So you love the endorphins from cardio but want to build your muscle strength and hone in on functional movement, too. Why not do both? You can absolutely do cardio and strength training in one workout. But how should you structure your workout? We chatted with Bree Branker, FitOn trainer to get the scoop. In her opinion, starting with strength is the way to go.

“The biggest scientific benefit to finishing with cardio is an added metabolic burst,” she explained. “This can contribute to faster and greater weight loss.”

But beyond weight loss, you might feel an added rush that keeps you coming back to the gym, again and again. “I love to end sessions with cardio to really achieve that high heart rate, sweat all over type of accomplishment that screams, ‘I did it!'”

Branker shared that “there’s no standard rule regarding the proper length of time that is necessary for both cardio and strength in each workout,” meaning, there’s no exact formula, like 50/50 strength cardio, or 15 minutes strength and then 15 minutes cardio. It totally depends, according to Branker, on your goals, injuries, and personal workout plan. But work with a professional to get started!

“You and your trainer will make sure you spend adequate time focusing on both separately as well as simultaneously!” she said. And of course, you can always follow a workout plan that incorporates both cardio and strength, but again, make sure it was put together by a certified professional.

But let’s say you’re going to a straight up cardio class, like cycling. Do you need to do a little strength training first? Branker recommends it. “If you’re going to a cardio class that does not incorporate an isolated warmup (think SoulCycle, Peloton, etc.) then you should absolutely spend a minute preparing your body,” said Bree. “If you had all the time, space, and props in the world, I would recommend dynamic stretching and muscle activation.”

What does that mean? “My favorite dynamic stretches are inchworms, sun salutations, and runner’s lunges with thoracic spine rotations,” she said. “My go-to activations are banded side steps and glute bridges, as well as hip and shoulder [Controlled Articular Rotations] CARS. You’ll definitely see a difference in your class by waking your body up this way first.”

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(Photo via FitOn)