How To Balance Weight Lifting With Cardio For Maximum Gains

how to balance weight lifting with cardio maximize gains combine workouts

People are too quick to frame cardio and weightlifting as being diametrically opposed. Do too much of one and you limit the effectiveness of the other – and vice versa. When executed in the right doses, cardio and weightlifting can work synergistically to help you realise your fitness goals. You just need to learn how to balance them properly. 

To help you on your journey to peak performance, we’ve covered some of the common misconceptions about cardio and weightlifting and what you can do to find the perfect blend of both. 

Why Are Muscle-Focused Lifters Skeptical Of Cardio? 

You won’t see competitive weightlifters running around the local park. The reason for that is very simple: intense cardiovascular exercise burns up calories that your body needs to build muscle. By sacrificing these calories to run, swim or cycle, you are expending resources that can otherwise be spent maximising the size and strength of your muscles. Your squat variations aren’t going to matter if you’re using up all of your body’s stores on cardio. 

The Benefits Of Blending Cardio And Weightlifting 

Ultimately, carrying out difficult cardio sessions will improve your stamina. With improved endurance, you can exercise harder for longer. And your overall health will improve: regular cardio improves heart health and helps eliminate fat. You’ll quickly make progress in your weightlifting journey

Even if you’re solely focused on building muscle, if you can fit in a few cardio sessions every so often, it’ll increase your endurance and your overall health. 

Stagger Your Workouts 

Building muscle occurs during the recovery process from strenuous weightlifting – not when you’re actually exerting yourself lifting weights. Your muscles need a minimum of 48 hours to thoroughly recover from a weightlifting workout. In this time, you need to ensure your body is fuelled with all of the nutrients, fluids and rest it needs to recover and grow. 

Because of this lag, you need to ensure that your workouts are staggered correctly. If you’re going to do some strenuous cardio, make sure it is at least 48 hours before (or after) a weightlifting session. By staggering your workouts in this way, you can ensure that neither form of exercise gets in the way of the other. Because of this, neither goal is compromised. 

Think About Your Daily Routine 

If you lead an already active lifestyle – maybe you cycle to work, go on a walk during your lunch break and play five-a-side after work – you might not need to do much cardiovascular exercise beyond that. Similarly, if your job requires you to be on your feet all day – rather than slumped at a chair in an office – you might already have the ideal blend of cardio and weightlifting. 

If, however, you’re not particularly active during the week, you might want to consider squeezing in a few sessions of cardiovascular activity. That could be a gentle jog around the block, a few lengths of swimming or an evening bike ride.

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