When you’re trying to build muscle but also keep up with your cardio what’s the best way to do both, should you do them on separate days or can you go hit the weights and then go for a run all on the same day?
By trying to build muscle, I am going to assume you mean build muscle size, aka muscular hypertrophy. If you look at the two extremes of what you are saying, you will have a big, bulky bodybuilder on the hypertrophy side of the spectrum and a very thin, low musculature marathon runner on the other side. Meeting somewhere in the middle is where most people want to be: lean, strong, and have ample cardiovascular endurance.
The best way to get bigger will always be to workout with hypertrophy in mind and limit your cardio to very little to none while you bulk up a bit. When focusing on specific goals such as hypertrophy, strength, power, or endurance, the biggest gains will always occur when only one type of training occurs. The best way to achieve total athletic performance is through a PERIODIZATION MODEL.
I however am like you, I enjoy lifting while still doing large amount of cardio. So this is my best recommendation… Split workouts (lifting session, cardio session) will yield the best results. I like at least 12 hours between workouts to recover, but if that’s not plausible, a few hours will do. Splitting your workouts every other day works best. If life doesn’t let you split workouts and both need to be done consecutively, the first part of your workout should be the most important to you at that time. For example, if you want to build muscle, resistance train first, then do cardio. Vice versa if you were training for a half-marathon, run first, then lift. This will ensure whichever exercise you do first will receive the most effort.
Also, be sure to make nutrition a priority. You need to ensure you are getting enough calories in to sustain muscle growth despite burning calories while you do your cardio. Protein intake should be valued because without it, you will not be able to create any new muscle tissue. Get a good source of carbohydrates for energy and protein for growth at each meal. Post workout, don’t neglect your carbs either, as you need to replenish glycogen stores in the muscle in addition to protein synthesis.
By Sean Spire – a fitness professional, specializing in athletic development, weight loss, post-rehabilitation, and the geriatric population. With a degree in Exercise Science from Florida State University where he was a scholarship athlete in swimming, he currently resides in South Florida where he pursues his passion – helping people live life the way it is meant to be lived. More articles and tips can be found on Sean’s blog – http://www.aspirefitnessandhealth.com/
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