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Should I Do Cardio and Strength Workouts Together or Separately?

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Updated June 20, 2013

Question: Should I Do Cardio and Strength Workouts Together or Separately?
Answer: The answer really depends on your goals. Many experts suggest that it's best to keep cardio and strength training separate so you can give your best energy and effort for each type of training. When you combine the two in the same workout, it's likely that whatever you do second will suffer a bit since you have the most energy at the beginning of your workout.

However, how you set up your workouts depends more on your schedule and goals than anything else and, for many of us, we don't always have time to do separate workouts and still get all of our training in each week. If that's the case, you may need to do cardio and weights on the same day and, unless you're training for something very specific (a bodybuilding competition, a race, etc.), it's fine to combine the two. In fact, you have many options when it comes to creating a workout schedule. Here are a few to choose from:

  • Do cardio and strength on alternate days. With this option, you may end up exercising more frequently to fit in all your workouts, but each workout will get your best energy and attention and you may enjoy doing something different each day.
  • Do cardio and strength at different times on the same day. For example, cardio in the morning, strength in the afternoon. With this option, you give your body a chance to rest before doing the second activity. The downside, of course, is having to workout twice in one day which requires both time and energy.
  • Do cardio and strength during the same workout. This option allows for some flexibility, especially if you have a busy schedule. When combining cardio and strength, choose the workout that's most important to you and do it first.
  • Do a combination. There's no reason you have to follow the same training schedule all the time. If you have more time one week, try alternating workouts each day. If you're getting off work early one afternoon, add in a strength or cardio routine after work. Be creative and you'll find many ways to schedule your workouts.http://exercise.about.com/od/circuittrainingworkouts/
  • Do Circuit Training - Cardio and strength circuits allow you to combine both types of workouts while burning more calories, the perfect solution if you're short on time.

For more information, check out these resources for how to set up an exercise program:

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