Developing your fitness and health requires a combination of strength training and cardio. However, many wonder if they can do both on the same day. The answer is yes, but it may not be the best approach if you have specific goals.
For example, if you want to gain muscle or improve your endurance, doing both types of training on the same day is not advisable. Recent research has shown that combining cardio with resistance training in the same workout can diminish your gains.
1) Why does doing cardio block muscle gains?
The answer lies in the way these two types of training affect your body.
Endurance and cardio training stimulate AMPK, which regulates energy intake and expenditure. On the other hand, strength training stimulates mTOR, which regulates cellular growth for muscle strength and hypertrophy.
When you combine cardio and resistance training in the same session, mTOR and AMPK compete against each other. And when they compete against each other, the results are diminished. Additionally, resistance training produces pro-inflammatory IGF-1 and testosterone necessary to repair and rebuild muscles.
And on the other hand, AMPK reduces inflammation. So, AMPK stimulation, simultaneously with mTOR, will limit hypertrophy by decreasing the amount of IGF-1 and testosterone to repair muscles.
2) You lose energy to maximize gains for the other.
Another reason why cardio and strength training should be done on separate days is that they are fundamentally different training sessions. Cardio workouts emphasize cardiovascular endurance, whereas strength training focuses on building muscles through resistance. When you perform both at the same time, you will lose the energy to train the other with maximal output and focus.
3) If you are trying to build muscle, doing cardio will not help.
Strength training is anabolic, which means to create hypertrophy. And cardio is catabolic, which means to lose muscle. So, cardio can destroy and block your muscle gains. In other words, training your heart is not best for building your muscles.
What is the solution?
Well, the primary solution is to separate the days. This way, you can maximize the results.
If you want to do both in one day, you can. However, if you decide to do this, then wait 6 hours to do the other training. Waiting 6 hours allow the pathway to relax and turn off.
If you want to activate and maintain building muscle, you must eat and ensure your glycogen is not low during and after your training session. When you don’t eat, AMPK is activated. When you eat, it is inhibited, and mTOR is more active. So, if you eat, you will activate mTOR.
AMPK tends to override mTOR when energy is low. AMPK will not use energy to repair or build muscles first if it cannot meet energetic needs.
What are your options?
Different days are best for those looking to maximize and develop cardio and strength.
You should consider what you need and what is best for your training if you are an athlete.
Here is a suggested same-day training example.
Monday morning: Cardio training. This will trigger AMPK. Once you eat and recover, AMPK will turn off. Doing cardio first is best because mTOR can stay activated longer.
Monday afternoon: Strength Training. This will be the best time to trigger mTOR. Make sure you have the appropriate intake of carbohydrates and protein before, during, and after your training session to prevent the activation of AMPK.
Performing cardio and strength training simultaneously can compromise the effectiveness of each workout. You can still do them both together, but you will not maximize the result of one specifically. You can do cardio one day, strength another, and then both together.
Therefore, it’s essential to consider your objectives and create a workout plan that optimizes your results.