You Shouldn’t Lift Weights And Do Cardio On The Same Day, Says Science

Why you might not want to double up.

lift weights
Image: @reebokwomen

When you’re trying to get fit or are training for a specific event, it’s easy to feel like you get bonus points by doubling up with weights and cardio. But if you’re doing both on the same day, you could actually be doing yourself a disservice.

New research from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia shows that concurrent exercise (combining weights and cardio) does bring the best overall results — but only if you rest for at least 24 hours in between. According to the study published in Sports Medicine, the fatigue from weights training can carry over for several days, which can impact your endurance.

The researchers studied people partaking in concurrent exercise on both same and separate days. They found that the physiological stress caused by a typical strength training session of 40 to 60 minutes can continue for several days post-exercise. When followed up with a running session, the participants’ performance and endurance was significantly reduced.

Not only does this mean you probably won’t be able to run as far as you normally would, your risk of injury increases. Study author Dr Kenji Doma points out that this doesn’t mean both weights and cardio can’t both be part of your workout regime. There simply needs to be more awareness within the fitness community about the importance of rest between the two.

We want to increase the awareness of resistance training-induced fatigue in the hope of encouraging coaches to think about aspects such as the order of the training, the recovery period, training intensity, etc. We’re trying to limit the carry-over effects of fatigue from resistance to endurance training sessions. There are great benefits to it, but there can be some hidden dangers too. What we want to see is fatigue from resistance sessions minimised so there can be even more benefits gained.

-Dr. Kenji Doma via James Cook University

That’s not the only way going overboard on cardio could be sabotaging your fitness goals. Find out how it could be making you gain weight here.

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Emma Norris
A true believer in balance, Emma is just as passionate about pizza as she is about pull-ups. When she’s not writing, she loves strength training, visiting new cafes and trying out new fitness classes. Having lived in Ireland and Canada, Emma was bitten by the travel bug at a young age. She loves nothing more than visiting new destinations and experiencing different cultures. Emma grew up (and currently lives) near the beautiful Coogee Beach and is happiest when she’s near a body of water. She started her career in magazines and has recently made the exciting transition to the digital world.