The Best Way To Balance Strength Training And Cardio

When it comes to figuring out the best way to balance strength and cardio in your workout routine, the result will depend on a variety of factors, including your fitness goals, your body type, and your schedule, along with some trial and error mixed in. 

That said, there are definitely places to start, and things to keep in mind, as you experiment with what balance works best for you.

First, why is it important to balance strength training and cardio anyway? Can't you stay in good shape by doing one or the other? Suppose you don't like running? Or what if the thought of lifting weights lifts your anxiety?  Well, according to Whole Life Challenge, just like it's important to have a balanced diet, a balanced fitness routine is also essential for optimal health. Cardio will help you manage your weight, keep your heart strong, and reduce signs of aging, among other benefits. Strength training can promote bone health, help prevent osteoporosis, improve your metabolism, and may also boost your mental health by raising your self-esteem and reducing anxiety and depression.

Can you do strength training and cardio together?

According to Verywell Fit, though there is no definitive directive, the general recommendation is typically that you do cardio and strength training during different sessions, or on varying days. So, for example three weekdays might be devoted to cardio, two days to strength training, and one day mixed in for stretching or recovery.

But what each day of your workout looks like ultimately depends on your goals. For more muscle, reduce your cardio workout, for more endurance, cut out a day of strength training, Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder and CEO of TS Fitness in New York City, tells SELF. And when you're working on strength, be sure that you are targeting specific muscle groups. You can get to more muscle groups in one shot by performing compound exercises like squats, lunges, and chest presses. ACE-certified trainer Sivan Fagan tells SELF that one to two sets of up to 15 reps is best to start with during your first month. If you decide you're looking to do more cardio, then swap a strength day for an extra day of running or cycling. Just remember to challenge yourself enough to get your heart rate up to get the optimal benefits.

But don't be too concerned about following a routine with alternating days if your schedule doesn't allow for it. The most important thing is that you commit to a well-rounded, consistent workout that works best for your lifestyle and your fitness goals.