Is It Better To Do Cardio Before Or After Lifting Weights To Burn Fat

So there you are at the gym and the first thing you do when you walk in is get on the treadmill and then you go about your weight training.  Or maybe it is the other way around and you go to the weights before you do your cardio.  But in reality, is it better to do cardio before or after lifting weights in order to burn fat?

Every year there is some study that point to one or the other conclusion as being “definitive.”  But is it really true that one method works more than another or is it just a way for fitness magazines to sell more issues and subscriptions?

For anyone interested in burning more fat hearing news that a specific method works best is always something that will be welcome with open arms or open ears.  The theory that gets mentioned more often is that performing some form of cardiovascular exercise before doing weights will burn fat and calories more effectively.

The theory goes like this, you begin your cardio and you have now elevated your metabolism and are beginning to burn calories so by adding weight training to your workout you are now going to burn even more calories.

In reality there is no significant advantage whether one method burns more fat or calories than the other.

What does work is a combination of the two.  Cardio workouts alone will not help you drastically in getting fit.  Lifting weights alone will help more than doing cardio alone, but in order to look lean and athletic a combination of the two is best.

Cardio done before or after lifting weights is a matter of preference

Think about the times you are about to start your workout.  You get on the treadmill or stationary bike and hit it hard for 30 minutes.  Once you are done you are huffing and puffing and drenched in sweat.  Are you ready to go another 30 minutes lifting heavy weights?  Probably not, so you either quit or want to go home or you battle it out and do a mediocre workout.

However, when you start by doing weights you will finish your workout and still have the energy to get a good cardio workout, that is unless you have been doing leg workouts, in this case I forgive you…

But don’t get me wrong I know a few people who begin their workouts with cardio and they tell me that they feel like they have a new boost in energy after a good jog or run.  For them starting with cardio before weights is easier than leaving it at the end of their routine.

Like I said it is a matter of preference.  Think of your situation and how your body responds best.  Are you the type that feels drained with cardio exercises?  Then leave them to the very end of your routine.

Are you the type that feels revitalized and with a shot of adrenaline after a good run?  Well feel free to begin your workouts this way before lifting weights.

If you are like me and feel best leaving your cardio after your weight training then do the following:

  • Warm up with a light walk or jog for 5-10 minutes
  • Do weight lifting for 30-60 minutes (no more than 60 minutes)
  • Do cardiovascular workout of any type for 20-30 minutes

This technique works best for those who are like myself.  However, if you feel best leaving the weights at the end then by all means do it that way.

Working out should not be like the riddle of the sphinx, where one answer is definitive or a do-or-die scenario.  Have fun when getting in shape.

Do not focus so much on the latest “study” that is being pitched by the media.  Simply combine the two types and do either cardio before or after lifting weights, depending on your preference and you will look fit and look athletic sooner than you think.

Burn fat, Lose Weight And Gain Muscle With A Short Total Body Workout

The main goal most people have when it comes to getting fit is very often that they want to burn fat, lose weight and gain muscle. Although this may seem like a difficult task it really isn’t.

Usually the reasons that are given for being unable to get lean and in shape is that they either don’t have the time or the equipment. I sympathize with this point of view. The way things are economically having a gym membership or the money to buy equipment is often a luxury.

For others who feel they don’t have time to get a workout in their busy schedules the reality is you don’t need to spend hours in the gym doing long workouts. The key to getting the most of a workout is to mix in cardio and muscle building in a workout using short intense burst training type workouts.

If you want to burn fat, lose weight and gain muscle one of the most effective ways is to do brief high intensity workouts. The following is a bodyweight total body workout that will give you excellent results.

Drills

  • Slow jog in place for one minute
  • Push-ups 10- 12 repetitions
  • Jump rope for one minute (use imaginary rope if you don’t have one)
  • Crunches 15 repetitions
  • Run in place for one minute
  • Squats 10 repetitions
  • Run in place for one minute or jump rope
  • Rest for one minute
  • Repeat

Repeat the drill for at least 3 times and aim for a maximum of 5 times. The drill should take about 5 minutes to complete and if you are short on time or are not in shape to repeat the cycle then this is fine. Work your way up to 3 cycles.

This series of drills should take around 15 minutes to 25 minutes if you are doing anywhere from 3 to 5 drills. Performing this routine 2 or 3 times a week on non consecutive days will give you better results.

In this total body workout the goal is to combine cardio in brief intervals and combining it with exercises that help build muscle in both the upper body and lower body.

As you can see, to burn fat, lose weight and gain muscle, using just your body can be accomplished easily with limited time and limited space. Try it and let me know what you think.

Elliptical Machine vs. Treadmill Workouts For Cardio: What’s More Effective?

I hear this debate going on very often in gyms, “what’s more effective elliptical machine or treadmill workout for cardio?”  There is always all sorts of reasoning behind the pros one offers versus the other.  Although there is all sorts of  myths we can break them down and come to a conclusion.

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Advantages of elliptical machine workouts:

  • it is easy on the knees
  • you can program the machine
  • the degree of difficulty can be challenging
  • it offers a new way as opposed to typical cardio workouts

Advantages of treadmill workouts:

  • you can program the cardio workout that you want
  • easier on the knees than running on pavement
  • you can program the speed and difficulty
  • change the incline to a steep degree or flat as you want

As you can see they both offer similar advantages to your workouts if you are interested in using a machine for cardiovascular purposes.

For many people, myself included, doing steady state cardio is boring and not as effective in burning fat.  The good thing with these machines is you can do short bursts of intensity followed by brief rest periods.

It is best to either program a machine using something like hills, intervals or manually change your pace from slow speed to higher speed.

So in reality both types of equipment, elliptical machines and treadmills, are equally effective as long as you do a workout that is NOT a steady state cardio if you want to burn more fat.

Always switch it up.  One workout do elliptical machines and the next workout do treadmill workouts and an outdoor workout the next.  Combine either of these with weights or resistance bands workouts and your goal of looking like an athlete will come to you quicker than you think.

Running Stairs Workout Program: The Fastest Way To Burn Fat

If you have been struggling to find the fastest way to burn fat and want an effect way to keep your muscle gains I highly recommend running stairs. Some athletes run stadium bleachers or hills to get the same results as running stairs but for the sake of doing something convenient we will do a running stairs workout that you can even do at home.
Running Up Stairs v1
Photograph courtesy of Grey Barklay

Why A Stairs Workout Is So Effective For Fat Loss

A running stairs workout program applies much of the same principles of interval training.  By using stairs you are activating the fast twitch muscles in the legs which help build leaner and muscular thighs.  Going up and down stairs helps in activating fast twitch muscles due to the constant explosive force that is required to go up stairs.

One of the principles of interval training or burst training, as it is also called, requires doing an activity at high intensity for a brief time and then slowing down or resting in short periods.  When using stairs as a workout you will find yourself doing the high intensity portion on the way up and resting or performing at less intensity when going up stairs.

Although most cardio programs emphasize doing long and steady state cardio in order to lose fat, the truth is these types of workouts are not the best.

Although steady state cardio like long distance running will help you burn calories and burn some fat the results you will achieve are not like interval training.  If you compare a long distance runner to a sprinter you will see the difference in physiques.  A long distance runner will look thin but without a lean body type.  On the other hand, a sprinter is lean and muscular with very little fat.  Who would you rather look like?

A Stairs Workout You Can Do Today

Stairs workouts are one of the workouts I highly recommend.    The calories burned running up and down stairs is one of the benefits along with the fact that you are building muscle in your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

Follow this sequence to get great benefits from running stairs.

  • Warm up with a slow 5 to 10 minute jog.
  • Jog/ Run up stairs but go up every other step on the way up.
  • Slowly jog down taking each step.
  • Go up and down the stairs a total of 5 round trips.
  • Do a 3 to 5 minute cool down.

The point of taking every other step on the way up is to get the most out of the glutes, hamstrings and calves.

After several workouts you will probably be able to do more than 5 trips. Aim for as many as 10. If you are able to do more than 5 trips switch it up by running every other step on the way up one trip and every step the following trip.

Ideally you want to find a flight of stairs that is longer than one story. Work with what you have is my advice to you.  For best results pair this workout with strength training with weights, bodyweight routines, kettlebells or resistance bands.  It does not matter which type.  You can also do this workout either before or after lifting weights, it is dependent on your preferences.

If you want to add a higher degree of difficulty and make this a full body workout then do push ups when you reach the top and crunches at the bottom or vice versa.

Do not feel discouraged if you can not complete this running stairs workout. Start off slow and you will get to your goal. Do not be afraid to try different types of interval training and conditioning workouts. Remember that the calories running up and down stairs is one of the fastest ways to burn fat.

Try this easy workout and tell me how it worked for you.  Feel free to comment below.

What Is The Best Way To Burn Belly Fat?

Are you feeling desperate and wondering what is the best way to burn belly fat without using some strange supplement? The answer is simple and it is not by doing a bunch of sit-ups.

You have definitely seen those infomercials promising six pack abs and a flat stomach by doing sit-ups on a funny piece of equipment. Contrary to what you have heard sit-ups and crunches will not do the trick.

In order to bring out that abs you first have to eliminate the fat percentage in your body. In order to reduce your fat content you have to do a couple of things. First thing to do is increase your metabolism. The second thing to do is clean up your diet.

The most effective way to increase your metabolism is by doing high intensity exercise. The first thing that comes to mind in order to burn fat is doing cardiovascular exercise. Although this is a good way it will take a while to burn the fat. In fact, in order to reduce fat substantially it would take an average of running 10 miles a day on average.

Most of us are not marathon type runners so this type of workout is not ideal. However, when cardio is paired with weight training or weight lifting your body becomes a fat burning inferno. Weight training burns more calories than doing cardio exercise alone and by gaining some muscle your metabolism will increase and burn fat.

The second thing to do is to clean up your diet. This is the hardest part for most people to achieve. Doing diets is one of the worst ways to try and get a lean body. When we restrict or reduce calories or skip meals our bodies slow down their metabolism and will hold on to more fat. Do this for days, weeks or months on end and you will stay soft and flabby.

My recommendation is to eat foods low in fat and low in sugar. By eating a balanced meal in carbs, proteins and small quantities of fat you will be one step ahead. However this is still hard for most people to do because of our busy schedules.

However, one simple adjustment can pay off big time. Think of one thing you eat or drink that is not healthy for you. Is it fries or chips or soda or maybe it is that chocolate bar you have daily. If you simply eliminate this one unhealthy item from your diet you will see the fat start to come off.

So if you are looking for the best way to burn belly fat just start by making one small adjustment in your eating habits and include a good weight training plan with 20- 30 minutes of cardio. In as little as a few weeks you will see a significant difference.

How To Build Muscles From Sprinting

When working out believe it or not there are ways how to build muscles from sprinting. In bodybuilding the common technique used to build muscle is by using weights to train our bodies consistently. However there is a different method there does not get mentioned very often in bodybuilding or in workout magazines.
Disappointing final sprint...
Photo courtesy of Stefanos

When we look at athletes, more specifically those who do short burst of running we can see a lean and muscular physique. For example look at an Olympic sprinter or a soccer player. These athletes are able to maintain a muscular physique despite running and doing high intensity cardio.

In bodybuilding cardio is often discouraged from a fitness regimen. Long periods of cardio like long distance running is counterintuitive in building muscle mass. However, short bursts of activity like running is the best way to burn fat and at the same time maintain muscle and even form new lean muscle. The use of short bursts of activity triggers testosterone that in return helps with muscle building.

One of the best ways to incorporate sprinting in a workout is by doing a two to one ratio, in other words a two-minute rest for every minute of running. This type of workout can be done on a treadmill or on a track.

· Sprint one: Run for one minute at 70 percent of your maximum speed
· Sprint two: Run for one minute at 80 percent of your maximum speed
· Sprint three: Run for one minute at 90 percent of your maximum speed
· Sprint four: Run for one minute at 80 percent of your maximum speed
· Sprint five: Run for one minute at 70 percent of your maximum speed

Rest for two minutes and no longer than that between sprints. The total time should be 15 minutes. You can add two more sprints to this routine with a maximum speed of 80 percent on the sixth and 90 percent maximum speed on the last sprint. This routine should be performed two times a week with 48 to 72 hours between days of rest.

The effects of doing this type of workout will lead to fat burning without losing muscle mass and gaining mass in the lower body specifically. This type of workout will also create gains overall in muscle gain.

Best Way To Burn Fat Without Losing Muscle

If you are looking for the best way to burn fat without losing muscle but are afraid you will not have much luck then read on.  There are very simple ways to make slight changes in your workouts that will have you seeing fast results.
Toledo Honest Weight
Photograph Courtesy of Wolfgang Schlegl

Perhaps you have spent months or even years lifting weights and you can see and feel the gains in muscle mass but want that lean look.  Many times you will be told to get on the treadmill to burn the excess fat and once you try this method you see the muscle disappear.   The last thing you want is to see the work you have put in simply go away.

The good news is you don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill or the track or at the boring bicycle.  In fact, doing steady state cardiovascular exercise for an extended period of time is counterproductive when you are building muscle.

Do cardio in short bursts as opposed to steady non-stop cardio.  Instead of doing one hour on a treadmill or any cardio type exercise you can simply gain better and more effective results doing 15- 20 minutes of interval type training.

For example you can run sprints on a treadmill or track the following way.  Run at 80 percent of your maximum speed for one minute and rest for 2 minutes and repeat.  In a period of 15- 20 minutes you should have completed 5-7 sprints without having to spend long periods of cardio.  Do this twice a week and you will see the fat come off while maintaining your muscle.