Sunday, February 22, 2009

Workout Order

Is it better to lift weights before you get your cardio in or after?
This is a question that I've been asked several times, so hopefully I can bring some light to the subject for you. Like many other aspects of exercise there are a lot of factors that go into determining which order of working out will work best for you.

The body get's its energy to exercise from glycogen. Glycogen comes from the food we eat, mostly carbohydrates. When we exercise we deplete the glycogen stores in our body. There is a "chain of command," so to speak of how our energy stores are used. Your body will use your glycogen stores first, and then it will begin to burn stored fat once the glycogen is gone. How you workout can determine which energy sources you're using.

First, you must determine what your goals are.

If you are seeking to increase muscle size it is better for you to warm up and then lift weights first while your muscle glycogen stores are fresh. This way you'll be able to have maximum energy for your weight lifting routine.

If your goals are geared more towards decreasing body fat and weight loss it is better to do your cardio first and lift afterwords. There are a few reasons for this. Most people are more likely to get a better cardio workout in (burning more calories) if they do it first, while their energy is fresh. Your heart rate will be elevated from doing your cardio, and if you can keep it up while lifting, you'll continue to burn more calories. The key factor to remember when you're looking to lose weight is the necesity of total calories burned. You want that number high!
*It is more likely that you'll be able to get in both your cardio workout and your weights workout if you do cardio first. Lifting tends to fatigue the body more than cardio does, making the cardio workout more difficult if your weight routine is done first. Remember that calories burned are calories burned regardless of what order you're exercising.

A great way to avoid the problem of fatigue, and to use your energy stores efficiently is to do circut training. This is a combination of lifting weights and cardio. It burns a TON of calories and gets your resistance training in at the same time. It's a great way to mix up the normal routines we all get stuck in!

If you're looking to try circut training on for size try out my
Super Bowl Inspired Cardio Circuit
or my Jump Rope Circuit
I promise you'll be sweatin'!


Cristin said...

I HAVE been wondering about this! You are so knowledgeable Megan!

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