Fitness
Moderators: melkor


It's my understanding that a session of heavy lifting can increase base metabolic rates for as long as 24 hours. It's also my understanding that same effect from a cardio session only lasts a very few hours at best.

Ok, here's a silly question. I typically do cardio after my lifting sessions. Does this mean my metabolic rate will return to normal quicker than if I knocked off as soon as my strength session finished?

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I think the answer is no, it wouldn't.  Cardio wouldn't undo any afterburn effects of lifting, it just doesn't have the same effects.

However, I think I've read that the EPOC effects of lifting are perhaps not as great as people once thought? But that (oh dear, really going off of memory) there's still something that makes you end up losing fat better if you are lifting, it just can't be nailed down as being due to EPOC?

Thanks Liz, not trying to talk myself out of anything more just curious. I've always thought "24 hours" was questionable

I agree! I dont think it will undo the fat burning process or called the after burn process. I do that myself everyday. 1 hour of muscle workout and 40 to 60 minutes of cardio, and i feel great.

No. Just always do cardio after lifting. You want to save your energy for the lifting itself. 

Once you use your muscles you cant UN-use them. Better, though, if lilited on time, to focus on building the muscle since larger muscle require a greater use of energy. Your metabolism will be higher the more muscle you have. Cardio is just that: awesome for the heart!....still important.

24 hours is a stretch, it is about 14 hours and it depends on the type, and intensity, of your workout. Your metabolism is elevated for longer because your body is trying to repair itself; the greater the damage the greater the repair needed. Doing a typical 3 set, 10/12 rep, workout of isolated muscles will not be as effective as doing HIIT with compound movements. After your weight session is the ideal time to do some cardio because, after lifting, your body is in prime fat-burning mode. The 20 minutes or so of cardio that you do after weights will burn more fat than the 20 minutes you do before.

#7  
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(Continued from Page 1) Scenario 2 - Cardio before Weights

You get stuck into the cardio first up for 40 minutes because you think you will be too tired to tackle it at the end of the weights program. You understand you will expend more energy with cardio when you're fresh, so you can use more energy overall in the session, which is what you're aiming for.

Fresh legs for better cardio. If you do your cardio before you lift, theres little doubt you will do this part of your program more efficiently, which probably means at higher intensity and with a higher aerobic fitness outcome. Heavy legs and arms after weights are not conducive to a good cardio session. Ive tried both sequences many times, and running first is my preference even without the technical considerations.

As explained in So You Want to Burn More Fat, cardio of moderate output expends considerably more energy than an equal session of weights, so if you want to maximize energy output for weight loss and aerobic fitness, doing a solid cardio session is essential. Doing cardio first will maximize your output.

On the other hand, with attention to fueling, refueling and fluid intake, you will still be capable of a strong weights session after your aerobic session.

Strong arteries. It's also important to know that aerobic exercise is important even for specialist weight lifters and bodybuilders from a health perspective. Cardio helps keep the arteries elastic, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health. This is called arterial compliance and several studies have shown that this worsens in weight trainers who do little aerobic exercise.

Study Shows Cardio before Weights is Beneficial

A study from the Human Performance Research Center, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, examined what happened to ten men who did resistance only, run only, resistance-run, and run-resistance sessions. (Resistance-run means weights before cardio and vice versa.)

Heres what they reported:

EPOC, the measure of the afterburn or energy output after you stop exercising was greatest when cardio was done before weight training. Running after a weights session was physiologically more difficult than doing it before lifting weights. (This has implications for efficiency and possibly safety.) The researchers recommend performing aerobic exercise before resistance exercise when combining them into one exercise session. This was not a large study, so the results should be interpreted with caution. Nevertheless, this is in line with my own experience with this training sequence, and also that of some clients.

Other research found that 'running economy' is also impaired after a weights session, another reason why the weights-cardio sequence is less efficient.

Score for Scenario 2: the evidence is not quite in yet, but Ill score it 4 our of 5 for doing cardio before a weights session.

Cardio Killed My Muscle

Some weight trainers are reluctant to do much cardio training because they believe it produces catabolic hormones like cortisol that break down muscle stores for fuel thus interfering with the anabolic muscle building process.

Although this subject is worthy of a more complete article on weight training nutrition and metabolism, a brief response is that you can protect muscle from this process by ensuring adequate nutrition before, during and after a session and by keeping aerobic training to under one hour if you have muscle building goals.

Forty or so minutes of cardio within an adequate nutritional environment is not going to hurt your muscle. In fact, in view of the discussion above, doing cardio after weights could be more damaging to muscle as 'beaten up' muscle strives to deal with the burden of aerobic activity. Your immediate post-weights activity should be dedicated to maximizing the anabolic environment. This is time for building up not breaking down. You achieve this by eating sensibly and adequately and by resting and sleeping -- and by not doing cardio after weights.

Summing Up

Here are my recommendations:

Do most of your aerobic exercise before your weights program if you do both in the same session. Complete your weights session, cool down then immediately concentrate on recovery, repair and rebuilding rather than additional exercise. Consider separate sessions for cardio and weights on different days. This is a popular option when weight loss is not the primary goal. You could also experiment with separate sessions on the same day, but you need to get your refueling right with this approach. If weight loss is a primary goal, doing both on the same day with cardio first may offer some advantages in increased metabolism and energy expenditure. If strength, rather than hypertrophy (bigger muscles) is a goal, you probably should do cardio and weights on separate days because the heavier lifts may not go as well after doing cardio first. You need to be as fresh as possible for those 4RMs. You could mix and match upper and lower body workouts. For example, treadmill running and upper body weights one day and lower body weights and swimming another day. Don't get too hung up on this whole idea; if it suits you to reverse the order occasionally, it won't be a problem. Sources:

Drummond MJ, Vehrs PR, Schaalje GB, Parcell AC. Aerobic and resistance exercise sequence affects excess postexercise oxygen consumption. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 May;19(2):332-7.

Palmer CD, Sleivert GG. Running economy is impaired following a single bout of resistance exercise. J Sci Med Sport. 2001 Dec;4(4):447-59.

Miyachi M, Kawano H, Sugawara J, Takahashi K, Hayashi K, Yamazaki K, Tabata I, Tanaka H. Unfavorable effects of resistance training on central arterial compliance: a randomized intervention study. Circulation. 2004 Nov 2;110(18):2858-63.

My ex was a semi-pro body builder.  He always insisted on at least 20 mins of intense cardio before lifting to raise the body temperature and warm up the muscles.  Also he seperated heavy lifting days from heavy cardio days.  So a typical week might be
1. cardio warm up / Legs, calves
2. cardio warm up / chest, triceps
3. cardio day
4. rest day
5. cardio warm up / back, biceps
6. cardio warm up / shoulders
7. cardio day

#9  
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Wow, lucylundy post was quite informative. I have been doing 40 minutes of cardio before 60-90 minutes of strength training for ~10 months. I use a Polar heart monitor to track heart rate, since I am nearly 66 and have a slow heart rate. The montior also tracks calories burned.  I have lost 70 pounds with this routine, and I can see muscle definiton that I have never had before. Cardio before stength training seems to work for me, however I am not trying to bulk up muscles, but get into good shape and increase my strength. The Polar heart monitor indicates that after 2-1/2 hours of combined session the calories burned are about 50-50. I do not know how long the metabolism boost continues, but don't forget to eat properly - metabolism is also increases with food intake. Too few calories consumed will retard metabolism.  

Lucylundy's post was copied from somewhere without attribution and is going to be deleted any second now unless proper writing credit is given, and it's also wrong.

 There is no specific order that is best in all cases. Like I said in Cardio first or weight lifting first?  you do things in order of priority for your desired outcomes, and the above ordering is only valid for a very specific set of sports that have more endurance than strength components. It's an invalid order of priority for strength based sports, speed based sports, and speed-strength sports.

It's also invalid for dieters, whose priority list is strength>HIIT>IT > endurance and if you don't have the time to do separate sessions for each you use that order of priority for how you arrange the components within a workout session.

 Although results might be better if you actually skipped the middle and went strength->endurance since you also need to manage recovery and doing everything all in one session is probably going to trash you badly enough that your recovery time will last long enough that you'll miss out on the next couple workouts you could have done if you hadn't overdosed on intensity.

 EPOC will last 36-48 hours for a proper strength training session, not coincidentally the same length of time as you'll experience elevated levels of muscle protein resynthesis after a strength training session, whereas the EPOC from even HIIT doesn't last much beyond 12 hours and is only really significant for 6-8 hours. Steady state cardio can have some measurable EPOC effects, but it's usually not significant to any degree, when I ran the numbers on one particular study the SparkPeople trainers were using to tout their own particular recipe for workout orders the total EPOC in the study amounted to about two-fifths of sod all and most of that occurred in the first 10 minutes post-exercise. Which happens to be the Drummond study referenced in lucylundy's cut-and-paste post, which means that the results are pretty much meaningless in terms of weight loss and you should stick to adaptation criteria guidelines when deciding the order of priority for your training modalities.

 (Pssst, A-girl: from the Melkor Geeks Out: thread:


  EPOC: Maybe not all that it's cracked up to be:
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management, Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7.

Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in young women, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Mar;10(1):71-81.

  Effect of Short-Term High-Intensity Interval Training versus Continuous Training on O2 Uptake Kinetics, Muscle Deoxygenation and Exercise Performance. J Appl Physiol. 2009 May 14. McKay BR, Paterson DH, Kowalchuk JM.

Useful, but not significant to the order of magnitude it would need to be to explain the weight loss effects of strength training.)

Thanks everyone. In my early 30's I went to the gym 6 days a week for about 5 years straight. Always did 45 minutes of cardio followed by 45 minutes of isolation move lifting (back & Bi, Chest & Tri, Legs & Shoulders) 2 rotations a week. PLayed God on the 7th day and rested

Flash forward 20 years. Always do my heavy lifting first (after 10 minutes of cardio) then do my cardio. I'm only lifting 3 days a week, no isolation work. It's fairly new but give me 6 months and I'll give you a definitive answer as to what my body responds to. That's what you're all interested in. Isn't it?

hi Kevin. seems there is always some conflicting advice to sift through, and I'm going to add, listen to your own body and pay attention to how you feel. at 48 now (don't know how that happened ;) and my best formula is an intense 4-6 mins on a rowing machine (i live in colorado and start out cold, usually), 30-45 mins of weights, and 30-50 mins of cardio.

on MWF I do reps of 1.5 mins of lighter weights and more reps, followed by a higher-level cardio session.

On T/TH I do my heavy weights x3 reps followed by a cardio session set for max. 'fat burn.' ie: lower heart rate, higher resistance.

I still always do cardio after weights, esp. as a woman, it feels better to build up my muscle mass to better maintain my body, bones and metabolism... I was lucky to train with a professional for almost 12 years, and his 'listen to what your body is telling you' has always been spot on.

good luck on your journey!
Original Post by xandyjax:

hi Kevin. seems there is always some conflicting advice to sift through, and I'm going to add, listen to your own body and pay attention to how you feel. at 48 now (don't know how that happened ;) and my best formula is an intense 4-6 mins on a rowing machine (i live in colorado and start out cold, usually), 30-45 mins of weights, and 30-50 mins of cardio.

on MWF I do reps of 1.5 mins of lighter weights and more reps, followed by a higher-level cardio session.

On T/TH I do my heavy weights x3 reps followed by a cardio session set for max. 'fat burn.' ie: lower heart rate, higher resistance.

I still always do cardio after weights, esp. as a woman, it feels better to build up my muscle mass to better maintain my body, bones and metabolism... I was lucky to train with a professional for almost 12 years, and his 'listen to what your body is telling you' has always been spot on.

good luck on your journey!

Thanks Andy, I'm only lifting MWF these days. I listen to my body but I think It's lying to me. I think it's seeing a 25 year old behind my back.

Original Post by kevinatthebrook:

.

Flash forward 20 years. Always do my heavy lifting first (after 10 minutes of cardio) then do my cardio. I'm only lifting 3 days a week, no isolation work. It's fairly new but give me 6 months and I'll give you a definitive answer as to what my body responds to. That's what you're all interested in. Isn't it?

Seeing what's works best for YOU, and trying to be objective about it, is definitely the way to go. Too often, somebody tries one thing, sees some short term gain, tells everyone else "the thing that worked best for me was .....," and tries to talk everyone else into doing the same thing they did.

#16  
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Sorry melkor no need to get so uptight I thought this was a sharing forum

I tried posting first page but was a little difficult from a handheld

The post was taken from about.com weight training The sources are noted at the bottom of the original entry I made
oh, that put a smile on my face for the day, thanks! am pretty sure that i've got a 5-year-old back there, grinning, myself :)

seriously, i saw a pretty big difference in my toning when I picked up weights on my 'off' days. i don't get real serious about them, just use that time to check out others' routines and use a single set of 20-reps and low weights to get my muscles into readiness for a fat-burning cardio session.

see ya!
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