Getting effective cardiovascular endurance is a feat, there’s no doubt about that. Adding strength training to a cardio workout at first may seem like more work than it’s worth, but I promise it pays off. Combining cardio and strength training will help prevent injury, increase in fat loss, and add a firm foundation to your body.
Getting into strength training is a daunting task because when you walk into a gym you will see free weights, cables, machines, squat racks, box jumps, and other things that need to be learned with practice. My advice is to start simple, but not easy. If you want to build muscle coming from the cardio world there is really no wrong way to begin as long as you have an open mind and are willing to start fresh. You may be the best runner in the world but walk into that gym, pass the treadmills and be humble. I recommend starting at the free weights, and if you’re with a friend feel free to hit the bench.
You can work out your legs, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and core. Split the exercises up into groups such as chest and triceps one day and then biceps and back the next day. Splitting it up between days helps give your muscles some much needed rest. Building strength requires you to constantly challenge your body. Try lifting heavy weights close to your max for a couple weeks with only five reps, and then the next couple weeks focus on a lighter weight but with more reps. This will help your muscles grow and build onto that firm foundation.
Keep doing cardio for three days a week and focus on strength training the other three days. There is a lot of freedom in how you can gain strength. Depending on your body type what you eat will be just as important as how you workout. If you’re training to gain muscle you need a lot of protein. Check out https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/calpro.htm to see how much you should be taking in, because life is always more fun with a calculator.
Do not get overwhelmed, you are coming from a world of running, cycling, and swimming, which are amazing exercises, but adding strength training will help you be healthier, avoid injury, and push yourself harder than ever before.