Is there a right time for doing aerobic exercise?


You must have already asked yourself the optimal time for aerobic activity. Well, there’s no right or wrong answer; it is more a case of finding the most efficient way of achieving your goals

Let’s understand this better by considering four different scenarios:

Aerobics before weight training

If you aim to get in shape and generally improve your fitness, aerobic exercises like cycling, running, swimming, or getting on a cross-trainer is the best way to get started. This activity will help your heart, lungs and cardio-respiratory system distribute oxygen around your body, improving your stamina. As the main aim is not to increase muscle strength or size, you won’t need to worry about saving energy for muscle hypertrophy. In addition, your metabolism will remain accelerated for longer, and you’ll keep burning calories whilst you train. Another thing: running after weight-lifting is much more challenging and increases the risk of injuries.

Aerobics before weight training

In this case, try to opt for circuit training, which combines weight training and cardio activities without rest periods. This kind of workout burns up to 30% more calories than when the two types of activities are done separately. The heart beats faster in circuit training, so more calories are burnt. It’s a good option for those with little time to go to the gym.

Aerobics after weight training

Opting for cardio exercises after weight training is good for muscle definition. The advantage is that by starting with weights, you can lift heavier loads, given that your body is rested, which is more conducive to muscle hypertrophy. Whenever we start any physical activity, our body uses a reserve of energy called muscle glycogen. The muscles use this reserve during intense activities before your body burns fat. Weight lifting is a high-intensity activity that quickly uses up your glycogen, making it easier to burn fat. Be careful; you must keep the cardio short – about 30 minutes. Any more than that, you risk losing lean body mass and increasing the risk of injury.

Aerobics and weight training on alternative days

Generally, people who practice a specific aerobic sport, such as running, cycling or swimming, use this kind of training routine. This type of workout is usually one of long duration and high intensity and tends to take place away from the gym, like in local parks. Weight training is done on a separate day as a complementary activity to improve overall performance and strengthen joints.

As we have seen, it only matters a little if you do your cardio before, during or after your weight training. What is essential, however, is always to remember to have a quick warm-up before beginning any physical activity. Warming up will improve your blood circulation, enabling your body to transport nutrients to the muscles and reducing the risk of injury.

Have a goal, go after it and never give up!


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About Author

She holds a degree in Physical Education, is 48 years old, and has worked for the past 30 years as a personal trainer. She used to enjoy running, but a problem with her foot has begun to limit one of her passions. She loves travelling to the beach, likes animals and loves her daughter, Giulia!