Article by AMY EISINGER
I like this article because it addresses a question you may often ask yourself when you go to the gym. Should I begin with cardio or strength training? The answer really depends on your goals. For weight loss and to gain strength it is suggested to hit the weight room first. But, practically speaking if you may avoid strength training and prefer cardio then make sure you get in your least favorite first. This insures it gets completed. Also, participating in a workout that is a combination of both is another solution.
You hit the gym, and the clock is already ticking: You’ve got 45 minutes to work all of your major muscle groups—oh, and squeeze in some cardio too. But which one should come first? Sadly, there's not a cut-and-dry answer: Your priority in the gym depends on your personal goals, experts say. Someone aiming to lose weight, for instance, should take a different approach than someone training for a marathon. (The good news: No matter how you structure your workout, simply going to the gym is better than nothing!) To figure out whether you should hit the weights or the treadmill first, read the following list of common workout goals and accompanying recommendations.
To Maintain General Fitness
When it comes to just staying fit, it might not make a difference which comes first. In one study, two groups of men performed either strength training or cardio first for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, all of the men increased physical performance and muscular strength to about the same extent. However, in the short term, those that did cardio first had a harder time recovering. In the two days following a workout, the cardio-first group showed reduced concentrations of serum testosterone, which may be detrimental if you’re looking to gain muscle strength.
But in general, “Do whatever you want—whatever you’re going to adhere to, whatever will fit into your schedule,” says Tony Musto, Ph.D., a fitness and exercise physiologist at the University of Miami. As Musto says, our ancestors' “workouts” obviously weren’t as regimented as ours are today. “They did a mix: You’d run and climb and then walk and then pick up something,” he says.
To Simply Move More
Similarly, if you're new to working out or just trying to be more active, do what you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to shake up the order. In Which Comes First: Cardio or Weights?, physicist Alex Hutchinson suggests mixing up the order of your workout or the type of workout you're doing on different days. He writes that muscle and endurance gains are controlled in part by the same "master switch" (a.k.a. AMP kinase). The "switch" gets set at the beginning of your workout—with whatever you do first—and can't instantly change. Since you're either setting up your body to improve endurance or to increase strength in a single session, it's a good idea to switch things up.
Not sure where to start? Some of today's popular commercial routines, like P90X or Insanity, combine strength and cardio into one workout so you don't have to choose, Musto says. (You can also find similar classes a local gym.) Combining your strength and cardio training has other positive metabolic benefits too, so if you're short on time, these programs are worth looking into.
To Lose Weight
"Most times you will want to do strength training first,” Tamir says. Musto agrees it’s probably smarter to do your weight training first and cardio second because you may oxidize a little more fat during the cardio portion of your workout. However, he stressed this only applied to lower intensity, steady-state cardio workouts and also noted it may not make a significant difference in the long run (remember the study we mentioned above?).
And good news for HIIT fans: The popular workout style has several benefits that may aid in weight loss. Only thing is you can't do it daily. Barnet suggests you keep your HIIT workouts to three times per week max on non-consectuive days (for instance, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays); and opt for cross-training—like a yoga or spin class—if you want to add more workout days.
To Do More of What You LoveSorry to break the news, but if you love running and can’t stand lifting weights, it’s probably best to do strength training first and save cardio as your "reward" at the end of the workout.
“A big thing people should consider is energy and interest level,” Barnet says. She suggests focusing first on what you might likely avoid if you were running short on time or what you'd skip if you were fatigued from something you enjoy doing. Love spinning? Get your strength training out of the way first, then head to the bikes knowing that "the hard part" is over.
If you’re going for general fitness and wellness, it probably doesn’t matter which you do first. Varying the order of your workout can be a great way to break up boredom, and there aren't many negative consequences to mixing things up. But if you're hoping to lose weight, gain strength, or just need to set a priority, focus on weight training first and cardio second.
A strong core will make you more successful at all the total body exercises you do.
Is your job causing you stress? According to the 2016 study, in this article, exercise can help mitigate the cardio metabolic risk factors caused by stress. If you are concerned about the effects of stress on your cardiovascular system try getting out and burning off some steam.
by Ryan Halvorson on Jan 17, 2017
Forty percent of workers find their jobs very stressful, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Twenty-six percent report that they are “often burned out or stressed by their work,” and 29% feel “quite a bit or extremely stressed at work.” Changing careers may not be a possibility; however, a 2016 study suggests fitness can help workers protect themselves against the potentially harmful effects of work-related stress.
Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2016; 48 , 2075–81), the study aimed to link cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and self-perceived stress to cardiometabolic risk factors and risk for developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Another purpose was to determine the impact of CRF on stress and CVD risk factors.
The study’s researchers analyzed blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, glycated hemoglobin and cardiometabolic risk scores in 197 men and women around 39 years of age. Each study participant underwent CRF tests and provided information on perceived stress levels.
Overall, individuals with higher CRF levels tended to have lower blood pressure, BMI, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and cardiometabolic risk scores than the less active participants. These scores remained true among people reporting high work-related stress levels. The researchers believe this information can be helpful for all workers and especially those with stressful jobs.
“Better CRF is associated with more favorable levels of several cardiometabolic risk factors, specifically in participants experiencing high stress,” the authors stated. “Higher CRF may provide some protection against the health hazards of high chronic stress by attenuating the stress-related increase in cardiovascular risk factors.”