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Strength vs. Cardio — Here's How You Should Structure Your Workout

Make Your Gym Time Count

When it comes to exercise you want to make the most of your workouts, especially if you are pressed for time. And these days, who isn't pressed for time.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your workout:

Warm Up Prior to Strength Training Session:
Just 5 minutes of cardio before lifting weights will increase blood flow to your muscles by about 55 percent and this makes your muscles contract better.
Added bonus: Warming your body up also lowers your body's perceived exertion of how hard your exercise session is, making you feel less taxed.

Work the Circuit:
Keep your workouts exciting and varied by creating a circuit for yourself by performing 3 to 5 several strengthening exercises, followed by short 3 minutes cardio segments. Pick 3 weight machines that work different parts of your body and intersperse with sets of abdominals, then cycle for 3 minutes. Next work your arms with free weights, sprinkle in lunges and squats then jump on the elliptical.
Added Bonus: Since circuit training is so fast paced and varied the chances of getting bored and stopping are much lower. Plus it is an efficient calorie burner that increases muscular strength and decreases body fat.

Mix Up The Cardio:
Cross train with at least two types of cardio. Try mixing running with swimming, or mix cycling with step aerobics. By incorporating different types of cardio you will increase your fitness level and work your body in different ways.
Added Bonus: Varying the type of cardio you do greatly decreases your risk for injury because you won't be over using just one muscle group.

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Join The Conversation
catixavi catixavi 10 years
Great tips, in deed!!! I'll experiment them right now! Thanx FitSugar! xoxo
backnskinnyjeans backnskinnyjeans 10 years
I'll have to try the circuit training next. I've been soooo loving your Mountain Climbing treadmill workout. I've created about 5 versions of it already.
SweetPeasMom SweetPeasMom 10 years
I like these tips! Coming up with a circuit is the hardest part for me. I had a trainer the last three weeks and he did a good job of creating them, but I know you have to change it up every 6 weeks or so. And I LOVE doing different Cardio. My gym offers a different class every day at 8:30 am - I do an Interval class on Tuesdays, a Cardio Mix class on Wednesdays and a regular Step class on Thursdays. Mondays and Fridays I do cardio on my own and then a series of machines. I hardly ever get bored anymore.
JBlondie JBlondie 10 years
Great tips! Thanks Fit!
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