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LIFT and Run? OR, Run and Lift?

January 12, 2018

LIFT and Run? OR, Run and Lift?

One of the most frequently asked questions fitness professionals get is, "If I am going to do my cardio and strength training on the same day, which comes first?"

If you ask 100 people this question, chances are that you'll get an even split of answers. And, you'll get about 100 different reasons why you should or shouldn't do cardio first.

The majority of fitness experts will advise you to do the cardio after the weight training, because if you do cardio first, it uses up much of the energy source for your anaerobic work (strength training) and fatigues the muscles before their most strenuous activity. This same view holds that strength training first will deplete the muscles' stored carbohydrates (glycogen or sugar), and therefore, will enhance fat burning during the cardio workout due to the lack of available sugar for fuel.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that it doesn't really make a difference if you do cardio before or after training. 

Even though the study was rather clear about the findings, opinions still vary. But what it should really come down to are your fitness goals.

For instance, if your primary goal is to increase your aerobic endurance or lose body fat, then you should perform cardio first. If your primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then do strength training first. To get the most out of your workout, perform the exercise that is most important to your goals first, when you are not fatigued.

What about morning cardio, you may ask? Research published by the British Journal of Nutrition found that people can burn up to 20 percent more body fat by running in the morning on an empty stomach. So, perhaps, break up your training efforts to do cardio in the morning on an empty stomach and then weights later on in the day with a pre-workout protein-based snack.

What Does This Mean For You?

You've got options. The bottom line is this, it is better for you to have consistency in your exercise than to worry about the two extra calories you might burn from doing weights or cardio first. Analyze your goals and plan your workouts to reach those goals. 



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