Everyone has a different routine when going to the gym, some prefer to do cardio before weight training and others prefer to leave it for later.
But if you are one of those who leave anaerobic exercises for after cardio, let me explain what happens when you do this: cardiovascular exercise consumes the glycogen of your muscles. So, when you leave the weights for later, your muscles cannot perform their maximum effort, since they are fatigued, they don’t have enough energy and you will not be able to do the repetitions properly nor lifting the necessary amount of weight.
On the other hand, if you do cardio after your workout, you will deplete most of your carbohydrate reserves and burn more fat for a longer time, since your body will use fat as fuel, your muscles will be fresh, that way you will be able to fulfill your routine correctly and your muscles will be able to grow much more.
It’s important that you know this, since no one who is seriously training wants to lose muscle mass and become a “skinny fat”, which are those bodies that despite not being fat, their fat level is very high and this make it harder to lose weight.
To keep growing muscle mass, it’s necessary to keep these three things in mind:
1. Stimulate the muscle, reaching 80-100% of your maximum resistance per day.
2. Eat properly, especially proteins.
3. Rest, avoid exercising the same muscle two days in a row.
Another option is to do the cardio just when you wake up in the morning, (make sure that routine doesn’t last more than 45min), this way you will lose more fats, since the insulin levels are low and as you have not eaten, there is not enough glycogen in the body, that’s why your body will use fat as a source of energy and you will not wear out your muscles.
If you want your exercises to give better results, I recommend starting with a warm-up and stretching of no more than 5 minutes, then go for the weights and continue with 30 or 45 minutes of soft cardio, during those minutes you will burn more fats and you will get more muscular mass, that way you get the best of both types of exercises.
For people who want to grow their muscles much more, it’s advisable to do interval cardio or “strategic cardio”, which consists on separating the days of weight training from the days of cardio.
However, combining strength and cardio at the same time can be a good long-term focus. Currently there are very popular “hybrid programs”, which require both, strength and cardiovascular capacity. These fitness classes combine running, rowing and push-ups or squats, creating a hybrid athlete and not a specialist.