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Building a Champion: Why Cardio and Strength Training are Your Fitness Dream Team

April 26, 2024 5 min read

Building a Champion: Why Cardio and Strength Training are Your Fitness Dream Team-VPA Australia

The world of fitness can be overwhelming. With countless workout styles and conflicting advice, it's easy to feel lost. But here's a secret weapon for anyone seeking optimal fitness: combining cardio and strength training.  

Think of it like this: cardio is the engine that keeps you going, while strength training builds a stronger, more efficient chassis. In this article, we go over why these different exercises complement each other beautifully, and the amazing benefits they bring when done together.

The Power of Two: Complementary Benefits 

While sculpted muscles and impressive strength are the hallmarks of a bodybuilder's physique, neglecting cardio infavour of pure weight training can be a missed opportunity. Here's why incorporating cardio into a bodybuilding or athletic routine offers a surprising range of benefits that directly translate to enhanced performance and improved aesthetics. 

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, gets your heart pumping. Activities like running, swimming, or brisk walking improve your cardiovascular health, lung capacity, and endurance. Strength training, on the other hand, focuses on building muscle mass and strength. Think lifting weights, bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges, or resistance bands. 

These seemingly different exercises complement each other beautifully. Here's how: 

  • Fat-Burning Furnace: Cardio burns calories during the workout. Strength training builds muscle, which acts like a metabolic engine, burning more calories even at rest. Consistent cardio burns calories and helps reduce overall body fat percentage. This double whammy helps with weight loss and management and gives athletes and bodybuilders a well-balanced shredded and defined look.  
  • Endurance Engine: Bodybuilding and athletic endeavours often involve sustained exertion, pushing your body to its limits for extended periods. Cardio training, like running, swimming, or HIIT workouts, strengthens your cardiovascular system by increasing lung capacity and improving blood flow. This translates to better oxygen delivery to your muscles, allowing you to train harder for longer durations with less fatigue. Imagine powering through those final sets of squats or pushing through that last lap on the track with greater stamina – that's the power of a cardio-enhanced engine.
  • Faster Recovery: Intense weight training creates microscopic tears in musclefibres, which is how muscle growth occurs during the recovery phase. Here's where cardio steps in. Regular cardio improves blood circulation, which delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to your muscles at a faster rate. This expedited delivery system speeds up muscle repair and recovery, allowing you to get back to the gym feeling stronger and ready to conquer your next workout. 

  • Heart Health Hero: Both cardio and strength training can lower your blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve cholesterol levels. They work together to keep your heart healthy and strong. 

  • Injury Prevention and Enhanced Flexibility: Bodybuilders and athletes put a lot of stress on their joints and connective tissues. Regular cardio, especially low-impact activities like swimming or cycling, improves joint health and flexibility. Increased blood flow from cardio nourishes these tissues, keeping them lubricated and reducing the risk of injuries. Additionally, exercises like yoga or Pilates, often considered cardio due to their cardiovascular benefits, can significantly improve your flexibility. This allows for a wider range of motion in your weight training exercises, leading to better form, increased strength gains, and a reduced risk of injury.
  • Improved Mental Toughness:The mental aspect of bodybuilding and athletics is often underestimated. Both disciplines require unwavering focus, discipline, and the ability to push through discomfort. Cardio training, particularly high-intensity interval training (HIIT), mirrors this mental challenge. By pushing yourself through intense bursts of activity followed by short rest periods, you develop mental resilience and the ability to dig deep and push past perceived limitations. This mental fortitude translates to the weight room and the competition stage, allowing you to stay focused and determined to achieve your goals.
  • Overall Health and Well-being:Remember, a strong body is built on a foundation of good health. Cardio training strengthens your heart, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels. It can also help manage stress and anxiety, promoting better sleep and overall well-being. A healthy body means a stronger mind, allowing you to approach your training sessions with renewed focus and energy.  

Incorporating cardio into your bodybuilding or athletic routine is not a step back, but a strategic move forward. It enhances your endurance, accelerates recovery, reveals your hard-earned muscle definition, and builds mental toughness. With a well-rounded approach that includes both strength training and cardio, you can achieve peak performance, prevent injuries, and unlock your full potential as a bodybuilder or athlete. 

Combining for Success: How to Structure Your Workouts 

Now that you're convinced of the power of this dynamic duo, let's talk about how to integrate them for optimal results. 

Here are some tips: 

  • Variety is Key: Don't get stuck in a rut! Alternate between cardio and strength training days. For example, try strength training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and cardio on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends. This allows for proper muscle recovery.
  • Find Your Balance: For beginners, start with 2-3 days of strength training per week, focusing on major muscle groups. Add 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio most days. As you progress, gradually increase the intensity and duration of both types of exercise.
  • Listen to Your Body:Don't push yourself too hard. Take rest days when needed and focus on proper form during exercises to avoid injury.
  • Make it Fun! The key to sticking with any exercise program is to enjoy it. Find activities you find fun – try dancing, cycling, or group fitness classes for cardio, and explore different strength training routines.


Consistency is key. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio a week, combined with strength training exercises that target all major muscle groups at least twice a week. 

Fueling Your Fitness Journey 

Don't forget the importance of proper nutrition to support your exercise efforts. While a well-balanced diet is the foundation of fueling your fitness journey, certain supplements can offer additional support. Consider incorporating supplements to elevate your results!

  • Whey Isolate- provides high-quality muscle-building blocks for post-workout recovery and strength gains. Protein powders are especially handy when you cannot meet your protein requirements through food. Whey protein is a popular choice, but plant-based options are readily available. 

  • Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) -can further enhance muscle growth and reduce fatigue during exercise. 

  • Electrolyte Blend-replenishes essential minerals lost through sweat, ensuring optimal hydration and performance, especially during intense cardio sessions. 

  • Creatine -can give your strength training an extra boost by increasing energy availability in your muscles, allowing you to push harder and achieve better results. With VPA Australia's range of supplements alongside your dedication to cardio and strength training, you'll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals! 


Creatine Monohydrate

Remember, consult your doctor or dietician before starting any new supplements, and let food be your primary source of valuable nutrients.

Embrace the Journey 

Combining cardio and strength training is a recipe for a healthy, toned, and energised you. Embrace the journey, celebrate your progress, and enjoy the amazing benefits of this powerful fitness duo!

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