CARDIO OR WEIGHTS..WHICH COMES FIRST?
Let’s set the record straight..when deciding what component of exercise to do first, it’s not really an issue of cardiovascular/interval training or resistance training exercise standing-off against one another!
This idea never seems to go away either. If you’ve heard doing resistance training exercises before cardiovascular workouts will help you to exclusively burn fat, or more of it, it’s NOT true.
Some of the myth and confusion seems to have stemmed from an idea that is FALSE, but goes something like this “if you do your strength training first you’ll deplete your glycogen (sugar) stores, and if you follow this with aerobic training, you’ll burn only fat.” As stated, this is NOT true! Try as you may, but you’ll never deplete your glycogen stores in a normal workout…and ironically, you couldn’t burn fat if you didn’t have carbohydrate available.
This myth brings up the whole issue of “fat-burning” and fuel substrate (carb/fat) usage during exercise. Bottom line: This misunderstanding of physiology is way off base and inaccurate. Myths like these are not magic bullets and often derail sensible training programs. Just to be clear, intensity of effort determines fuel (carb/fat) usage. Period.
To Recap: Independent of what activity is performed first, the intensity of effort or how hard you work represents the overriding factor that determines how much fat or carbohydrate you burn. And anyway, the key to health and fat-loss has more to do with the total number of calories you use or burn. In other words, scientists don’t care whether the calorie comes from fat or carbohydrate, as it pertains to weight loss. So, arguing about carbohydrate vs. fat burning exercise is another related myth that won’t go away. The discussion is simply not important. Total calories expended is the key! Let’s keep it simple!
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Douglas Brooks, MS, Exercise Physiologist, Director of Education for COREFX, is a former-Ironman® triathlete and currently directs Athlete Conditioning for Sugar Bowl Ski Academy where he works with elite junior and professional athletes. Douglas was inducted into the U.S. National Fitness Hall of Fame and has been honored by Can-Fit-Pro as the International Presenter of the Year. Coach Brooks is the author of numerous training books, and most recently, was the recipient of the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Award.