Why Not To Throw A Resistance Training Cat and Cardiovascular Training Cat Into The Same Bag.
This bit of training advice is bound to be a slight pain-in-the-ass and may make things a little inconvenient in the short run. But I think in the long run will facilitate training progress.
It also begs for a solution, which I don’t really supply in this blog post. Posing a problem without trying to furnish a solution is unfair and unsatisfactory , if not downright annoying. So, the plan is to attempt to answer this question in a practical way with a future posting. So, a little of the ‘why’ now and the ‘how’ later.
It makes sense and feels right to a great majority of people to get their cardio and weights done in a single training session. But the chemistry and physiology of resistance and cardiovascular training are not the same animal. There are some fundamental differences in the physiological implications and outcomes of these two types of training activities.
And there are damn good reasons why you don’t want to mix them up.
Why not, why this nit picking? It doesn’t seem very manly, does it? You’ve probably done both activities in your last gym training session and felt great about it, if maybe a little worn out. Well, nit-picking here is a proper good idea because the two main enzymes responsible for physiological adaptations, mTOR and ampk, mess rather heavily with one another, they are antagonistic. So doing both weight training and extended cardiovascular endurance training in close time proximity with each other for long enough periods at an intensity high enough may result in interference of certain training adaptations and the slowing down of fitness progress.
At a low level of fitness and training intensity is this really a major factor? No, probably not much. Low intensity training (at least if you are not injured), while better than nothing, is a place where nothing much happens. But the fitter you are and the more intensely the level with which you train, the more that these mutually exclusive effects will begin to matter to you. If you don’t pay attention to this inconvenient fact, will you be wasting your time? No, of course not, but your training adaptation certainly won’t be optimal.
A short cardio warm up before your resistance training session (12-15 minutes) is a reasonable way to warm up (if you have the time). 30 minutes or longer will likely interfere with the physiological adaptations that you are after from your weight training session.
Another factor to consider is that the food you eat will also have effect on the enzymes responsible for adaptation to these two types of trainings in different ways. Taking in nutrition after a bout of intense resistance training is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do because nutrient intake increases the activity of mTOR, exerting a beneficial effect on adaptation to resistance training, once that training is completed. On the other hand, eating after an intense cardiovascular session tends to turn off the ampk enzyme. The release of ampk begins during cardiovascular and endurance training and continues to exert its influence (one thing it influences is fat burning activity) long after you stop, as long as you don’t stop to eat.
In order to help maximise gains, accelerate progress & optimise your training in either resistance training or longer duration cardio/endurance training, it is likely a wise strategy and a boon to your fitness progress to separate each of these activities by as much time (and as many meals) as possible.