Balancing Strength and Cardio to Maximize Your Fitness

Strength training builds muscles and cardio burns fat - how do you do both? Here's a quick guide to getting the best of both worlds.
Stewart Katzen
November 17, 2021

It's a dilemma as old as time: how do I build muscle and burn fat all at the same time? We know that lifting weights and strength training will build up your muscles and give you a toned look, and we know that cardio work burns excess fat so you can see those toned muscles. So, what's the best way to burn fat AND build muscle? Here's a guide to get you on the perfect track for your goals.


Most people think of a muscular look as being synonymous with fitness. Whether you're looking for bigger biceps or toned abs and legs, it's well-known that lifting weights is the way to get to your goal. When you add strength work into your fitness regimen, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider that strength training breaks your muscles down, and they grow back bigger and stronger. So, muscles are built by recovering from a workout, not the workout itself. This means that working out the same muscle group for many days in a row may be counter-productive if you don't give the muscles at least 24-48 hours between workouts to recover and rebuild. At IBX, we rotate which muscle groups we focus on each day for our strength work. If we do a big lower body workout on one day, you can expect more core or upper body work the next day. This means that you can still get a quality workout in every day while still giving your muscles time to recover and grow.


Almost everyone has at least a little fat they would like to burn off. When you think of burning fat, cardio work is the first thing that comes to mind. By elevating your heart rate and working up a sweat with a quality cardio workout, you start to burn more calories than you would if you were just lifting weights. When you burn more calories than you consume, your body uses excess fat for fuel. This means that over time, consistently burning more calories than you take in will lead to a reduction in your body fat. Just like with strength training, it's important to work in some time to recover after cardio. Many cardio activities like running and jumping put stress on your bones and joints, as well as your muscles. At IBX, we take this into account and make sure to change up the cardio portion of each workout each day to make sure yesterday's joints and muscles have time to recover even while you enjoy today's workout.


If strength training builds up the size and shape of your muscles and cardio helps you get rid of unwanted extra weight, how should you combine the two to maximize your results? At IBX, we believe the best approach is to work on both at once. With an IBX workout, we start with a proper warmup and Iron Flow to get your body awake and moving. Next, our strength work helps you break down and build up your muscles to achieve optimal tone and power. Finally, we finish off with a cardio burn get your metabolism revved up and help you burn off extra calories. By addressing strength and cardio every workout and rotating which muscle groups we focus on from one day to the next, we make sure you get the best of all worlds and stay on track to achieving your optimal fitness every day. Click here to learn more about how we do what we do, and get a free month when you sign up for a month!

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