"Doing cardio before or after lifting weights can be a tough choice...."
Doing cardio before lifting weights can be beneficial in a short duration. The key is you want to appropriately distribute your energy and strength. If you do an hour or more of cardio before lifting weights this will most likely decrease your lifting performance; you may not be able to get up the same amount of reps or put up as much weight as you would if you hadnt tired yourself out doing cardio.
However, It really depends on what your goals are. If you were a runner it would make sense that you do cardio before lifting weights. Just like strength itself, this question is entirely relative. So, what I suggest is that you figure out what your goals are and then plan your exercise routine accordingly. Listed below are my recommendations for exercise sequences based on different body types.
*1* Light Cardio
*2* Light Weight Training
*3* High Intensity Cardio
*1* Warm-up Cardio
*2* High Intensity Weight Training
As you can see these recommendations arent too specific, but I would say most people either fall into or their goal is to be in one of these categories. Basically, the lower you want your body fat to be the more you need to focus on cardio. If you care less about how low your body fat is and you just want to put on mass then all you have to do is lift heavy weight and eat (almost sounds easy). No matter what body type you are going for, you have to work hard (unless you are going for the couch potato look). Ultimately, it comes down to what type of training you focus your energy and attention on.
In General, doing a short duration of cardio before your resistance training can be very beneficial. Doing a five to fifteen minute cardio session first can reduce the risk of injury by circulating your blood faster and more efficiently, which in turn heats your muscles so they are less prone to pulls or strains. This type of cardio will also elevate your heart rate into your target heart zone, which will allow you heart to prepare itself for the rest of your workout. Keeping your heart rate in this zone will also increase your metabolism and allow for you to burn more fat and carbohydrate stores, which will lead to weight loss.
Doing cardio after your resistance training can have a lot of the same effects when it comes to weight loss and heart health, however there are some down sides. Doing cardio after your workout can be more psychologically draining; your body and mind may already be drained from your workout, not to mentioned you will have considerably less energy than if you had done cardio first. Also, you are more likely to injury yourself during your resistance training because you didnt use the cardio as a warm-up.
Finally, I will leave the decision up to you. Its your body, you live in it, there are plenty of successful fitness enthusiast and athletes that have chosen either cardio before or after lifting. However, always pay attention to your body, stay in-tune with it. Know your limits, but dont be afraid to push them!
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