Should I Do Cardio in Addition to Weight Training?

This is a question I get asked often

My answer?

It depends.

To provide an honest answer I need to know more about your current training program and your goals.

Do you want to lose weight? If so, how much? How fast do you want to lose it?

How often are you working out? What's your occupation? Do you sit or stand or walk a lot at work?

There are a ton of variables that will determine the best course of action.

Let's look at a few examples.

A 45 year old male wants to lose the beer belly (about 10-15 lbs.) He trains with weights three days per week. Sessions are 30 minutes.

This guy works at a desk all day and isn't active outside of his workouts.

For this guy I would suggest adding some extra cardio in addition to weight training.

I won't go into all the different cardio options here. (steady-state, intervals, circuits, complexes, metcons)

That's another article entirely.

To keep it simple let's say this guy does 2 days of extra cardio- mainly intervals for 20-30 minutes. 3-4 days he walks on his lunch break for 30-45 minutes.

Another example-

30 year old woman who is fairly fit and wants to build some muscle/strength. She runs a few times a week and takes a spinning class and a bootcamp class. Her job is a mix of sitting and walking.

For this woman, I would recommend no additional cardio sessions. I would likely suggest she drops one of the classes, depending on her recovery and progress.

With her goal of more muscle she may need to either eat more calories or cut back on some of the cardio work.

It depends on the person too. This is important and can't be overlooked. Some people feel they need cardio and won't be satisfied without it, while others would never want to add calories to their diet for fear of gaining fat. (even if they want to gain muscle)

Final example- 55 year old male who wants to lose belly fat/build muscle mass. Works on his feet all day, lifts weights 3 days per week.

This man walks a ton of steps at work and is stuck where he can't seem to lose the belly fat and gain muscle in his upper body,

I suggest 2-3 days of intervals done separately or right after weight training. This man does not need extra cardio done at a slow-moderate pace on an elliptical machine. He needs to sprint, do sprint intervals on the bike/airdyne or sled dragging- my all-time favorite.

Those are three common example I see in my training business.

Should YOU do cardio in addition to your weight training program?

As you can see,  the answer depends on many factors.

If you need help designing a program contact me.  I can help you organize a plan to get you where you want to be, whether that's leaner, stronger or more muscular.