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“The fitness industry has long debated the pros and cons of cardio versus weight training,” says Fernwood Toowoomba’s Director of Fitness and Personal Training Manager Mel.

With so many opinions out there, it can be difficult to know which types of exercise will help you reach your goals the most efficiently. We sat down with Mel to break down the benefits of both cardio and weight training, so keep reading to find out how you can structure your fitness routine for optimal results.

Cardio

“Cardio or aerobic training gets our heart pumping and enables us to burn large amounts of calories. It also allows us to build endurance and a fitness base to support other types of training,” Mel says.

In addition to this, cardio can also improve blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health, as it aids in pumping blood more efficiently throughout the body (Department of Health). Mel recommends mixing up your cardio sessions with some group classes, cardio equipment and outdoor training, to keep things fun and challenging. We’ve ranked some of our current favourite group fitness classes here.

Weight training

Weight or resistance training benefits our bodies both inside and out, by improving our strength, endurance and muscle tone.

“Sculpting and toning aside, weight training supports great posture, improved bone density, kick starts our metabolism and releases feel-good hormones for mental health,” Mel says.

Mel recommends seeing a personal trainer or FIIT30 coach if you are just starting out with weight training, to support proper form and technique. This is imperative in seeing the benefits and optimal results from weight training, as well as in supporting injury prevention.

The workout split

“For overall fitness and that amazing feeling of athleticism, you can’t beat a well-structured combination of both cardio and weights,” Mel says.

“Our body responds to both the ‘huff n puff’ of cardio and the muscular intensity of weight training to combine and catalyse the stimulus that improves strength, endurance and torches body fat."

For the busy woman, FIIT30 sessions are a great combination of the two. FIIT30 is a high intensity class that combines weights and cardio to hit all of your major muscle groups.

Combining cardio and weights

If you’re new to training, Mel suggests four sessions per week. Two being cardio based, one strength and one incorporating both cardio and weight training. These workouts can be done with a PT, on your own using equipment or a circuit, in group fitness classes or as a combination of all of them throughout the work. The Department of Health also recommends two days per week of muscle strengthening workouts.

As you build your overall fitness and conditioning, you can increase the amount of sessions and their intensity. According to The Department of Health, Australian adults aged 18-64 should aim for five hours of moderate intensity physical activity, or two and a half hours of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.

Whether you’re a cardio queen or love lifting weights, we hope this will encourage you to include a mix of both into your exercise routine. There are so many different variations to try, such as boxing, HIIT training, cycling, PT and group fitness to name a few. This best of both world’s approach will benefit your mind, body and health, and maybe even get you past that fitness plateau.

Looking for more fitness tips and advice? Check out more Fernwood blogs here.