When attempting to provide a reliable resource on this topic it would be ill-founded to produce an article which assumes the same ultimate goal. It goes without saying that the perfect balance between cardio and muscle is subjective; those looking to lose weight will need to find a different equilibrium to individuals intent on building muscle mass. However, irrespective of the goal, a balance between the two needs to be struck. This article looks at three common goals and where the balance between cardio and weight training should lie for each.
With New Year’s resolutions fresh in the minds of many, weight loss seems to be an apt place to start. In this case the focus should be on cardio exercises to burn calories and the fat Christmas gluttony will have left in its wake.
If you’re serious about your goal then a cardio workout should be carried out between three and five times a week, lasting no less than half an hour a time. If you are pressed by other commitments then three sessions a week of between 45 minutes and an hour will certainly suffice. Examples of cardio exercises include jogging, cycling or even just a brisk walk. Diet is just as important as the exercise itself. If you’re still eating like it’s Christmas Day then any results will be slow in coming. By sticking to a low calorie diet you will soon start to see the extra weight drop off.
The trouble with all this cardio work combined with a low calorie diet is you will not only lose fat, but also muscle. By combining your cardio work with perhaps two weight lifting sessions a week, you will be able to maintain your muscle mass whilst removing the wobble.
If muscle gain is the aim, then cut the cardio right back. Too much cardio will be detrimental to your overall objective as some of the energy the cardio uses up will come from muscle mass. If you’re serious about building muscle then you’ll need to introduce a diet heavy on proteins and carbohydrates, and these foods, no matter how much weight training you do, are still likely to result in a certain amount of fat being added. By getting the balance between cardio and weight training just right, it is possible to improve lean muscle mass whilst decreasing body fat.
A muscle building regime should include between three and six sessions of weight lifting a week, with at least one cardio session, preferably two, thrown in for good measure to burn off some of those extra calories.
Well balanced fitness
If the goal is a well balanced body which not only looks the part but which is also primed for cardiovascular exercise, then both building muscle mass and losing weight through cardio are equally important. When trying to find the perfect balance between the two, studies suggest that separating cardio and weight lifting workouts is the best strategy to adopt. Cardio and weight training on the same day can deplete the body’s energy levels, leaving insufficient energy for either. Try lifting weights after a cardio workout and you’ll experience this firsthand. If you do not have time to dedicate to separate workouts, do the weight training first while your muscles are at their peak.
A truly balanced level of fitness can be achieved by dedicating the same amount of time to weight training as cardio work.
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