It has been practiced for years in typical training programs to warm up by doing cardio and then get into weight training. The concept of warming up through intensity and increasing your heartrate is still important but more recent studies show why twenty to thirty minutes of cardio before weights is inefficient for the goals of lifting and endurance. First let’s dive into why it’s important to retain your energy stores for weightlifting.
The importance of energy for effective muscle building.
Have you ever heard of Glycogen? Glycogen is an energy source stored in our muscles that our body makes from carbohydrates (carbs). We store glycogen to use as energy. It plays an important role in exercise because without energy it becomes difficult to move our bodies efficiently. Glycogen is especially important in muscle recovery and muscle building.
If we use all our energy during cardio, we have nothing to give for our strength portion of our workouts. One of the main reasons it’s important to weight train before cardio is because after about 40 minutes of cardio our glycogen stores are depleted. If we head over to do weights after these stores are gone, we lack energy which mean lifting becomes more difficult and less efficient in building muscle.
How is weight training first better for muscle gain and fat loss?
If we weight train first we use our glycogen stores very cost-effectively because our muscles are feeling strong and energized and we can push our muscles to their potential. This also means when we head over to do our cardio once our weight training is complete our body is now in a ketosis and strictly burning fat while running. This means you can run for 20 minutes and burn fat for the entire 20 minutes rather than running for an hour and only burning fat for the last twenty minutes of that hour.
The importance of replenishing glycogen stores post workout.
Replenishing glycogen stores through carbohydrates and protein is especially important for individuals doing aerobic and resistance training. Carbohydrates (glycogen) intensify workout performance and duration, which is important if your goals are to increase strength and endurance. While during the workout your goal is to use up all these stores to build muscle and reduce fat, replacing them afterwards is key in building muscle, healing muscle, and restoring your energy for your next workout.