio or team weight training, but both.
Benefits of Cardio
Cardiovascular training comes in many forms. Cardio training is any movement that is meant to be done for a long duration to raise your heart rate. This heart rate range and intensity will depend on your specific goals as well as your fitness level. Traditional pieces of cardio equipment include treadmills, ellipticals, recumbent bikes, and stationary bikes.
Cardio is a great tool in helping you lose fat. You should stay within a 50%-70% heart rate range to achieve this goal. High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT Training, is a great option to boost and stay within those ranges. You perform HIIT training by performing short and intense bursts, followed up by a brief active rest period such as a light jog or walk. After the prescribed time of rest, you immediately go back into your short sprint. These workouts are typically laid out in sets, much like resistance training. A set would be one sprint and one active rest.
The heart is a muscle that’s function is to provide your body with oxygen by means of blood. If your heart is weak, it will be an inhibitor to you and your fitness goals. The stronger it is, the less it must work to give you the same degree of oxygen thus creating lower beats per minute, BPM. Having a lower average BPM has been shown to increase the lifetime of the heart.
Cardio training also causes the body to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. This is called the ‘runners high’ and increases your overall sense of well-being.
When Should You do Cardio?
Doing a steady, moderate to vigorous jog right at the beginning of the workout will warm the body up and prepare the muscles for the work ahead. Aim for about a 5-minute jog/run, immediately following up with a dynamic warm-up or stretch.
If your goal is to lose fat, then you should either perform a standalone cardio session in the desired heart rate range or save it until after resistance training. Cardio sessions range from 10-minute HIIT sessions to hour long steady pace sessions. Find what works for you or seek help from a trainer.
Benefits of Resistance Training
There are two types of resistance training: external resistance (weight training) and internal resistance (calisthenics). Calisthenics refers to training using nothing more than your own bodyweight and gravity to create resistance against the muscle.
Resistance training has a large amount of benefits including increased bone density; increase in muscle mass; faster metabolism; increased strength; and increased flexibility. Increased flexibility may sound like a stretch (pun intended), but by performing movements with a full range of motion you allow the muscle to fully stretch.
Why You Should Do Both, and How
You can move faster towards your goals if your routine has a combination of both resistance training and cardio. The two are almost directly correlated to one another. Having a stronger heart will allow you to perform harder workouts, which can mean more muscle.
"You should perform your cardio directly after your weight training, in most cases."
The reason being, is that weight training will burn off your glycogen (muscle fuel) stores in the body. What is left after these stores are depleted is fat. Saving your cardio last will make your body burn more fat instead of just glycogen. On average, you can see as much as a 12 bpm increase by doing cardio after resistance training.
Cardio can different effects based on when you do it. Determine what your objective is for your workout and plan your cardio accordingly. HIIT training has been shown to degrade the positive effects of resistance training all together, if performed in the same session.
The best way for you to know when to do your cardio or resistance training is to keep your goal in mind.
Want More Individualization With Your Workouts?
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