Cardio or Strength?

It’s the age old question, is it better to have cardiovascular endurance or strength?  Short answer is “yes”.

Both are equally important to consider someone to be “fit”.

First, we need to understand the difference between the two and then understand the importance of each as it relates to health.

In order to do that properly, I will be referring to them as aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (strength) for this article.

Let’s begin by defining each:

The word aerobic means using oxygen to perform an activity.  These are low-intensity, “steady-state” exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, biking, or rowing.

Where as anaerobic refers to exercises requiring less oxygen such as high intensity interval training, sprinting, and strength training.

Which one?

So now that we understand the difference between the two and the types of exercises/activities related to both, doesn’t it make sense to do both?

Think about it.  If your goal is to be in as good as shape as possible, why wouldn’t you train for cardio endurance and strength?

So what’s realistic?

Most of us aren’t training for a professional sport or the olympics.

So that means that we don’t have hours per day or maybe not even one hour per day to workout to reach our fitness goals.

However, let’s say we do have at least 30 minutes per day to workout…

What if 3 days per week were dedicated to aerobic capacity and 3 days were dedicated to anaerobic training?

It could look something like this…

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Run/Bike/Row/Swim

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday – Strength training

Or a more efficient strategy would be…

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and maybe Saturday – each workout is no more than 30 minutes and involves both aerobic and anaerobic exercises

Here are some examples:

  1. Weighted carries
  2. Sled drags and/or sled pulls
  3. Running or rowing mixed in with pull-ups
  4. Running or rowing mixed in with pushups
  5. Burpees and kettlebell swings
  6. Shuttle sprints and a long bike ride


So to wrap-up:

Aerobic fitness = Good

Anaerobic fitness = Good

Aerobic + Anaerobic = BEST