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Deciding whether to begin a workout with cardio or strength training is a highly discussed topic – the answer depends on individual goals and amount of time available to work out. Follow these tips to learn the option that will work for you.
If the goal is weight-loss, it can be a good idea to perform cardio first and follow with strength training. Beginning with cardio can provide a higher total caloric expenditure due to a physiological element called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) – this is known as the "after-burn" effect from exercise.
If the goal is muscle gain, it will be beneficial to start with weight training so you have sufficient energy to put toward the strength portion of your workout. Performing weight training first can burn off stored glycogen, or blood sugar, and by the time you are finished lifting weights and begin your cardio session, your body is already slightly fatigued and in its fat-burning zone. To really maximize your energy levels for strength training, it’s ideal to separate your cardio workout days from weight training days.
Bottom line: Train in the order that you will stick to, and gradually learn what works best for your body. It’s important to always keep your goals in mind and mix up your routine to keep your workouts interesting.
Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lifefitness or join our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/lifefitness.