Cardio and strength training: when to do cardio?

Few people related to fitness and bodybuilding really like cardio. For the most part, it’s just a necessary routine to lower your body fat percentage. But is cardio really worth it? How do you combine cardio and strength training and when do you do cardio workouts?

Cardio is a workout to strengthen the cardiovascular system and endurance. They can be practiced both in the gym and on the street. Examples of cardio workouts are brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc. By cardio in this article, we mean continuous exercise for 20 to 60 minutes. A 10-minute run before or after strength training is a warm-up or cool-down, not full cardio. These. The answer to the question “Is it possible to run 10 minutes before/after training” is “It is possible and necessary”.

When should you do cardio training?

There’s no perfect time to do cardio. You can do cardio in the morning, before or after strength training, in the evening, and any time of the day when you’re feeling strong. When you should do this depends on your goals – weight loss or muscle growth.

Cardio and strength training – how to combine?

If you want to add cardio to weight training to burn fat, you have several options:

  • pre-workout or post-workout cardio
  • cardio on the day of strength training, but separately from it – with an interval of at least 6 hours (morning / evening cardio)
  • cardio on a separate day (e.g. strength day/cardio day)

Pre-workout or post-workout cardio

If you want to gain/maintain muscle mass, don’t do cardio (i.e. long 30-60 minute cardio, not a 10 minute “cardio warm up” on a treadmill – you can do it) before your main workout. Strength training requires a lot of strength and energy, a full-fledged pre-workout cardio will not allow you to train at full strength. Studies were conducted: In two groups of people with the same level of exercise, those who did not do cardio gained more strength.

In addition to strength, cardio is also not desirable if you are afraid of losing muscle. Turns out, your average “roll on the crowd” isn’t the Spanish “cardio” at all. Daily training takes away the energy needed for full muscle growth and recovery. This is especially true for ectomorphs.

Cardio and nutrition: fasted cardio

No amount of cardio will help you burn fat if you eat too much. 100 calories to spend on that weight. For 30 minutes, the intensity of the “otrabot” varies between 3-4 cups and half a cup (300 cups). To “work” lunch in fast food (1000-1500 kcal), you need to walk 2-2.5 hours.

There are both proponents and opponents of low-intensity cardio on an empty stomach. Proponents argue that this type of exercise primarily uses fat as an energy source. These. Carbohydrates are not necessary before training – because. they are not exhausted. That doesn’t mean carbs can’t be eaten before cardio. But they’ll keep you energized throughout the day, not during low-intensity cardio. Opponents of fasted cardio (“starved cardio”) cite studies that state that energy from carbohydrates is needed to transport fat that is broken down during such training. Therefore, breakfast before cardio is necessary. Despite this, there is still no unequivocal opinion – experiment, see for yourself how more comfortable the training is and what results you get.

What kind of cardio should you choose?

The best and most effective type of cardio does not exist. We recommend changing up your workouts from time to time – both low-intensity cardio (running, biking) and HIIT high-intensity interval training (same running and biking, but variable speed). It doesn’t matter if you’re working out in the gym or outside (yes, it’s fresh air outside, but it’s important not to miss a workout no matter the weather). Choose any simulator – a bike, track or ellipse, etc. The main thing is to maintain the desired intensity. For example, during high-intensity HIIT intervals, apply maximal effort (90% HR), don’t be lazy. If you’re combining cardio and strength training, remember that low-intensity cardio is the best option after strength training, and you should allocate a separate day for HIIT.

To motivate yourself, change the type of cardio. For example, do walking uphill on a treadmill (low-intensity cardio) one workout and HIIT on an elliptical the next. Changing up your workouts can help make cardio less boring.