Balancing Cardio and Strength Training in Your Fitness Routine


There are a lot of web fitness influencers suggesting x amount of cardio, y amount of strength training, and whatnot.

You might want to start exercising and maintain a workout routine but would get caught up into this. This article will help rescue you from this trap and make you discover what’s best for you.

Achieving an effective fitness routine involves striking the right balance between cardio and weight training.

However, before we dive into it, one should never forget that one shoe does not fit all, and you should plan your workout session based on your body type and requirements that are suited to you.

Cardio and Strength Training Workout

While the age-old debate of whether a cardio workout is better than strength training or the other way around continues, let’s understand what each of them means and their relevance.

What is Cardio Training?

Cardiovascular exercise, known as cardio, includes activities that will help you get your heart rate up. Cardio is believed to lower the risk of diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure while promoting lung and heart health.

What is Strength Training?

Weight or strength training was associated with toning muscles, increasing strength and building endurance.

This type of exercise includes lifting weights, bodyweight workouts and resistance training. Strength training boosts metabolism, necessary for maintaining muscle mass and enhancing functional strength.

cardio after weight lifting


As explained above, both of these strength exercises and cardio have different benefits; thus, one should not see them as which one is better than the other. Instead, combining cardio and strength training in an optimal ratio that suits you will help boost an overall fit body and active lifestyle.

Now comes the question of whether one should perform cardio first and strength training later or the other way around. We will now delve into how one can balance cardio and strength training into your fitness routine.

Cardio Before or After Weight Training

The reality of this question depends on your fitness objectives and preferences. We will explore both ways to help you make an informed choice and strategy based on your understanding.

1. Cardio before Strength Training

There are various advantages to starting with cardio before strength training. Cardio will warm your muscles and joints and prepare them for heavy lifting.

Performing cardio first will help you improve cardiovascular health by increasing your heart rate and blood flow, building endurance, and enhancing your overall workout experience.

Due to the elevation in the heart rate, the main advantage of cardio before strength training is that it leads to a higher calorie burn than strength training.

Cardio burns calories and depletes glycogen stores, which causes the body to use more fat for strength training. This advantage is beneficial if your main goal is weight loss or to burn fat.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to regulate the intensity and duration of cardio to prevent overexertion that might hinder your strength training.

2. Strength Training Before Cardio

There are benefits to choosing strength training over cardio as well. When you prioritise strength training over cardio, you prioritize developing and activating your muscles with resistance workouts.

This is beneficial when your goal is to gain muscle mass, strengthen, and improve your overall athletic performance.

When you perform strength training before cardio, your body becomes dependent mainly on stored fats for deriving energy while performing cardio later.

This order might be advantageous for those who want to focus on muscle growth while deriving equal benefits of cardio.

However, if you perform strength training before cardio, you must do a proper warm-up before you begin. This ensures that your muscles are ready to tend to the demands of resistance training.

You can include a mix of active stretches and light cardio in your warm-up.

cardio and strength training

Cardio or Strength Training?

We have already implied that cardio and strength training give you different advantages, depending on which sequence you want to follow.

However, here’s a simple way to select your approach. Understanding whether your fitness goal is weight loss, muscle building or overall fitness will make choosing your workout regime the simplest.

1. To Achieve Your Weight Loss Goal

It is essential to perform a combination of cardio and strength training if you want to lose weight.

Raising your resting metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories you burn while at rest, is one of the principal reasons for prioritising strength training.

Later on, you can increase your calorie burn by including moderate aerobic workout sessions.

One should include weight lifting 2-3 times weekly to build muscle and boost metabolism. Adding moderate-intensity cardio 3-4 times per week will help you aid in burning calories.

2. To Achieve Muscle-Building Goals

Focusing on strength training and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can help you gain muscle while keeping your heart healthy and preventing you from losing muscle.

If you’re looking to build strength and muscle building is your goal, you should focus on strength workouts 3-4 times per week with heavier weights and fewer reps.

Including short bursts of high-intensity cardio 1-2 times per week will help you maintain cardiovascular health while promoting muscular growth.

3. To Achieve an Overall Fitness Goal

If striving for a well-rounded routine, you should include strength training and cardio at regular intervals.

Performing a good mix of cardio 3-4 times a week and strength training at least twice a week will help you give your body holistic fitness growth.

However, your current fitness level and personal preferences will determine each exercise’s optimal intensity and duration.

Combining Cardio and Strength Training

In this section, we will explain why crafting an equilibrium between cardio and strength training is essential.

Creating a workout that will maintain an adequate and balanced fitness regime is crucial. If you want to understand and plan your ratio of cardio to strength training, here’s what you should analyze:

How to Balance Strength and Cardio in Your Fitness Routine

Now that we have explained the benefits of both cardio and strength training and the sequence of whether it is better to perform cardio before or after strength training, it is essential to explain the importance of striking a balance between both.

Here are the factors that one should consider before hopping onto their fitness journey:

1. Overall Fitness

You should always analyse your body before following random fitness trends or routines.

While regular cardiovascular activities are crucial for good heart health, doing extra might do you more harm than good, especially if you have a history of heart health issues like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Indulging is a light form of cardio, as regular exercise, jogging, cycling, or swimming might be excellent choices to start.

2. Making Choices Based on Your Age and Fitness Levels

Your fitness requirements will change with your age. An older adult might combine strength training with cardio to strengthen their muscles and bones.

If you are starting a new fitness journey young, it’s best to strike a balanced approach with cardio and strength training and adjust it based on your strength.

cardio before or after strength training

3. Recovery

Both strength training and cardio exercises are physically demanding. To prevent burnout or the risk of injury, you should always prioritize recovery measures such as eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep.

Do not forget to incorporate sufficient rest days. Remember, balance is the key.


To achieve your fitness objectives and lead a sound, happier life, developing a sustainable workout regime with help of a personal trainer and keeping track of it while celebrating every step of the journey is essential. Remember, consistency is the key.