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Weight Training and Cardio: What’s The Best Combination?

Many people don’t know how best to structure a weight training and cardio workout. Here’s how it should be done!

Weight training and cardio combination is awesome for both building lean muscle and burning fat. It’s this combination that’s going to get you that head-turning physique you want. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a guy or a girl, you can benefit from weight training and cardio combination workouts.

Many people don’t know what’s the best way to structure a weight and cardio routine. So in this post I am going to go over some basics about the best way to do it for maximum results.

The Order of Weight Training and Cardio

It’s a common myth that you should do your cardio before weight training. This is simply not true, and could seriously hinder your results in the gym. You should always get your weights in before hitting the treadmill and here’s why:

  1. To get the most out of weight training you need to have 100% energy. It’s much easier to get your heart rate up to fat loss level and keep it there for 45 minutes after a heavy weight training workout than it is to hit the cardio first. Don’t believe me, try it. It’s always a good idea to keep the most energy in your tank for weights. This goes for both men and women.
  2. Your body’s primary fuel source is glycogen. Glycogen is simply sugars that the body uses for energy. Why is this relevant to cardio and weights? Because when your body runs out of glycogen as a fuel source it turns to fat. Weight training uses glycogen, actually A LOT of glycogen. So once you’re done with your weights and you step on the treadmill it doesn’t take your body as long to start burning actual fat for fuel. Long story short, you’ll burn more fat this way then doing cardio first.

Mixing Things Up With Circuit Training

If you don’t want to simply separate your weight training and cardio sessions you can get both the benefits by doing a circuit training workout. Circuit training if where you hit multiple exercises without any rest in between. A good circuit routine will not hit the same muscle groups in the exercises it uses, it will train multiple parts of the body. The benefit to circuit training is that your heart rate gets up and stays up throughout the circuit. So you get the fat burning, calorie consumption, and cardio benefits too. Here’s and example of a circuit routine:

  1. Dumbbell Squat 12-15 reps.
  2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 12-15 reps.
  3. Bent Over Dumbbell Row 12-15 reps.
  4. Stiff Leg Deadlift 12-15 reps.
  5. Dumbbell Hammer Curl 12-15 reps.
  6. Dumbbell Side Raise 12-15 reps.
  7. Tricep Kick Back 12-15 reps each arm.
  8. Dumbbell Jack Knife 15-20 reps.

This is a simple routine you could do at home with a set of dumbbells.

Sample Weight Training & Cardio Workout

If you want to go the traditional route (like I do) you simply need to attach some cardio to the end of your weight training routine. It’s really that simple. Never change your routine when you add cardio. You want your muscles to think that they still need to lift the same weight even though you’re doing more activity. If you lift less, or use less sets/weight, you run the risk of muscle loss.

Here’s a sample chest, bicep and cardio routine:

  1. Dumbbell Bench Press
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Dumbbell Flyes
  4. Chest Dips
  5. Barbell Curl
  6. Incline Curl
  7. Cable Curl
  8. 45mins steady state cardio, heart rate at 130-140bpm

Still have questions about weight training and cardio? Leave them below, I’m more than happy to help anyone out!