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  1. #1
    Registered User clokwise's Avatar
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    Bad to do cardio at the beginning?

    I am working towards weight loss, and the plan I am doing calls for cardio at the end of the workout. Is it bad to switch and do the cardio at the beginning instead? I'm so gassed by the end of the strength training its hard to actually complete the cardio and a lot of times I don't do the full times suggested. But I can easily get it done if I do it at the beginning and still finish the strength training.

    Any reason this is a bad idea?
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    I wouldn't recommend it. During weight loss it's pretty important to retain your current muscle as best as you can, which means putting it first so you can hit your muscles full strength. Not only that, if you're doing real compounds, they generally are more effective calorie burners than many cardio exercises anyway. By the time you get to cardio, your body is also already in a state of high heart rate and everything, so even though you might not be able to get as much cardio time in without being gassed out, it'll be more effective
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  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by clokwise View Post
    I am working towards weight loss, and the plan I am doing calls for cardio at the end of the workout. Is it bad to switch and do the cardio at the beginning instead? I'm so gassed by the end of the strength training its hard to actually complete the cardio and a lot of times I don't do the full times suggested. But I can easily get it done if I do it at the beginning and still finish the strength training.

    Any reason this is a bad idea?
    Weight Loss

    Research indicates that performing cardio first, then resistance training is more effective for weight loss.

    Here's why...

    AMPk, Activated-Protein Kinase

    One of AMPk's jobs is to burn fat.

    It is turned on with cardio, fasting, and below maintenance caloric intake.

    With exercise, it's turned on for about an hour.

    mTOR, Mammalian Target of Rapamycin

    mTOR is an anablic trigger.

    It is turned on with strength training and the amino acid, Leucine.

    A minimum of 2.5 grams of Leucine turn on the anabolic process. Approximately, 30 gram of quality protein will provide you with 2.5 gram of Leucine.

    Strength training also turns mTOR and triggers the anabolic response

    After strength training, mTOR (muscle building) remains on for about 5 hours.

    The Caveat

    The problem is that AMPk and mTOR cancel each other out.

    AMPk turns off protein synthesis, the muscle building process.

    mTOR turns off lipolysis, the fat burning process.

    The Solution

    The May issue of Muscular Development magazine had a very good article on this.

    The article provided some good research on the best time to perform cardio.

    1) Before strength training. Then perform your strength training about an hour later. That because AMPk's fat burning job last about and hour.

    Thus, AMPk does not dampen the mTOR, muscle building effect.

    2) On a separate days from strength training.

    Of the two option the this is the optimal.

    It insures that AMPk's fat burning effect is optimized and does not interfere mTOR's muscle building effect and vise versa.

    Kenny Croxdale
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  4. #4
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Which is your priority? Your weight training or caloric loss (or cardio improvement)?

    If you want to keep your focus on your weights, then put that first and do cardio after or in a different session. If your overall goal is to burn more calories, then do your cardio first and use weights as an afterthought.
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  5. #5
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    Do whatever is more important first, because you have less energy for the second.
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    Originally Posted by kennycroxdale View Post
    1) Before strength training. Then perform your strength training about an hour later. That because AMPk's fat burning job last about and hour.

    Thus, AMPk does not dampen the mTOR, muscle building effect.

    2) On a separate days from strength training.

    Of the two option the this is the optimal.
    Agreed. The evidence is pretty strong that this outweighs other considerations. Having adequate energy for weightlifting vs cardio is probably less important than minimizing interference with the training adaptations. You can achieve both by doing cardio on off days or at least making sure to separate the two by a few hours.
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    Originally Posted by dmacdonal9 View Post
    Agreed. The evidence is pretty strong that this outweighs other considerations. Having adequate energy for weightlifting vs cardio is probably less important than minimizing interference with the training adaptations. You can achieve both by doing cardio on off days or at least making sure to separate the two by a few hours.
    True. But it really comes down to what kind of time you have. Many people combine them just because it's their day to hit the gym. In which case it goes to as said above, whether your goal is retaining muscle or just losing weight period.
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  8. #8
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    I agree with the rest of the guys. Sounds like your cardio needs work as well. Add time to your cardio slowly over time and it will help you out.
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  9. #9
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    Kennycroxdale literally covered everything I wanted to post lol..
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  10. #10
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    Depending on intensity but in general the first 20-30 minutes of working out (or cardio) your burning the glycogen in you system as a fuel source. This is better spent towards pushing weights then running on a treadmill where your not actually burning calories from your body at that time.

    With that said though, if your diet is on point weight lifting and your diet should be all you need to obtain the weight loss you want without the muscle loss that occurs from cardio. I get regularly bodpod and dexa body fat tests done every 6-8 weeks and can see a spike of up to 20 to 25% of the loss occurring from LBM whenever I add cardio into my workout sessions.
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  11. #11
    Registered User kennycroxdale's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SugarFree1 View Post
    Depending on intensity but in general the first 20-30 minutes of working out (or cardio) your burning the glycogen in you system as a fuel source.
    Glucogen

    You burn less glycogen than you realize.

    The Truth About the Fat Burning Zone
    http://exercise.about.com/od/weightl...rning-Zone.htm

    Extrapolating the information provide from this article indicates that a low low intensity cardio session burn approximately 18 gram with low intensity and around 31 gram from a high intensity training session.

    Thus, you still have plenty of muscle glycogen available.

    Site Specific

    Another factor is that glycogen is burned from the muscle preforming the work.

    Since cardio is leg driven, glycogen is burned directly from the legs.

    Thus, another alternative would be to preform cardio first on upper body days.

    Example

    Monday: Lower Body Resistance Training

    Tuesday: Cardio first, then Upper Body Training

    Wednesday: Off

    Thursday: Lower Body

    Friday: Same as Tuesday

    This provide you with 48 hours between Tuesday and Thursday's Lower Body Training Session to reload muscle glycogen.

    It provide you with 72 hours between Friday and Monday's session.

    Intensity

    As you noted, the intensity of the cardio session may take something out of your resistance training session.

    However, the overall effect of performing cardio prior to resistance training is a more effective "Fat Burning Method".

    This is better spent towards pushing weights then running on a treadmill where your not actually burning calories from your body at that time.
    Not according to the research on AMPK and mTOR.

    To reiterate, cardio post resistance training ramps of AMPk.

    AMPk dampens the anabolic effect of mTOR via resistance training.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited by kennycroxdale; 04-16-2015 at 08:26 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by bucsdodgers View Post
    I agree with the rest of the guys. Sounds like your cardio needs work as well. Add time to your cardio slowly over time and it will help you out.
    Adding Time

    Research shows that High Intensity Interval Training is more effective method of burning body fat.

    There is an inverse relationship between time and intensity. When intensity goes up, time goes down.

    As Vince Gironda said, "You can train hard or long but NOT both!"

    Low Intensity Cardio

    While increasing the time with low intensity cardio work for a while, there are problems with it.

    1) It burns calories only during the activity, very few calories.

    2) It does not increase your metabolism, post workout.

    3) At some point, the body's set point will adjust to low intensity cardio (Research Dr Jake Wilson).

    The body adapts to low intensity cardio as is does to low calorie diets. You metabolism drops.

    Those are some of the reason over weight individual rarely lose much weight.

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  13. #13
    Registered User clokwise's Avatar
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    Personally, my main goal is weight/fat loss. I am fairly new (5 months in) to strength training. I'm quite a bit overweight and need to shed size and weight. In the 5 months I've lost almost 30lbs and quiet a bit of size. Since I am new I am just figuring these things out as I go. I've been doing cardio before weights. But I am considering trying one of the programs here on BB.com for the first time (been doing a generic program put together by someone else). The BB.com program I was looking at called for it AFTER the weights. So I just wanted to see if it made a difference. I did try it after this morning at my workout just to see. It was tough, doable, but tough. Still prefer before. But if all signs point to its a better idea to do after, I will adapt.
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    Originally Posted by clokwise View Post
    I am working towards weight loss, and the plan I am doing calls for cardio at the end of the workout. Is it bad to switch and do the cardio at the beginning instead? I'm so gassed by the end of the strength training its hard to actually complete the cardio and a lot of times I don't do the full times suggested. But I can easily get it done if I do it at the beginning and still finish the strength training.

    Any reason this is a bad idea?
    I don't recommend cardio while you try to lose weight for two reasons. The first is that your cortisol is for sure high due to the stress of the training and the strict diet and cardio just simply raise it up over the roof ahah. The second is that normal cardio can really burn muscle litteraly if is done in a wrong way.
    If you start with cardio you will have no energy to push yourself through heavy lifting, that is what you have to do while you cut down. Don't do stupid high sets ulimited rep cause it doesn't work.

    If you are looking for some shocking way to burn fat, go for the HIIT. Tabata and other are great way to do HIIT and is much better then cardio.
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  15. #15
    Registered User clokwise's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by emilenjoyfit View Post
    I don't recommend cardio while you try to lose weight for two reasons. The first is that your cortisol is for sure high due to the stress of the training and the strict diet and cardio just simply raise it up over the roof ahah. The second is that normal cardio can really burn muscle litteraly if is done in a wrong way.
    If you start with cardio you will have no energy to push yourself through heavy lifting, that is what you have to do while you cut down. Don't do stupid high sets ulimited rep cause it doesn't work.

    If you are looking for some shocking way to burn fat, go for the HIIT. Tabata and other are great way to do HIIT and is much better then cardio.
    HIIT is what I do, I should have been more clear about it. Intervals of run, brisk walk, run, brisk walk, etc. I am slowly working up to longer run spurts and shorter walks. Its just a matter of working with the speeds and finding what I can do as I go. I'm still carrying a lot of weight for my size so its tough, but Im trying.
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  16. #16
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    Kenny covered everything you'll need to know. Repped, Kenny.

    Originally Posted by dmacdonal9 View Post
    Agreed. The evidence is pretty strong that this outweighs other considerations. Having adequate energy for weightlifting vs cardio is probably less important than minimizing interference with the training adaptations. You can achieve both by doing cardio on off days or at least making sure to separate the two by a few hours.
    I usually can't do them on separate days so I typically run in the morning and strength train in the evening for this very reason.
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  17. #17
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    Cardio after, always. You want maximum energy for weights, cardio will just be a bonus as long as your diet is in check.
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    Originally Posted by euro7muscle View Post
    Cardio after, always.
    As mentioned above, it depends entirely on his goals.
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  19. #19
    Registered User clokwise's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grouchyjarhead View Post
    As mentioned above, it depends entirely on his goals.
    Weight loss. Along with diet, and strength training.
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  20. #20
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    It's whatever.
    Depends on your goals.
    Wanna improve cardio? Do it first.
    Wanna gain muscle? Lift first.

    Whatever you do first you will have the most energy for.

    That being said, if you wanna drop fat like its hot and have a huge issue doing cardio after weights (no motivation/tired/hate cardio), Id do it first.
    Otherwise, I'm all about a quick warmup (like 5-10 on stair master or treadmill) doing my weight workout then hitting it hard in cardio.
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    Yes it is all about the goals. I do interval running as part of running training to run faster. No way am I doing any strength training before the interval training.

    But cardio for weight loss? Maybe cardio after.
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    I've done cardio before and after working out. I was never weaker after doing cardio before lifting. IMO it's all personal preference. I like doing cardio first, it get's my mind ready and eager to flit. Weight loss comes more from diet then cardio. I do cardio as a cardiovascular exercise.
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    you may also find that different types of cardio work better with different nutritional approaches..
    I prefer more emphasis on HIIT in general; however, for me to get lean I have to transition from high carb low fat to full blown keto. The HIIT is more effective with a decent number of carbs, as carbs get low I have to switch over to more emphasis on LISS and only utilize HIIT before and following refeeds.

    In the end, cardio sucks- its boring and when already in a calorie deficit your already tired so it makes it grueling. To some degree we all have to just baredown and get it done. I don't like the idea of following a cardio program (cookie cutters)- it has no idea of what the body is use to. Even after so many years of this I always start my cut with less and increase as I go- if this cardio program already calls for long durations, what does this leave you with when things start to stall- even more cardio? or a heavy pull back in calories (another thing I like small adjustments with).
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    Originally Posted by clokwise View Post
    Weight loss. Along with diet, and strength training.
    Gotta be careful here. Just because your goal is weight loss doesn't mean cardio should go first. For all of those saying he should do cardio first, I think there's a difference between having a goal of weight loss and a goal of improved cardio. If the goal is purely weight loss, you can do that just as effectively with lifting first or without cardio period. If you're not looking to specifically improve your cardio stamina (though you will with weight loss anyway), I'd focus on weights first.. you'll be happier with your physique when you're done.
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    Originally Posted by euro7muscle View Post
    Cardio after, always.
    That what I use to think, as well.

    However, it does not appear the it is the optimal method.

    Kenny Croxdale
    I guarantee it will Never work, if you Never try it.
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    Originally Posted by cgibsong002 View Post
    Gotta be careful here. Just because your goal is weight loss doesn't mean cardio should go first. For all of those saying he should do cardio first, I think there's a difference between having a goal of weight loss and a goal of improved cardio. If the goal is purely weight loss, you can do that just as effectively with lifting first or without cardio period. If you're not looking to specifically improve your cardio stamina (though you will with weight loss anyway), I'd focus on weights first.. you'll be happier with your physique when you're done.
    Again, for weight loss, the research indicates performing carkio first or preferably on a separate day it optimal.

    To comprehend the rational, you need understand what AMPk and mTOR are and how they work.

    Then you need to find out how to manipulated them to work.

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    Originally Posted by grouchyjarhead View Post
    Kenny covered everything you'll need to know. Repped, Kenny.



    I usually can't do them on separate days so I typically run in the morning and strength train in the evening for this very reason.
    This works!

    Kenny Croxdale
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    Originally Posted by kennycroxdale View Post
    Again, for weight loss, the research indicates performing carkio first or preferably on a separate day it optimal.

    To comprehend the rational, you need understand what AMPk and mTOR are and how they work.

    Then you need to find out how to manipulated them to work.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Right and I really am not disagreeing that fact, but cal in vs cal out is a pretty simple and easy to manipulate equation. He's already doing a really good job of losing weight which is a great start. I just hate to see guys who lost so much weight and then are really disappointed with their bodies that they've revealed. That's why I always recommend lifting as the focus of a weight loss period. It might be slower, but in the end most guys are much happier with the results.

    We even see it on here a lot, some people are so excited to burn off all this weight, that they think simple weight loss and they'll look fantastic. Neglect the weights and you realize you have a weak body and poor physique under all that fat. Again, this could or could not be relevant to OP.. but I certainly think it's worth a mention and a good consideration.
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    Originally Posted by cgibsong002 View Post
    Right and I really am not disagreeing that fact, but cal in vs cal out is a pretty simple and easy to manipulate equation. He's already doing a really good job of losing weight which is a great start.
    The results he has obtained so far have been with cardio first. So, he's proved that works.

    His problem is that he pushed the cardio so hard, it cuts in to his resistance training.

    The reverse is true with performing hard resistance session, they kill your cardio.

    I just hate to see guys who lost so much weight and then are really disappointed with their bodies that they've revealed. That's why I always recommend lifting as the focus of a weight loss period. It might be slower, but in the end most guys are much happier with the results.
    Most Guy

    You are making it up as you go now. You have no data to support that your "Most Guy" theory.

    We even see it on here a lot, some people are so excited to burn off all this weight, that they think simple weight loss and they'll look fantastic. Neglect the weights and you realize you have a weak body and poor physique under all that fat. Again, this could or could not be relevant to OP.. but I certainly think it's worth a mention and a good consideration.
    He is performing resistance training.

    Thus, it is NOT neglected.

    Weight loss can be obtain via resistance training followed by cardio.

    You can also use a sledgehammer to kill fly instead of a fly swatter.

    The point is, why not utilize the most optimal method?

    Kenny Croxdale
    I guarantee it will Never work, if you Never try it.
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    Thanks guys. Currently I'm doing cardio first then strength training 5 days a week withe 2 rest days (non-consecutive). On rest days I rest, no cardio. I'm also currently working on a fairly generic plan put together by a friend to get me started and in a routine its time to change things up. So I am going to try and follow the Lee Labrada 12 week program (which I am sure mentioning this alone will start a whole new storm of opinions on whether its good or bad, so feel free to bring those on also). I don't plan on following it to a T, but want to use it as a good solid base. Especially the workout routine.

    But if anyone has any suggestions for a workout routine thats better for weight loss I'm all ears to listen.

    At this point I'm losing weight and shaping up, which I'm super happy about. I'm just ready to shake things up a little so I don't plateau. I've been severely overweight my whole life and finally had something go off in my head that I don't want to be anymore. So I'm thankful for the helpful suggestions and input.
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