Combining Cardio and Strength Training: Should You Do It?

Getting active and making your body stronger through exercise and training will make you healthier and fit. However, it requires balancing many activities, like cardio, strength training, to get the results you want. However, many people wonder if these two should be separately done on different days of the week or if it is acceptable to combine them. Many points advocate for both sides, but it ultimately boils down to your fitness goals.

People mistakenly believe that all cardio is good for is burning fat and strength training only builds muscle, but it depends on the specific exercises you do. Combining the two can yield fantastic results, though you’ll have to consider a few things, like how your body feels and if you’re experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Here’s what you need to know about combining cardio and strength training:

Why Bodybuilders Don’t Do Intense Cardio

You may be wondering why those with big muscles choose to walk slowly, albeit consistently, on a treadmill during their recovery or off-weights day. The reason is that bodybuilders prioritize their muscles, and intense cardio can tire them out more than they expect, preventing them from continuing their regular weight-lifting sessions the next day. Instead, steady-state cardio allows them to enjoy heart-pumping exercise benefits without requiring recovery.

Some research shows that low to moderate intensity workouts can also help you get back into the game faster since it pumps blood flow to damaged muscle tissue more quickly. If you’re hoping to be a bodybuilder, this is something you’ll want to consider.

When Should You Do Cardio?

If you’re feeling DOMS, that’s the best time to do some slow, consistent cardio training. It also helps to have a fitness watch to monitor your heart rate and ensure you fully recover between training sessions. You’ll also need to listen to your body, pay attention to signals, and look at what your fitness watch is recommending you to do. 

You don’t have to force yourself to complete a HIIT workout session after lifting weights or even the next day if your muscles still feel sore and exhausted. What you can do instead is to get on the treadmill and maintain a steady pace, below 80 percent of your heart rate. 

Building Strength and Doing Cardio

Meanwhile, if you want to build muscles and you’re performing cardio within six hours of lifting weights, then you may be compromising your strength gains. Given the different forms of exercises you’re doing, you’re confusing your body with several activation patterns. However, endurance cardio and similar intensity workouts can be taken to the next level by strength and power workouts. If your end-goal is to get bigger and stronger muscles, you’ll want to avoid combining cardio and strength training.

However, if you’re training for endurance, you can benefit from concurrent training, especially if you’re a regular exerciser whose goal is to maintain fitness. You can combine cardio and strength training just fine, which is also easier to carry out if you have a busy schedule that doesn’t allow several workouts a week. You can even try the high-low method, popularized by sprint coach Charlie Francis, where you’ll have days dedicated to high-intensity training like sprinting and Olympic lifting. You’ll also have days for low-intensity activities like tempo runs or lifting lighter weights.


Cardio and strength training offers many benefits, but they may not help you achieve your goals if you want to build massive muscle. The best way to approach it is to outline your goals and get a consultation from a personal fitness studio, guiding you on the best exercise regimen to help you achieve your dream body.

If you want to take your body to the next level, let us know at The Fit Factor! We are an exclusive, results-driven personal training studio in Wellesley. Our complimentary consultation and tailored programming will make sure that we create customized programs specific to your needs. Contact us today to book an appointment!

Chad has been my personal trainer for over 10 years.  He is very dedicated and resourceful as a trainer.  I would highly recommend Chad.  He has kept my body healthy through all these years and in my 50s. Chad is also very accommodating to working with your schedule. Wouldn't go anywhere else.

Joan C

I love working out with Chad! I have been working out with him for the past year and a half and have had the best results compared with other trainers. Chad’s dedication to his clients, humor, warmth and expertise are a winning combination. I look forward to our sessions and always leave feeling stronger, more flexible and energetic. I highly recommend Chad.

Brittany chick

I have been working with Chad (the trainer) for almost three years now and have gone through an amazing transformation! He bonds greatly with his clients and is a very qualified trainer. He tailors workouts to individual clients and has helped me perform better as an equestrian and achieve my physique goals. If you are looking for a great one-on-one trainer, I would highly recommend.

Yvonne C.

When I started going to the fit factor I went in thinking I had a pretty good knowledge of weight lifting and exercise without having much to improve. I was so wrong! Chad was incredible and really took the time to explain and show proper technique as well as a variety of different exercises that I had never done before. I now have much more confidence in my form and have a really great and well rounded routine. Additionally, Chad catered to my personal goals and really listened to what I wanted to accomplish. I cannot recommend The fit factor and Chad enough!

Giuseppe Leonelli

I have been weight lifting for over five years but have never had dedicated instruction from a trainer. Chad was able to notice where my form was failing and correct it immediately. He also guided me towards effective exercises so that I could keep achieving my goals and moving up. After a couple of months of working with him I was able to see some great results. Chad knows his stuff!

Jonas Escobedo

Chad has been great with not only the types of specialized workouts each session but also with checking in after the sessions. He has a real passion for seeing people make big health changes; which makes it fun. Would highly recommend!

William Gotschewski

I went to Chad looking to get back in shape and lose weight, which had crept up from working long hours. Chad was super patient and non-judgmental. We started at a level where I would see results but not get so sore or so disappointed at what I could not do it. He focused on what I could do if I pushed myself hard and taught me that step/skill building was an integral part of the process. We also talked about nutrition and self-care. As other reviews have mentioned, he cares about his clients beyond the appointment time, and wants them to make positive change to their lives that will stick. I lost 30+ pounds and I am in the best shape of my life. I have been able to maintain this for 2 years. He taught me how to create a sustainable workout plan. Even during the pandemic I was able to maintain my weight and my fitness level thanks for his frequent check-ins and the solid fitness base we created through his work and fitness mentorship. I highly recommend him!

Tere Ramos

I started with Chad in August 2020, my first semester of college was cancelled and i needed something active to do. At that point I was a small underweight kid looking to gain muscle and gain weight. I went to Chad 3 times a week until late January 2021. Those 5 months were great, I really enjoyed going to chad and it was the highlight of my week and something I would look forward to going to 3 times every week. Throughout this time Chad has perfected my form on workouts and had a great and unique workout for me everytime. I went in weighing 125 pounds at 5’10 and now I weigh 150 pounds after the five months. Not only did Chad give workouts but he also gave me a diet for me to follow so I could maximize my time with him. He really personalizes workouts for each person. Currently i’m in the best shape of my life and am super confident in my body. GO TO FIT-FACTOR!!

Declan Gulley