One of the biggest questions of fitness enthusiasts is whether cardio exercises should be performed before weight training or after it. You will get different answers to this question, depending on the goal an individual wants to achieve. What your goal is, such as weight loss, fat loss, toned abs etc., they will decide the timing of your cardiovascular exercises. According to Basu Shanker, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s head strength and conditioning coach, “Interval training after weight training for more fat loss is a no-no”.
“Weight training followed by interval training or even cardio for that matter, puts you in a state of catabolism! This makes it impossible for you to lose fat. Focus on maintaining a structured routine and a focused diet, and the results will show for themselves!” said Shanker.
Let’s understand more.
Notably, strength training exercises work by giving a boost to the body’s metabolism and increasing muscle growth, thus improving the body’s capability to burn more fat in the long term. Cardio exercises work by strengthening the lungs and heart by increasing the blood flow. They build up endurance by training muscles to better use oxygen.
According to fitness expert Garima Goyal, if an individual is working out just for fitness and proper health, he should plan his workout schedule in such a way that it is a combination of both weight-bearing exercises and cardio exercises so that the muscles don’t get overworked.
“To perform strength training exercises with efficiency, it is said to perform cardio after weight training as your body will get more tired up if you do cardio beforehand. If your primary goal is to build the body’s strength and build more muscle, then lift weights first,” Goyal said.
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*Strength training prior to cardio will also be helpful for fat loss. “Doing weights first will enable your body to enter the aerobic mode. This way, by the time you come to running, your body will already be in a fat-burning state. As a result, you can maintain that aerobic state much longer when running and consuming fat as a source of energy. This is because muscle cells store glycogen in them which tends to fuel muscular contractions,” Goyal mentioned.
During higher-intensity exercises like lifting weights, our body uses glycogen as fuel and then subsequently creates certain by-products that can eventually be used as fuel for other lower-intensity activities, such as performing cardio in a steady-state.
However, lifting weights before doing cardio has a downside too. “You will notice a reduction in speed, power, and stamina while performing these aerobic cardio exercises. Having said that, it will also diminish the risk of injury involved,” Goyal mentioned.