The Age-Old Cardio Question


Of all the questions physical trainers are asked by clients, those having to do with cardiovascular fitness are most popular. Because of the conflicting information that mainstream exercise science pumps out, it is not hard to see why there is so much confusion in the public.


Of all the questions physical trainers are asked by clients, those having to do with cardiovascular fitness are most popular. Because of the conflicting information that mainstream exercise science pumps out, it is not hard to see why there is so much confusion in the public.

Cardio before or after weights?

Why not do both at the same time? It is mainstream exercise fitness dogmas that are responsible for leading people to believe that weight training and cardio are two separate things to be done separately. In fact, they can be combined to create exceptional full body workouts that produce incredible results, in terms of strength endurance, overall cardiovascular fitness, and weight loss/maintenance.


3 Examples of Mixing Cardio/Weight Training


Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

50 Pushups  
15 burpees
20 Box Jumps
10 Jump Pulls
50 Crunches
Barbell Chest Press Set
Body Weight Dips  Set
2000 Meters
Lat Pulldown Set
Cable Incline Pulldown Set
Tuck Jumps
Saggital Lunges


These are all examples of circuit training, with anaerobic exercise, that can basically be anything as long as they are done one right after another. With the careful use of resting periods, which will be necessary with all three no matter what fitness level, the heart can be kept pounding in the same way it would by jumping on the cycle or treadmill for twenty minutes.


What if I want to do them separately?

Before: Doing some light cardio before working out has one big advantage and one disadvantage in anaerobic training. While it gets the blood pumping, and the joints/ligaments/tendons loosened up, it also expends energy that could otherwise be used for weight lifting. If one is strictly in the gym or working out for bulk, cardio should be skipped altogether. If on the other hand trimming down is the goal, circuit training is the way to go.


After: Once anaerobic training is complete, jumping on the stair master or going for a jog has one use in terms of bodybuilding, it cleanses the body of lactic acid and toxins released either from broken down muscle or fat tissue (provided adequate amounts of water and liquids have been consumed). The problem is, again, if someone is doing anaerobic exercise to build mass, cardio is counterproductive because it uses up calories that could be transferred into muscle.

The Simple Answer

If one is in the gym or exercises to build mass and high end strength, then cardio, other than extremely light cardio, should be low priority and it really doesn’t matter (outside personal preference) and general health whether it is done before or after. If trimming is the goal, then cardio and weight training should be combined and done simultaneously.



5 Easy Home Cardio Workouts to Kick-Start Wight Loss


It’s that time of year again. Time to set your workout, diet and weight loss goals. For many people, this means deciding to join a gym. But if you don’t like gyms or perhaps don’t have the financial means or time to join a gym, consider working out at home.

There are a wide range of cardio workouts available that you can do in or around your home. Effective cardio, weight loss and muscle building exercises are all possible. Many believe they have to join a gym to get the best results. This is the power of marketing. The truth is with enough creativity and motivation, home workouts may be the best solution especially for those new to a workout routine and are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with gyms.


There is no need to dedicate an entire room in your house to store bulky equipment or expensive sets of weights in order to see results. The following is a list of the top five cardio workouts you can perform from the comfort of your home, or around your neighborhood, and still get effective weight loss and muscle building results.


Top 5 Home Cardio Workouts


1. DVDs and Online Workouts

There are hundreds of workout DVDs to choose from. If you prefer looking online, try searching for online streaming workouts. There are many subscription websites available for general fitness, yoga, Pilates and much more. Today, people have access to more fitness videos than ever before. For those looking to lose weight, choose any DVD or online service that advertises at least 40 minutes of aerobic activity.


If you’re looking to build or tone muscle, look for workouts that use a light set of hand weights. You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars on a complicated set of weights. Women will benefit from 3, 5 and 8 pound weights, while men will see results with 10, 12 and 15 pound weights. You’ll get an effective workout and not have to worry about where to store your weights- just roll them under your bed or the couch until you need them again.


If you’re hoping to lose weight and build muscle, look for a workout that offers cardio and strength training segments. These types of workouts keep your heart pumping, which burns fat and calories, while pushing your muscles to shape up with the help of hand weights or by using your own body weight as resistance. Another popular choice are martial arts based workouts, like kick boxing. You won’t need any weights for these workouts and you will certainly get the best of both worlds, as far as cardio and strength training goes.


2. Home Drills

Another effective way to get a workout in for busy people is what is referred to as “at home drills.” Carve out three, ten minute segments out of your day. During those ten minute sessions, do a series of jumping jacks, jump rope, and running in place (high knees, butt kicks) or simply running up and down your set of stairs. Do these three times per day and your results will be the same as someone who spends a solid 30 minutes working out each day.


3. Walking/Hiking 

People underestimate the effectiveness of a daily walk or hike around their neighborhood. Mothers of young children should especially consider taking up this type of cardio activity most days of the week. Get a good cardiovascular workout while getting the kids out of the house at the same time. You can get an incredibly effective workout on a simple walk from your home to the local park.


You’ll get bonus points if you’re pushing your little one(s) in a stroller! Don’t make the mistake of only dawdling through the neighborhood. To get maximum results, you want your heart rate to accelerate and you want to break a sweat. Add some variety by stopping every other house you pass up and do a set of squats, or even dropping to the ground and doing a set of pushups.  Adding strength training to your cardio workout routine will burn fat faster than just performing cardio alone.


4. Swimming

If you have access to a swimming pool at your home or as part of your community take advantage of it. Swimming is a wonderful way to get an effective cardio workout in. One hour of swimming can easily burn 500 calories. The best part is you won’t ever feel yourself sweating! Swimming is perfect for people who’ve never worked out, those who’ve recently experienced an injury, or the elderly. It’s easy on your joints and doesn’t strain your muscles.


5. Dancing 

Hate jumping jacks? Don’t have stairs? Turn up the music and dance! In fact, get some cleaning done around the house while you’re dancing at the same time and burn twice as many calories! Pay attention to the muscles you are working. Focus on controlling your abs and exaggerate certain moves to get an even more effective workout. It’s fun, effective, and doesn’t require you embarrassing yourself in front of anyone else.


There are obviously many more things you can do to get an effective workout at home – even some video games are popular options. But remember, no matter what you do, you should find joy in it. You may discover a new love for yoga or dance. You may decide that swimming is your best option. The idea is to create a healthier lifestyle by developing a sustainable workout routines – and it’s different for everyone. If you are not enjoying yourself, chances are you won’t stick with it and you’ll fall short on your new year’s resolutions. If you’ve never exercised before, check with your doctor before beginning any new program.


Nathan Joynt is a health expert an advocate for healthy, natural living. He works for Gaiam Inc, producers of award-winning yoga videos.