Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could work smarter rather than harder and get the same—if not better—results? Well, guess what? We can! It turns out this concept applies to our work life and our workout life. So, let’s do this!
Lifting Before Cardio
Nobody wants to kill themselves at the gym, but we all want to get in a quality workout. Regardless if we’re tired, pressed for time, or just not motivated on a particular day, we want to make the most of our workout while we’re there. After all, we’ve made it the gym, and on some days, that’s half the battle. If you plan to do both weights and cardio, we suggest doing any weight training before hitting the treadmill.
Yes, this has been a hotly-debated topic for many a generation, but popular opinion and science seems to be now firmly on the side of lifting before cardio. The reason is simple: weight lifting doesn’t deplete your glycogen stores as badly as it does during cardio workouts, and you’ll want to be as rested and as “fresh” as possible when lifting weights because you’ll need all your energy to have the most effective workout.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’t do 5-10 minutes of stretching and cardio to get your blood flowing as a warm-up. This makes sense. Just don’t plan to climb 10,000 stairs or take an hour-long spin class before pumping that iron.
While we’re talking about weight training, keep in mind the importance of your form when you are using both free weights and machines. While most machines were designed to help inform those less schooled on proper form, sometimes these machines can never offer enough guidance. We still see people doing ridiculous things on benches, bars, cables—you name it—in the name of a good workout. But, really, all they’re giving us is a hearty laugh.
If you’re unsure of how to use a particular machine or what the correct form is for a new exercise you’d like to try, ask someone. Chuze staff members are super-friendly, and many of them are well-informed on proper form. If they’re not, they certainly can point you in the right direction to get that guidance.
Stay Hydrated and Eat!
You should be drinking water all day long, but it’s even more important while working out. Your muscles, your body, your brain need H2O to get through a workout and have you perform at your peak level. Even if you’re on some kind of diet to lose weight, you need to eat as well. It’s also important to keep in mind what to eat and when.
We’ve covered this topic several times in our blog, but refresher courses are always good, right? Before a workout, you want to make sure your body is stocked up on energy. If you don’t eat before a workout, you risk having low blood sugar, which can make you tired and light-headed. These maladies will make you struggle through your reps (if you can even make it through). Fruits and yogurt are a great energy kick (we love bananas before a workout), so stay healthy and introduce these to your mouth an hour or two before the gym. No Whoppers before weight lifting.
After your workout, you’ll want to repair muscles, restore depleted energy reserves, and stabilize your blood sugar. This means you’ll want to pack these meals with protein to feed those fatigued muscles and let them grow. Your metabolism will likely be at a higher rate, too, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you should toss a bucket of KFC down your throat. Be smart about what you eat—and when you eat—to keep your health and fitness goals in check.