So I’m in the process of writing up a really great article about how to work out without a gym… but it’s not finished yet. In the meantime, I found this article from Yahoo! Sports. In this article, the author talks about the importance of the order of your gym workout. She says it is better to start your workout with strength training and to finish with cardio. This actually brings up a good debate… is it really better to do strength first or should you stick to doing cardio at the beginning? A lot of research has been popping up lately supporting the ideas in this article. The problem is that fitness routines are very personalized to your specific goals, and doing cardio before or after you do strength may not make a difference. I am still a little back and forth on this matter, but what I CAN tell you is that it’s super important for you to do BOTH strength training and cardio, and not to leave one out of your workout entirely. Both types of exercise do very different but beneficial things for your body and sacrificing one for the other could be detrimental.
CARDIO: Cardio burns more calories in one shot than strength training. Cardio is also important for your heart and for your lungs. Getting your heart rate up to about 80% of your maximum heart rate (something I will discuss in another post) for about 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week will make your heart stronger and more efficient. When your heart is more efficient, it can pump blood to the rest of your body more effectively. A stronger heart also means less chance of heart disease, which is the world’s leading cause of death!!
Intense cardio workouts can also be very beneficial to your lung capacity. One ailment that can be attributed to poor lung capacity is asthma. An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, with 250,000 annual deaths attributed to the disease. That’s a lot of people! Just like with your heart, doing cardio 3-5 times a week can make your lungs stronger. Stronger lungs can prevent asthma or even reduce the degree of it in asthma sufferers (take it from me, I’m an asthma sufferer!!).
STRENGH: Strength training may not burn a lot of calories all at once like cardio does, but it’s what helps your body burn more calories throughout the rest of your day. When you do about 30 minutes of full body strength training at least 3 times a week, you’re increasing the mass of your muscle. Your body (including your muscles) requires blood and energy to keep it going at all times (including when you sleep). Well, when your muscles get bigger, they require even MORE blood and energy. Therefore, you end up burning more calories outside of the gym.
It’s up to you to decide what order works best for you. As more research is done, it will be easier to determine what is better for your body. And I will do my best to post everything I find on the subject. Just remember that no matter which order you do your workout, it’s important to do both cardio and strength training so that you can have a fitter and more efficient body!