When you go to the gym, what's your first concern? How do you begin your workout? Most people head straight to the treadmill, because to them, that's the norm. It's almost like a tradition, and there's this belief that that's the only way to warm up. Some people, when working out, go from the treadmill or any other cardio equipment to another, bouncing around from the treadmill to the elliptical, spin bike, and possibly the stair-master or row machine. For some years now, I've wondered and asked myself, why do people do that? I conjured up this idea that people who are looking to lose weight feel as though they need more cardio and that multiple machines in intervals will help them burn fat either faster or easier.
If you are someone that does this and for that very reason, I want you to know that it's unnecessary and does not, by any means, help with weight loss. All the cardio machines you see in the gym work differently, and some are more challenging than others, but they all help you burn calories and sweat, so it's okay to stick to one for your workout, but on different days alternate your favorites ones.
Another aspect of how you workout is stretching, many gym-goers seem to neglect this, and for that, it increases the risk of cramps and not having a full range of motion simply because you haven't loosened up your muscles. I believe that there's such a focus on the "WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT" part that people deem this useless. Stretching is very significant, and you should be implementing it into your exercise routine. I know the fun stuff is somewhere between cardio and weightlifting, but trust me when I say your body will thank you, not to mention you'll feel a whole lot better.
Speaking of weightlifting, when is the best time to begin that? Should you do cardio first or weightlifting first. Going back to stretching should that be done before the cardio? Or before strength training? Or maybe at the end. These are all questions that we come across as we try to embark on this fitness journey. The goal of doing it "RIGHT" because we want the best results possible.
In this article im going to go over how you should begin and end your workout. I will also explain the reasoning behind why you should follow this regimen. Keep in mind that depending on your fitness goals, these suggestions that I will discuss can change and are designed for anyone aiming to decrease their body fat and or build muscle. If you are seeking to remove unwanted fat, your workout should still be of someone trying to build muscle because that's the best method to get rid of excess body fat and keep it off.
These recommendations are also for the everyday average individual who is looking to get in shape, look better, feel stronger, increase their energy levels, and their endurance as well as their stamina. Also, it's possible to have a professional athlete's body without the lifestyle. You do not have to compete in bodybuilding, powerlifting, or professional marathon running to build muscle, increase strength, or run long distances. Lastly, before we begin, I want to share that if you're looking to gain mass and size than your calories will have to increase, and if you are someone with the goal of fat loss, then calories should decrease.
Now, this recommendation changes if you are someone with a big goal of getting stronger. Someone looking for strength would do very light cardio, cardio last, or not at all. The reason for this is because you wouldn't want to waste any energy on cardio because that's not the main focus. The fact that your looking for strength means that you'll probably lift heavy and every ounce of fuel you have will be needed. Remember your calories are essential and you need to eat a lot. You'll need that food to help you push through those challenging workouts. You're probably asking well how does that person looking for strength warm-up? That person should do very light cardio after lifting, doing so before isn't best but, It's really up to them. Some individuals don't engage in any cardio at all for fear of losing muscle or taking longer to reach their goals for lack of calories. For that reason, that person might warm up with the free weight to get some blood circulating the same way someone else warms-up with the elliptical or treadmill. The term for this is "Warm-Up Sets" and will be discussed further along.
Someone looking for general fitness, lifting moderate weight wouldn't have to worry about this issue. The cardio aspect should not leave them exhausted or unable to lift. Also, they do not need a high number of calories for their goals.
Lastly, this is an excellent way to structure your workout program. Operating in this order will help prepare your body for what's about to come, workout injury-free, and get the best results. Remember, this is just a recommendation, and it's up to you. However, it would be in your best interest to give it a try, and if you were to jump into a different structure, be sure that you have someone help you function through it as well as explain why that structure works. When it comes to cardio, you do that based on your goals as well as strength training. Everyone's goal is different, so don't follow someone you see in the gym and think you should follow them. If you are looking to become stronger, than your priority is weights over cardio, and if you're looking for overall fitness or running a marathon than cardio should probably be done first and or add more time of it to your workout. It's up to you to find the balance of cardio and resistance training.
After reading this, I hope you have a better idea of how to plan out your workout, and please let me know what you usually do as well as what your goals are. I'm always willing to chat with someone on their fitness journey as well as answer any questions that you might have. You can email me at Obsessionfitnessnyc@gmail.com or follow and message me on Instagram @Chrisfitnyc. Also, be sure to check out my other articles on my website https://www.obsessionfitnessnyc.com/blog.
Christopher Gilbert is a Personal Trainer based in New York City and is known for his effective nutrition and workout programs along with his intense training sessions.