What should you do first, cardiovascular exercise or weight lifting? Or does the exercise order even matter? The answer really depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
Exercise order may matter if you are trying to achieve a specific goal, such as building strength or improving sports skills, or if you have an extremely high level of fitness already. But for the recreational athlete, it may simply come down to which order you prefer.
There isn't any special magic in exercise order, but some reasons it may matter have to do with the available energy for exercise, the causes of muscle fatigue, and the risk of injury during exercise. In general, the exercise you perform when you have adequate energy is performed at a higher intensity with more focus and efficiency. Exercise you perform when your energy supplies are low is less effective and more likely to result in injury.
Most recreational athletes can avoid this question altogether by doing cardio and weight training on different days. Another option is to do both endurance and strength training at the same time with interval training or circuit training routines that give a full-body workout in limited time.
Even though there is no magic in exercise order, some things seem to work better than others. If you have specific goals, use the following advice regarding exercise order.
If Your Goal Is Improving Overall HealthTo improve overall health, it really doesn't matter if you lift weights first or do endurance training first. In fact, you can do both at the same time with interval training or circuit training routines or you can alternate weightlifting and endurance days if you prefer.
If Your Goal Is Increasing Cardiovascular Endurance
In order to build and maintain cardiovascular endurance, you should perform endurance exercise first, when you have plenty of energy for long-distance exercise. Add resistance exercises two to three times a week, either after or separate from the endurance work in order to develop muscular strength and reduce your risk of injury. Lifting prior to running is not recommended because you might increase your risk of injury during running due to muscle fatigue.
Refueling and staying hydrated is important when switching from cardio to resistance exercises in the same session. Cardio exercise will have depleted the fuel in your muscles (glycogen). A suggestion is to have half a bottle of sports drink to provide the muscle glycogen you will need to perform well in a weights workout.
If Your Goal Is Increasing Muscle Size and Strength
Two 2018 reviews of studies found that if your goal is to develop lower-body dynamic strength, doing your strength training before cardio is more effective. These studies found no difference in either sequence for static lower-body strength, increasing muscle size, reducing body fat, or building aerobic capacity.
There has long been a belief, with some support from research, that endurance exercise has an interference effect for increasing muscle size (muscular hypertrophy). The recommendation you will often see is to lift weights first when the body's main source of energy for muscle contraction (glycogen) is high. If you do a hard cardio workout before lifting, you deplete glycogen, which might make the workout ineffective. However, some current research reviews suggest the interference effect may be minor or absent. If that is the case, the sequence does not matter.
If Your Goal Is Burning Calories for Fat Loss
If your primary goal is to burn as many calories as you can in a single session, it's probably best to do cardio first and lift weights next. There isn't any magic behind this; it's simply easier for most people to burn more calories per exercise session when they do cardio first. However, almost any combination of burning more calories while eating fewer will result in fat loss.
Some people achieve significant weight loss exclusively through dietary changes; others do it simply through weight training. Weightlifting definitely burns calories; in fact, it often burns more calories per minute than performing endurance exercise. The problem is that most people fatigue quickly when lifting weights, and therefore cannot perform the exercise as long as they can walk, bike or use an elliptical machine. The end result is that the total calories burned per exercise session tend to be higher for those who do endurance exercise first, simply because the can exercise longer.
Ultimately, the best way to lose body fat is to combine endurance exercise and resistance exercise and, of course, to make dietary changes.
If Your Goal Is to Improve Specific Sports Skills
If you are training for a specific sport, you'll need to design your training to accommodate the needs of that sport. Whether you do resistance or endurance training first depends on the requirements of the sport, your current level of fitness and your overall goals.
Elite athletes perform a specific exercise order that encompasses days, weeks and months. Sport-specific training follows the competitive season and is carefully designed so that athletes will "peak" at the height of the season. Their training builds from a general foundation of overall fitness and becomes focused on specific skills, movements, and even psychological components in order to provide an edge over the competition. These programs look like a pyramid and cover the entire spectrum of fitness (strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, psychology, etc...) over the course of a season.
If Your Goal Is to Exercise Consistently
In order to stick with exercise, it needs to fit into your daily routine and lifestyle. It also has to feel good to you. For this reason, it is helpful to pick the type of exercise, the order of exercise and the time of exercise according to what works best for your body. You may be naturally inclined to feel best if you do endurance exercise first and then do weights. You may also find that your body responds best when you lift weights at one time of the day and go for a run at another. It's OK to let your body, mood or interest determine when you exercise.
What happens to your engine at the end of a long car trip? It doesn’t require a degree in automotive engineering to know that once you’ve reached your destination, your car’s engine stays warm as it gradually cools to a resting temperature.
Here's a cool fact: The same thing happens to your body after exercise. Similar to how a car’s engine remains warm after being turned off, once a workout is over and you’re back in your daily routine, your body’s metabolism can continue to burn more calories then when at complete rest. This physiological effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Also known as oxygen debt, EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function. It also explains how your body can continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout.
Your metabolism is how your body converts the nutrients you consume in your diet to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel your body uses for muscular activity. ATP is produced either with oxygen using the aerobic pathways or without oxygen relying on the anaerobic pathways. When you first start to exercise, your body uses the anaerobic energy pathways and stored ATP to fuel that activity. A proper warm-up is important because it can take about five to eight minutes to be able to efficiently use aerobic metabolism to produce the ATP necessary to sustain physical activity. Once a steady-state of oxygen consumption is achieved, the aerobic energy pathways are able to provide most of the ATP needed for the workout. Exercise that places a greater demand on the anaerobic energy pathways during the workout can increase the need for oxygen after the workout, thereby enhancing the EPOC effect.
Here are seven things you should know about EPOC and how it can help you achieve optimal levels of calorie burning from your workouts:
1. During the immediate post-exercise recovery period, oxygen is used for the following functions:
2. Exercise that consumes more oxygen burns more calories.
The body expends approximately 5 calories of energy (a calorie is the amount of energy required to heat 1 liter of water 1 degree centigrade) to consume 1 liter of oxygen. Therefore, increasing the amount of oxygen consumed both during and after a workout, can increase the amount of net calories burned.
3. Circuit training and heavy resistance training with short rest intervals require ATP from the anaerobic pathways, leading to a significant EPOC effect.
Strength training with compound, multijoint weightlifting exercises or doing a weightlifting circuit that alternates between upper- and lower-body movements places a greater demand on the involved muscles for ATP from the anaerobic pathways. Increased need for anaerobic ATP also creates a greater demand on the aerobic system to replenish that ATP during the rest intervals and the post-exercise recovery process. Heavy training loads or shorter recovery intervals increase the demand on the anaerobic energy pathways during exercise, which yields a greater EPOC effect during the post-exercise recovery period.
4. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most effective way to stimulate the EPOC effect.
The body is most efficient at producing ATP through aerobic metabolism; however, at higher intensities when energy is needed immediately, the anaerobic pathways can provide the necessary ATP much more quickly. This is why we can only sustain high-intensity activity for a brief period of time—we simply run out of energy. HIIT works because during high-intensity exercise ATP is produced by the anaerobic pathways; once that ATP exhausted, it is necessary to allow ATP to be replenished. The rest interval or active-recovery period during an anaerobic workout allows aerobic metabolism to produce and replace ATP in the involved muscles. The oxygen deficit is the difference between the volume of O2 consumed during exercise and the amount that would be consumed if energy demands were met through only the aerobic energy pathway.
5. EPOC is influenced by the intensity, not the duration of exercise.
Higher intensities require ATP from anaerobic pathways. If the ATP required to exercise at a particular intensity was not obtained aerobically, it must come from the anaerobic pathways. During EPOC, the body uses oxygen to restore muscle glycogen and rebuild muscle proteins damaged during exercise. Even after a HIIT workout is over, the body will continue to use the aerobic energy pathway to replace the ATP consumed during the workout, thus enhancing the EPOC effect.
6. Research has shown that resistance training can provide a greater EPOC effect than running at a steady speed.
In an extensive review of the research literature on EPOC, Bersheim and Bahr (2003) concluded that “studies in which similar estimated energy cost or similar exercising VO2 have been used to equate continuous aerobic exercise and intermittent resistance exercise, have indicated that resistance exercise produces a greater EPOC response.” For example, one study found that when aerobic cycling (40 minutes at 80 percent Max HR), circuit weight training (4 sets/8 exercises/15 reps at 50 percent 1-RM) and heavy resistance exercise (3 sets/8 exercises at 80-90 percent 1-RM to exhaustion) were compared, heavy resistance exercise produced the biggest EPOC.
7. The EPOC effect from a HIIT or high-intensity strength-training workout can add 6 to 15 percent of the total energy cost of the exercise session.
High-intensity workouts require more energy from the anaerobic pathways and can generate a greater EPOC effect, leading to extended post-exercise energy expenditure. Heavy weight training and HIIT workouts appear to be superior to steady-state running or lower-intensity circuit training in creating EPOC (LaForgia, Withers and Gore, 2006).
Admittedly there is some debate about the significance of the EPOC effect for the average exercise participant because the high-intensity exercise required for EPOC can be extremely challenging. However, if you want results and are up for the challenge, increasing the intensity of your workouts by using heavier weights, shorter rest intervals or high-intensity cardio intervals may be worth the effort. While HIIT or heavy resistance training is effective and beneficial, remember to allow at least 48 hours of recovery time between high-intensity exercise sessions and try to limit yourself to no more than three strenuous workouts per week.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of vital processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response. It also has a very important role in helping the body respond to stress.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone, one of the glucocorticoids, made in the cortex of the adrenal glands and then released into the blood, which transports it all round the body. Almost every cell contains receptors for cortisol and so cortisol can have lots of different actions depending on which sort of cells it is acting upon. These effects include controlling the body’s blood sugar levels and thus regulating metabolism, acting as an anti-inflammatory, influencing memory formation, controlling salt and water balance, influencing blood pressure and helping development of the foetus.
How is cortisol controlled?
Blood levels of cortisol vary throughout the day, but generally are higher in the morning when we wake up, and then fall throughout the day. This is called a diurnal rhythm. In people that work at night, this pattern is reversed, so the timing of cortisol release is clearly linked to daily activity patterns. In response to stress, extra cortisol is released to help the body to respond appropriately.
The secretion of cortisol is mainly controlled by three inter-communicating regions of the body; the hypothalamus in the brain, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland. When cortisol levels in the blood are low, a group of cells in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone, which causes the pituitary gland to secrete another hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, into the bloodstream. High levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone are detected in the adrenal glands and stimulate the secretion of cortisol, causing blood levels of cortisol to rise. As the cortisol levels rise, they start to block the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus and adrenocorticotropic hormone from the pituitary. As a result, the adrenocorticotropic hormone levels start to drop, which then leads to a drop in cortisol levels. This is called a negative feedback loop.
What happens if I have too much cortisol?
Too much cortisol over a prolonged period of time can lead to a condition called Cushing's syndrome. This can be caused by a wide range of factors, such as a tumour that produces adrenocorticotropic hormone (and therefore increases cortisol secretion), or taking certain types of drugs. The symptoms include:
In addition, there has been a long-standing association between raised or impaired regulation of cortisol levels and a number of psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression. However, the significance of this is not yet clearly understood.
What happens if I have too little cortisol?
Too little cortisol may be due to a problem in the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland (Addison's disease). The onset of symptoms is often very gradual. Symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, muscle weakness, mood changes and the darkening of regions of the skin. Without treatment, this is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Urgent assessment by a specialist hormone doctor called an endocrinologist is required when a diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome or Addison's disease is suspected.
One of the most common requests we get asked each week is for options for low carb meals.
Part of our answer is that the only meal which is important to be 'strictly' low carb is evening meals and snacks... If you haven't got dinner organised for tonight yet, here's a fantastic chicken option. Enjoy!
Mediterranean chicken with cauliflower rice
Coming up at the start of June is the True Grit obstacle challenge. This event has multiple distance options however we’re putting together a team to run in the 5km.
Each week on Wednesday night at 6:45, all members are welcome to join us in an epic training opportunity to have you ready for the True Grit Challenge.
The picture above is Gwenael who was the only ‘lucky’ member to do the first of the training sessions and check out what he completed... future training routines will be devised by Steve Loulou. With his serious experience in obstacle course racing and personal training experience we can’t wait to see each weeks training plans unfold.
Register via the 6X app for the free training sessions.
Register for the True Grit event
Lets hear it for Alana.
Earlier this month Alana finished the 8 week challenge to lose an amazing 10.6kg. Alana joined the challenge with her two sisters, mum and boyfriend.
At the end of this month Alana has just managed to top the ladder on the 6XPulse heart rate system racking up 3857 points in 33 classes during April.
With a gung-ho attitude and relentless smile when in the studio, we love your enthusiasm and intensity Alana, keep up the massive efforts.
Having the most points for the month, Alana has earned herself a Free PT session - Congratulations again!
Why do people train? Initially, it's about achieving a goal that is personal to an individual.
Why do people continue training? They see results and enjoy what they are doing.
We believe it is all about mixing business with pleasure. Although results is what we focus on. We still have fun a long the way. As we all know; It's the journey that tells the story.
So why not have the experience of a life time when training rather than making it seem like a chore. So rather than carrying on with what you're doing when you achieve a little milestone, go out and celebrate it. Go out with some mates, go do an adventure race, go to a sorts game, have a cheeky pizza or whatever it may be. Reward yourself and don't think twice.
What will happen from doing this? It makes it easy to be consistent, creates a fun lifestyle, increased positivity and most importantly; memories that can be shared over a life time.
Let the fun begin.
Big congrats to this 'brave' crew for attending the latest Secret 6X.
On a very stormy night yesterday we travelled into the city to attend the latest exhibition by Body Worlds Vital to experience the human body like never before.
What a great experience!
For details and registration for the next Secret 6X, we will be hosting another later this year, don't miss out SECRET 6X
And that's how fast four weeks goes... Hold on tight, the next four goes even quicker!
Look forward to some events coming up in the next month to have you firing on all cylinders for the finish line of the challenge
The leaders in overall weight loss so far are
Fire up team, this is going to be four weeks to remember!
We've gained momentum in the challenge this week with members noticing changes in their fitness, strength, endurance and overall ability within the gym.
It's amazing just how quickly changes happen when training consistently and in particular one-on-one with your personal trainer. This crew, and many more, are pumping through over 5 training sessions each week which would leave some wondering about the chance of burnout, fatigue and injury however speak to any of these guys and you'll come to realise the balance of cardio, weights, stretching and education has them all fired up to train even more.
With the increased fitness we're looking forward to seeing the results continue to speed up in this next week and second half of the challenge, we're really excited to see everyone's half way check-in scans.
See you in the gym!
The trainers at 6X are an inspiring, energetic and caring team of fitness professionals, passionate and qualified to help 6X members achieve success in health and fitness