Why Order of Exercises Matter

Structuring your sweat sessions

A well-developed, organized and methodical approach to my clients’ fitness endeavors is a must, along with the key foundational concepts of our bodies’ intricate and delicate balance of energy transfer, especially when their goal is to alter body composition and decrease body fat.

Another key point to consider is the order of exercises or the organizational strategy. When building your weightlifting routines into your schedule, a smarter approach is to complete weight training before cardiovascular work.

If you complete your cardiovascular work first, your glycogen stores will be depleted, which is the body’s preferred energy substrate for higher intensity exercise and will also aid you in lifting heavier weights, increasing your strength and building lean tissue.

Also, during cardiovascular work, the hormone cortisol is released. This hormone is also released during weight-training, with the addition of testosterone, and this hormonal shift helps to increase energy and promote muscle growth and recovery. When cardiovascular work is completed first, there is not a concurrent release of testosterone, which can defeat muscle building goals.

Regarding fat loss, studies indicate that lipolysis, or the release of fatty acids, takes up to 30 minutes to ensue during exercise.

Therefore, in terms of fat burning, by the time you begin your cardio work, the body shifts the macromolecules being used for energy from glucose to fatty acids.

The body can mobilize and use these free fatty acids (FFA’s) which come from the lipids in the adipose tissue and sit primarily under the skin. By utilizing fatty acids for its energy, both body fat reduction, and muscle preservation gets accomplished, since the majority of fuel utilized after this duration is the fatty acids, with muscle protein being used at a much lesser rate.

Other strategies include completing cardiovascular work and weight training on separate days or completing two sessions a day, with recovery time and nutrition planned accordingly, but the takeaway here is to maximize your body’s natural energy processes and fat burning modalities.

If you complete your resistance training and cardiovascular work during one workout, an important consideration is completing your resistance work first.

Yours in Health and Fitness,

Lindsay Kent