MoveWell Health and Fitness


Balancing Cardio and Strength training with the help of a personal trainer

Over the years, experts have varied their recommendations as to what combination of cardio and strength training is best to meet certain fitness goals. On a general level, balancing a combination of the two proves to be effective in achieving most fitness goals and with the assistance of a qualified personal trainer, you can be sure to meet the levels you are striving for sooner.

Should you combine cardio and strength training?

When it comes to altering your body, be it for weight loss or muscle-building purposes, scientific research will always suggest a healthy balance of diet, exercise and rest as the safest way to achieve your fitness goals.

Working with a personal trainer to combine strength and cardio training is the most highly recommended way to achieve your fitness goals. Even mild strength training can help you to achieve your weight loss goals while cardio in any form can help you to trim down and show off the best of your muscular gains.

What is cardio?

Cardio refers to cardiovascular fitness which is the increase of your heart rate through exercise, strengthening your heart and improving the efficiency that your body uses oxygen. Cardio has traditionally been seen as only a weight loss mechanism, but it is also great for general health and well-being. Regular cardiovascular exercise has been linked to longer lifespans in countless studies. There are two main types of cardio that you can engage in.

Steady-state cardio

Steady-state cardio is when your heart rate is raised at a consistent level for a duration of usually 30 minutes or more. Studies show that this type of exercise is best performed between 64% and 76% of your maximum heart rate and this is where the assistance of a personal trainer becomes invaluable. If it is fat loss you are looking for, keeping your heart rate at 180 – your age is the sweet spot. If you don’t have a HR monitor, basically you should be able to hold a conversation with your buddy while performing a steady state workout at this level. A personal trainer will monitor your heart rate and your progress when it comes to steady-state cardio to ensure that you are not doing too little or too much. Activities you can do to achieve a steady-state cardio workout include walking, running, swimming, cycling or aerobics.

HIIT workouts

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training which is the practice of high-level aerobic activity for shorter periods. It is recommended that a HIIT workout increase your heart rate to between 77% and 93% of your maximum but only for limited periods. A personal trainer is an important element in a HIIT workout, not only for encouragement to perform this high-intensity exercise but also to monitor your progress and ensure you’re not overdoing it. One of the key benefits of a HiiT session is that it leaves you with an increased metabolism for up to 3 hours after you have finished the workout. Enabling your body to continue burning calories for longer!

The benefits of strength training

Strength or resistance training is known to help you to build muscle in your body. This can be achieved by lifting free weights, using resistance machinery or simply doing bodyweight workouts, all of which can be orchestrated by an experienced personal trainer to fit with your exercise goals. A couple of the hidden benefits of strength training is that building muscle mass helps to increase your metabolic rate which burns fat. The other key benefit is strength training also strengthening your bones. This is vitally important as we age.

Tips for combining strength and cardio for the best results

While every personal trainer has their own methods to help you achieve your fitness goals, there are a few key points that every trainer will keep in mind when working with their clients.

Combining strength training with aerobic activity

The combination of cardio and resistance training is proven to be a very successful method for both losing weight and gaining muscle. Though the balance of each will be individually tweaked to suit an individual client, a good personal trainer will always recommend a combination of the two.

Don’t ignore rest days

Though the body is capable of many brilliant things, it is important to remember to allow it to rest as well. A professional personal trainer will ensure that rest and recovery days are worked into your exercise routine to ensure that you do not overwork yourself in the process of achieving your goals.

Never forget to fuel

Diet is a big part of an effective exercise routine. Strength training requires protein to be replenished in your body to fuel your growing muscles, while a calorie controlled diet full of nutrient dense food is essential for weight loss. Whether your personal trainer helps you set a diet that complements your routine and your goals, or they refer you to a qualified nutritionist, it is important to ensure that your body is getting the fuel it needs to help you succeed.

Learning on your personal trainer for the ultimate success

If you have been wondering whether combining strength and cardio training is the best option, the short answer is yes. With the help of a qualified and professional personal trainer, you have the best chance of achieving your fitness goals healthily and safely. Contact MoveWell Health & Fitness today to see how we can help you to get the body you’ve always dreamed of.