The crocodile paradox
When we say paradox, we are talking about the concept of cross-training. The idea of improving your athletic performance by combining several workouts into one training schedule is hailed as one of the best ways of achieving fitness goals in a double-quick time. While this technique is certainly helpful in improving the overall wellness and mobility of athletes, it does raise some serious questions which must be answered before adopting and adapting to cross-training routines. And one of the key questions that need to be answered in this debate is, should you run first or lift first?
Now, we can understand why the answer to this question is not a straightforward one. But a novice to the field has misgivings about taking a step in either direction, so we are going to elucidate this bit further before we proceed in this discussion. The primary reason for the confusion here is the presence of too many variables. You see, in the world of fitness, your approach is determined by your goals. Are you an enthusiastic gainer? Or just an athlete who wants to build stamina that the Greek heroes would be proud of? How much time are you willing to give to your gym routine? These are only some of the many questions which need to be answered before you make up your mind about running (cardio) or lifting (weights).
Have you set your goals?
Like we said earlier, you need to set your goals first before you can take a step in either direction. And the goals you set must be based on some sort of information! Folks, we have seen efforts worth hours go down the drain, simply because there wasn’t sufficient thought process behind the setting of goals in the first place. We would hate it if you make that mistake, especially after reading these lines! Now, we know that most of you are eager to lift because it will help you achieve that perfect physique you have been after all this time. So we will focus more on running and the benefits it can endow your body with. Firstly, opting for running means that your body will have a much improved aerobic capacity. It is a given that your stamina will improve, but what most articles on the web are not telling you about running is how it will impact your muscular endurance. Massive improvement there as well! And lastly, running sharpens the overall sense of balance of an athlete quite dramatically as well.
What should be your first option?
Now, we know that we have raised your curiosity to such a level that you are the cat who will get killed in a minute if we don’t give you a straight answer soon enough. So, if we were to give you a one-liner answer to your query, it would be something like this: Want to build muscles? Run first, lift later: Want to build endurance? Lift first, run later. Read this line at least three times before you get what we are trying to say here.
Now, we know that some of you want to achieve both these objectives simultaneously. But it looks as if this is almost out of question, you can have only one bite at the cherry. It looks like that, but it is not true! You see, if you can devise a workout approach that keeps your body guessing, you will be able to achieve both these goals at the same time. Sounds mental, but is far from it! Folks, you need to plan your workouts in such a manner that keeps your body guessing. Avoid two days of the same nature, and here, nature refers to lifting or running. What will that approach mean for your body? Following benefits, to name a few!
1- Your metabolism will improve in a magical, almost mythical, manner.
2- Your aching, fatigued body muscles will have enough time to recover.
3- You will feel much more confident in achieving your ultimate goal, which in most cases, is weight loss.
4- Ninety percent of you know it already, but worth a reminder here anyways. Lifting sculpts your body, running burns your calories. Now imagine the effects of a deadly combo, in which you are paying attention to workouts of both natures.
Update your routine, add some protein!
Cardio is not about just running. Mate, this is the 21st century we are living in, and the ways of increasing our aerobic capacity have evolved considerably in the last few decades or so. No, running alone doesn’t define cardio anymore. Rather, you need to engage in a much more challenging routine. Your body must feel challenged from more than one angle, cardio is not all about making you huffy & puffy. The same follows for lifting. We will not play the ultimate pro here and devise a weight lifting plan for you without knowing your BMI specifics and stamina. But we will recommend you to consult only the best in the business, who can conjure up a perfect plan that is by your capacity and ability. And oh for heaven’s sake, please beef up your post-workout diet with some proteins. Your body needs and deserves them! Cardio in particular can deplete your energy reservoirs to a very low level, make sure that you are eating well to replete them after high-intensity workouts.
Look at the time, we are already scribbling the concluding remarks! We hope that you learned something new from this discussion about the gym choices that you have to make soon. If you keep searching the web, you are likely to come across many articles, which are pretty much one-dimensional. They crunch some illogical numbers, quote a fabricated example, and just throw their verdict in your face. Not the stuff you should be reading before making such an important decision! We have explained which achieves what, it is your call from here onwards. On that honest note, we bid you farewell from this discussion!