CARDIO OR WEIGHTS FIRST?

Many newcomers to the fitness lifestyle pose questions about equipment, accessories and workouts. Often answers are basic and easily comprehensible since fitness is not a complex subject. Nevertheless, there are loads of ways or methods as well as regimes embellished with impressionable titles or named after their innovators. Fact is working out is good for you so now comes the question of what to do.

One of the more quotable questions is: “To start out my work out, do I do cardio or weights first?” Essentially there is no steadfast rule or magical formula so the answer principally depends on what your goals or objectives are. Thus, perhaps it’s good to also rekindle ourselves with the difference between these two popular forms of exercise.     

Cardiovascular exercises are gradually built-up repetitive movements done over a span of time. Swimming, walking, cycling and jogging are outdoor cardio exercise while typical indoor cardio exercise equipment are treadmills, stationary bikes and crosstrainers. Cardio exercise target improving your stamina and endurance. Benefits include improvement to your circulation, lung and heart function as well as your other vital organs. Perspiration detoxifies your body while you will also work and strengthen your muscles and joints. Impact is low and it’s a good exercise if you are targeting weight-loss as well. 

Weight training is more impacting and targets muscles, bone and body mass. These too are repetitive movements but utilizing weights to provide resistance. Hence, it’s also called power training.  Besides strengthening and toning your muscles, your bones get denser and your metabolism more balanced. Among other known benefits are that your tendons and ligaments are strengthened as your flexibility and postural support augmented. Basically, weight training also helps to stabilize your weight. Weights typically come via barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, weight stacks and multi-gym units.

Which exercise you should do first depends largely on your target and objectives. However whether you opt for cardio or weights first, warming up, is not only recommended, it’s necessary. This normally ranges from 5 minutes to as much as 20. Moreover, proper warming up increases blood flow and flexibility and observed particularly to prevent injury.

Should you opt for cardio first before commencing with weights, do remember that after doing cardio exercise you would have dispensed with energy and strength which are crucial elements when it comes to weight training. Fatigue can compromise your techniques and workout quality too. Logically, doing cardio exercise first will deplete your glycogen level. Therefore if your goal is to target increased muscle size and strength, you should do weights first while your glycogen level is high.

When doing weights, applying good form to your movements and on the appropriate muscle groups is essential or you risk injury and face failures to meet your desired goals. Proper breathing techniques are equally important. When you breathe shallowly or hold your breath while working out, you will limit the intake of oxygen at a time when your body needs it most. Furthermore stretching is essential and it’s advisable to stretch the whole body instead of just targeted areas.

Additionally, you may opt for alternation. You may start off with each exercise first on alternate days since vital energy is required whether you do cardio or weights. This will help you strike a balance and towards obtaining optimal results. Conversely as you proceed and get more into fitness, you would find routines that best suit your preferences.

Consult your physician pri/or to embarking on any regular exercise activity.