When it comes to fitness training, there’s a never-ending debate about whether to combine strength and cardio or keep them separate. Many people wonder if one type of training will harm the other or if cardio will ruin their hard-earned muscle gains. At REVL, we understand the importance of optimising your training ratio. In this blog, we’ll explore how cardio and strength training can complement each other rather than harm one another. We’ll also explain why training them separately, as we do in our REVL sessions, is beneficial compared to the idea of doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with weights.
Does Cardio Undermine Strength Goals?
There’s a widespread belief that cardio can impede strength and muscle growth. While research provides conflicting evidence on this topic, it’s important to note that different goals and training options yield different answers. If your primary goal is overall fitness and holistic benefits, combining strength and cardio poses no harm. However, if you’re looking to maximize strength and fitness gains, it’s essential to consider separating the two types of training.
Why Cardio Could Impede Strength Adaptations
Combining strength (anaerobic) and cardio (aerobic) training in one session forces the body to utilize both pathways simultaneously. This multitasking approach can lead to inefficiency and potentially inhibit the body’s anaerobic adaptation system. By inhibiting protein synthesis, the combined training effect may slow muscle and strength growth, undermining overall results.
Principle 1: Separating Strength & Cardio Sessions
To maximize results, it is recommended to separate strength and cardio sessions. While a single HIIT class with weights may not completely hinder muscle growth, adopting a combined approach in each session can lead to diminishing returns over time. At REVL, we follow this principle by offering separate strength and cardio sessions, allowing each adaptation system to be utilized more efficiently. This intentional approach leads to faster results, higher returns, and improved overall fitness.
Cross Training Goals with Strength
For recreational athletes looking to improve endurance activities like running, rowing, or cycling, strength training is widely recognized as complementary. However, it’s crucial to balance the training split to avoid fatigue from extreme cardio undermining strength gains. Adequate rest between sessions, along with proper fueling, protein intake, sleep, and recovery priority, can help offset potential muscle loss when pursuing both strength and cardio goals simultaneously.
Principle 2: Adequate Rest Between Sessions
Principle 3: Recovery & Fueling Priority
Balancing Cardio & Strength Goals
It’s important to recognize that the strongest athletes and the fittest athletes have different goals and training approaches. For most of us, achieving balanced goals in terms of both strength and cardio is more desirable. This balanced approach contributes to overall health benefits such as improved bone density, longevity, reduced dementia risk, and enhanced quality of life. It’s crucial to tailor your training split and goals to create a sustainable and adaptable plan that supports mental and physical well-being.
Principle 4: Balanced Training Equals Balanced Goals
Strategic Cardio to Strength Ratio at REVL
At REVL, we prioritize intentional, targeted, and scientifically-backed training. By keeping anaerobic and aerobic sessions separate, scaling intensity, and adhering to a 50-minute timeframe, our weekly training split builds strength and fitness simultaneously. We incorporate deloads and prevent overtraining, ensuring our members get the most out of their training while minimizing the risk of injuries.
Finding the optimal balance between cardio and strength training is a personal journey. While combining the two can be beneficial for overall fitness, separating them allows for more efficient adaptations and better results. At REVL, we provide evidence-based methods to empower and support our members in achieving their goals.