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Workout Split: Seperate day for cardio?

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Hello, every so often I like to reorganize my weekly workout split. Right now with work I can guarantee at least 5x days in the gym. I was wondering if it would be better to have one day of my split be for cardio, or should I just add 20-30 mins of cardio at the end of my weight lifting? Is one way better than the other? My goal rn is fat loss incase that impacts anything.

Replies

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 33,041 Member
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    What program are you following on the strength side? Generally, a well-designed professional program is going to be more effective than creating one's own, and that will suggest a number of days a week, and require a certain span of time each session. Examples here:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    After pinning that down, you'll have an idea of how much time on how many of your 5 days would be devoted to strength work, and you can fit in some kind of cardio around that, anything that doesn't create recovery problems for you personally (usually that's more about type & intensity of the cardio, rather than about scheduling per se).

    If your goal is weight loss, but you want to prioritize strength training (which the wording of your question suggests), IMO the best approach for cardio is to set your time budget, then do steady state cardio at the intensity you can sustain for the time available (allowing for a little warm up and cool down). You want to end up energized rather than fatigued the rest of the day (after maybe a few minutes of "whew" feeling right after the gym session) and the next day, etc. That will usually give you the best total calorie burn, since intervals/intensity are more fatiguing, create risk of bleeding calories out of your daily life activity levels.

    Just my opinion, though.
  • digidoomed
    digidoomed Posts: 151 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    What program are you following on the strength side? Generally, a well-designed professional program is going to be more effective than creating one's own, and that will suggest a number of days a week, and require a certain span of time each session. Examples here:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    After pinning that down, you'll have an idea of how much time on how many of your 5 days would be devoted to strength work, and you can fit in some kind of cardio around that, anything that doesn't create recovery problems for you personally (usually that's more about type & intensity of the cardio, rather than about scheduling per se).

    If your goal is weight loss, but you want to prioritize strength training (which the wording of your question suggests), IMO the best approach for cardio is to set your time budget, then do steady state cardio at the intensity you can sustain for the time available (allowing for a little warm up and cool down). You want to end up energized rather than fatigued the rest of the day (after maybe a few minutes of "whew" feeling right after the gym session) and the next day, etc. That will usually give you the best total calorie burn, since intervals/intensity are more fatiguing, create risk of bleeding calories out of your daily life activity levels.

    Just my opinion, though.

    Thank you for the links! I'll check them out. Usually I just structure my own workouts, but I'll give one of the programs a try. Thanks for your help
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,633 Member
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    Do you have enough energy left to do cardio after a strength training? What is your goal for both?
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,809 Member
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    If your goal from what you do in the gym is just "fat loss" I think you need to have a serious rethink.
    If you are really just seeing the gym as a way of burning calories then you would be taking a very different path.

    What are your fitness, strength, sporting, enjoyment goals as fat loss really comes from what you do kitchen / your long term calorie balance?

    "Better" needs context. If you mean just burn more calories (I really hope not!) then the option that makes you do the longest duration of moderate intensity cardio over the course of the week of whatever type you can tolerate would burn more calories. And of course the elephant in the room is that MyFitnessPal very sensibly encourages people not to use exercise to boost their rate of weight loss.

    Cardio is also a massively broad term. I'm pretty sure my cardio is very different to your cardio and yes I keep it separate to my strength training as that suits my personal goals and preferences.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,633 Member
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    And to put in some context: when I do strength training I don't have the strength to do cardio afterwards, or the next day. Thus you really need to tell us a bit more.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
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    digidoomed wrote: »
    Hello, every so often I like to reorganize my weekly workout split. Right now with work I can guarantee at least 5x days in the gym. I was wondering if it would be better to have one day of my split be for cardio, or should I just add 20-30 mins of cardio at the end of my weight lifting? Is one way better than the other? My goal rn is fat loss incase that impacts anything.

    It's dependent on the individual, her/his goal, training history, time constraints,load management, etc..

    Perhaps you can post more info since this is a individual thing but in general...

    A fat loss goal doesn't require cardio. That is obtained from a caloric deficit, so I wouldn't base a decision of when on that idea if that is what you mean.

    I certainly would follow the minimum and suggest exceeding the guidelines for cardio and resistance training for health purposes.

    One can certainly do both 3-7 days a week if programmed correctly though that usually has to do with time restraints and I think there is just better ways to accomplish both to obtain benefits.

    I would highly consider how you are managing your stress level of life and gym and dose your cardio selection, stress, and frequency on that basis.

    Feel free to flirt with different variables and make adjustments.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
    edited May 2021
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    digidoomed wrote: »
    Hello, every so often I like to reorganize my weekly workout split. Right now with work I can guarantee at least 5x days in the gym. I was wondering if it would be better to have one day of my split be for cardio, or should I just add 20-30 mins of cardio at the end of my weight lifting? Is one way better than the other? My goal rn is fat loss incase that impacts anything.

    Not really a right or wrong answer and would be highly dependent on your programming, intensity, whether or not your have performance concerns, etc. "Cardio" is also vague...going for a 3 mile walk is cardio...so is a 3 mile run...but they're going to have a completely different stress on the body...and if it's a run, is it just going for a jog or are you training and trying to increase performance just as an example.

    If you're just using the gym to burn some calories and just sort of willy nilly doing your own strength program, it probably really doesn't matter. More specific fitness goals and priorities would otherwise dictate the direction you would want to go.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 33,041 Member
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    yirara wrote: »
    And to put in some context: when I do strength training I don't have the strength to do cardio afterwards, or the next day. Thus you really need to tell us a bit more.

    I'm surprised that you say that. Since walking is cardio, and there are other low-intensity options - plus heart health is a Good Thing . . . are you really saying that your strength training is so intense that you wouldn't be able to go for a walk, easy-pace bike ride, or something like that on the day of strength training, or the day after? That seems kind of extreme?

    The generic recommendation (not my personal recommendation, but for example national health promotion bodies') for basic fitness/health tends to be something like strength training at least 2 days a week, and 5 days a week of cardio. Many people who prioritize strength training would be doing some 3 or more days a week, depending on their program/split. A mixed fitness schedule starts to be hard to accomplish if it's not possible to do cardio on the day of strength training, or the day after.

    I'm not the best person to comment, though: The general MFP community recommendation seems to be to prioritize strength training over cardio (and I understand why), but personally I prioritize cardio (for performance in my most important/preferred activity), so I almost always do cardio before strength. (I know, heresy! 😆) For clarity, that *isn't* what I'd suggest to others, whose goals may be different, or even whose goals are sort of generic fitness/health.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,633 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    And to put in some context: when I do strength training I don't have the strength to do cardio afterwards, or the next day. Thus you really need to tell us a bit more.

    I'm surprised that you say that. Since walking is cardio, and there are other low-intensity options - plus heart health is a Good Thing . . . are you really saying that your strength training is so intense that you wouldn't be able to go for a walk, easy-pace bike ride, or something like that on the day of strength training, or the day after? That seems kind of extreme?

    The generic recommendation (not my personal recommendation, but for example national health promotion bodies') for basic fitness/health tends to be something like strength training at least 2 days a week, and 5 days a week of cardio. Many people who prioritize strength training would be doing some 3 or more days a week, depending on their program/split. A mixed fitness schedule starts to be hard to accomplish if it's not possible to do cardio on the day of strength training, or the day after.

    I'm not the best person to comment, though: The general MFP community recommendation seems to be to prioritize strength training over cardio (and I understand why), but personally I prioritize cardio (for performance in my most important/preferred activity), so I almost always do cardio before strength. (I know, heresy! 😆) For clarity, that *isn't* what I'd suggest to others, whose goals may be different, or even whose goals are sort of generic fitness/health.

    Yeah, a good round of progressive bodyweight exercise can be killing. I've run in the evening after doing strength around lunch, but it wasn't very relaxing nor very good. The next day it's doms, and movement is not very pleasant. But just doing a few repeat exercises without going anywhere near some max effort won't have that effect of course.
  • nossmf
    nossmf Posts: 10,042 Member
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    Speaking strictly from personal experience, but if I don't get some cardio in on my lifting days, I *highly* doubt I would get any done at all! lol I am convinced I would find all manner of excuses not to go to the gym if the only thing I had to look forward to was "cardio." So for me, I have to do both the same day. Would I have better results if separate and/or more often? Almost assuredly. But what I do is also most assuredly better than not getting ANY cardio at all, so it works for me.