If you’re embarking on a new exercise regime combining both running and lifting weights, how do you know which to do first? Whether you want to strengthen your muscles or lose weight, the order of your routine can have an impact on its effectiveness. Here are some tips on how to achieve the most from your workout.
Why is it Important?
If you’re combining both weight lifting and cardio activities into your exercise routine, then you need to ensure you’re completing them in the correct order for your body. After you’ve lifted weights your muscles need time to rest, repair and rebuild before you set off running. If you head straight out then they won’t have had time to rest and you’ll get tired quicker, so won’t be able to go for as long or as fast. You also run the risk of injury because of tired muscles.
What Do You Want To Achieve?
Whether you do lifting exercises first or cardio activities will largely depend on what you want to achieve from your exercise programme. Your body will always put the most effort into the activity it does first. Therefore, this should be the one that’s most important to you.
If your aim is to achieve faster running times over longer distances, then you should concentrate on this first and build in weight strengthening exercises a few times a week. This way your energy levels will be at their highest, so your run will be more effective. If you’re going to run and lift weights on the same day then you should ideally wait eight hours after weight exercises before any cardio activities. However, those looking to build and strengthen their muscles should concentrate on weight lifting first when your glycogen levels are high and combine with running a couple of times a week.
Those whose main goal is to lose weight should run beforehand, as this will enable you to burn more calories over a shorter period of time. If you leave running until after the weights, it probably won’t be as effective as you’ll be more tired and won’t put as much effort in. For most people, a new workout routine is mainly about improving their overall levels of fitness and if this is your goal then the order probably doesn’t have much impact. You could either complete them on alternate days or combine them through a circuit training session. To help you maintain the routine you should do what you’re best at or enjoy the most first. This way you’re more likely to stick with the exercise programme and achieve the most effective results.
As with any new fitness programme it’s probably best to see what works for your circumstances and how your body reacts. If you do have the option of alternating days then this is going to help your body rest and recover more effectively. However, if there isn’t the opportunity to fit this in, then assess your goals and decide what’s the most important to you.