Should you begin your training with a weight track or a treadmill? I bet you never thought about that. In fact, deciding which one to start with can impact your overall fitness goal.
You need to think about what are you willing to get from your fitness routine. Are you looking to build strength? Or trying to lose those extra pounds? Your answer to these questions will determine how often you should do cardio or weight training. Here’s what some experts have to say about the workout sequence.
Treadmill or Weights First?
If your goal is to build strength, then you must do cardio after weight training. Lifting is not an easy exercise, and you need all your power to be able to do it properly and safely.
A NASM-certified personal trainer at Ultimate Performance, Eric Bowling, explained that your brain focuses on lifting weights correctly if you prioritize weights over cardio. ” [if you go] into a session sweaty and out of breath, [you won’t be able] to perform as well […] due to fatigue.”
Several conducted research back up Bowling’s statement. Three workouts sequences were compared: strength training only, running before strength training, and cycling before strength training. As a result, running or cycling prior to strength workout proved to limit weight lifting reps compared to the strength only workout sequence. Another study found that muscle power decreases significantly after hitting the treadmill.
If your main goal is weight loss, consider completing weight lifts prior to a cardio workout. As a matter of fact, a person tends to burn more fat when running 15 minutes on the treadmill after completing weight lifts.
What if I Start Training With Cardio?
You are absolutely free to start training with cardio. If you are trying to stay fit, then there is nothing wrong with working up a sweat. And if you are trying to improve your cardiovascular activity, then doing cardio regularly is your best option.
Prioritizing weight lifting is not the best option if you are preparing your body for a race. Lifting weights before cardio could decrease your endurance.
Combining Cardio and Weights
Are you worried about doing cardio and weights on the same day? Don’t be. Here’s what Dr. Mandeep Ghuman has to say about it: “there’s no reason you can’t do both in the same workout session or [you can] split it into two sessions on the same day.”
Traditional workout plans suggest you split your workouts. Thus, cardio the first day, and weight training the day after. But this doesn’t mean you can’t do both on the same day.
As an example, Crossfit workouts combine cardio and weight training in one session. Such type of workouts doesn’t affect you negatively but helps you get faster results.
Make sure to leave enough time in between your workouts for your body to recover and regain its power. While working out improves your strength and durability, stressing your body every day might hinder your progress.
How Often Should You Train?
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services highly recommends exercising for 75-150 minutes per week depending on your workout’s intensity.
Eric Bowling suggests weight train 3 times per week since it is effective when speaking about fat loss and muscle building. Bowling also states that you can do cardio every day at a low intensity. In this case, your weekly workout plan might include training for 2-4 times per week, low-intensity cardio for 5-6 days per week, or moderate-intensity cardio for 3-4 times per week, or high-intensity cardio for 1-3 times per week.
Now, how long the cardio workouts should last depends on your goals (as already mentioned). Thus, if your goal is centered around your overall health then there is no specific limit. However, if your goal is centered around strength then you should limit your cardio workout to 15 minutes.