Should you do cardio before or after resistance training to have the maximum effect on fat loss? Well, let’s just say it’s complicated.
Don’t worry though; Yours Truly has come up with a spectacular analogy for understanding some pretty complex shit about how our bodies use energy.
But in order to truly appreciate the analogy, you need to hear the complex shit first.
When we’re talking about energy, we need to talk about two different processes or pathways: aerobic and anaerobic.
Is Cardio Best for Fat Loss: A Brief Science Lesson
In aerobic pathways (activities such as running, biking, swimming, and rowing), 1 molecule of glycogen gets converted to 32 ATP (this stands for adenosine triphosphate, which is just the energy that powers our muscles). We would burn through 32 ATP before we begin to use energy stored as fat.
In anaerobic pathway (activities such as weight lifting and sprinting), 1 molecule of glycogen gets converted to only 3 ATP, which means the energy stored as fat becomes fuel much more quickly.
So, should you do cardio before or after resistance training?
Is Cardio Best for Fat Loss: My Recommendation
Well, my recommendation is that if you have 40-plus pounds to lose, cardio before weights will keep your heart rate elevated, causing you to burn more calories over a longer period of time, and you will drop pounds quickly.
But if you are less than 30 pounds from your goal weight, I recommend that you do resistance training first, then add in some cardio.
Is Cardio Best for Fat Loss: A Helpful Analogy
And now, with no further ado, and hopefully much less confusion, here is an analogy for anyone who just really likes analogies:
Trying to lose weight through cardio is like digging for gold with a shovel, it takes 32 scoops to get to the gold. You will get there, but it takes a lot longer.
Trying to lose weight with resistance training, on the other hand, is like digging for gold with a backhoe. It only takes 3 scoops to get to the gold with all that diesel-powered equipment.
If you want to hear more about where cardio fits in your workout, and if it’s the best for fat loss, listen to today’s podcast. You’ll also learn my recommendations for
- What type of cardio is best
- How often to do cardio
- What technique to use when doing cardio
Plus, find out why I wear a man bun.