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Why Cardio and Weight Lifting Complement Each Other in a Workout Program.
By: Sami Smith


Why Cardio and Weight Lifting Complement Each Other in a Workout Program.

I don’t know about you but the first thing I usually hear when people want to lose weight is, “cardio.” Clients ask “how much walking/running should I do.” Most people think they need to walk/run 60 plus minutes to see results.

I usually let them know that yes cardio is important, but unless you want to run that long and want to compete in races, then there is no need to run that long ALL of the time. I let them know we need to add weight training to their workouts- You should see the looks I get! And the responses! “Oh, I don’t want to bulk up” “I don’t want to gain weight.”

First of all, lets get that weight number out of our head and focus on gaining muscle and losing fat percentages. The number on the scale tells you nothing about how much muscle mass, fat mass, and bone density you have. It doesn’t even tell you how freaking awesome you are!

Secondly, it would take a very strict diet and a few years to “bulk up!”

I’m going to share with you the importance of both cardio and strength training exercises and how they complement each other when it comes to living a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Most of us have heard the saying “More exercise = more energy,” right?

Have you ever wondered why it’s a good thing to have a low Heart Rate? The rate at which your heart beats per minute determines how hard your heart is working to keep your body running. Therefore, you want your HR lower so that you don’t tire as fast as you would with a high HR.

When you first start working out you’re not going to have immense amounts of energy all of a sudden, but instead it may take a week or two for your body to adjust, become stronger, and not tire as easily. Over the span of your lifetime having a lower heart rate is very important to living a longer healthy life.  

How do you lower your HR then?

Doing any type of cardio exercise consistently is going to improve your HR.

Find out what you like best, there are many options: Walking, hiking, running, fun races, competitive races, biking, swimming, elliptical, stairs, basketball, soccer, racquetball, ultimate Frisbee, skiing, snowboarding.

All these activities can condition your heart and make it healthier! A healthy heart also leads to good blood pressure. And of course, cardio burns calories! Which leads to fat loss!

It’s great to have fat loss as one of your main goals but the underlying health benefits are just as important!

Strength Training

Strength training not only builds muscle but it also increases your bone density. Why is bone density important? Because as you age your bone density naturally decreases and becomes porus. This is why elderly people are referred to as fragile. Fragile bones are more likely to break after a fall. Most back injuries come from fragile back bones and muscles.

No matter your age, even in your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s,  you can still reverse your bone density. But the earlier you start in life the better. Exercise that stimulates muscle hypertrophy and strength gains also stimulate bone growth.  You are more likely to stay away from injuries and falls because you have built muscle, balance, and dense bones to keep you from them.

Benefits of Resistance training

-          Increases muscle mass (toned body!)

-          reduces fat mass

-          Increases bone density

-          Increases daily metabolic rate (metabolism)

-          Increases energy expenditure during exercise

-          A combination HIIT style resistance training and cardio will improve your HR and aerobic capacity


When you lift weights your HR increases but it has little effect when it comes to reducing your HR like cardio does. The increase in HR during strength training, however, does burn calories! Yes, you read that right, lifting weights BURNS CALORIES too!

Therefore, combining cardio and weights into your workouts is very important. Each component brings different benefits that you can’t get without the other. Studies show that individuals who have a high HR and BP live shorter lives. And those who don’t do strengthening exercises are more prone to bone injuries and osteoporosis.

Our Body Sculpting Challenge is an awesome place to start; it’s full of HITT style workouts that incorporate cardio and body weight exercises. Check it out here!

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