I’ve been working out for years and have seen many different types of people come in and out of the gym. There are some who want to lose weight, but they don’t know how to do it. There are also others who want to lose weight, but they don’t like working out because of how hard it can be.

If you’re one of those people who likes to work out but you hate how hard it is, then this article is definitely for you!

I’ve seen many people ask whether they should run before or after a workout. The answer is: either way will give you results!

If you’re trying to lose weight, running before a workout might be better because it will get your heart rate up faster than if you were to run after your workout. After all, when you’re doing cardio exercise (like running), your body is using more oxygen than usual and that means that more calories are being burned during that time period than usual too! This means that if you were to run before your workout, then chances are that when we add up all those extra calories burned by the increased heart rate from running plus all those extra calories burned from the actual workout itself (which would total about double what

Run Before Or After Workout For Weight Loss

In today’s modern training age, many runners understand that to train effectively, they must do more than just run.

Cross-training is now accepted as the best universal strategy for improving athletic performance, mobility, and overall feelings of wellness. Taking on a cross-training routine means that your workouts will vary, you’ll target your heart rate, challenge different muscle groups, and engage both slow and fast twitch muscles.

Perhaps the reason the question, “Should I lift or do cardio first?” is not easily answered is because the answer depends on many variables:

  • What are your overall fitness goals?
  • What are you looking to gain?
  • How do you want to improve?

If you scour all of your resources looking for an answer, you’ll likely be left with conflicting information. A recent article by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research even suggests that it doesn’t matter which type of exercise you perform first or last. They say you’ll experience a hormone surge either way.

For many, that may come as encouraging news. You can stop obsessing over the order in which you lift and run. However, it’s always helpful to gain a greater understanding of what your body is undergoing during exercise and what that means for health and weight loss.

What are your goals?

Many runners don’t have specific goals. Running is likely a part of your life because you enjoy what it does for you, the health benefits it provides, and how it makes you feel. That said, you’re likely seeking the “best” training plan because you want to get better in some way.

“Getting better” in regard to running means improving your:

  • aerobic capacity
  • stamina
  • muscular endurance
  • leg strength and ability to generate power over a sustained period of time
  • mobility and flexibility
  • your overall sense of balance

It would be unreasonable to assume that everyone’s goal is to be a better runner. Perhaps your goals are to lose weight or trim your waistline of a few pesky pounds you accumulated over the winter months. For you, the best training approach is to keep your body guessing. Plan your workouts so that no two back-to-back days are the same. This is the best approach because it:

  • ramps up your metabolism
  • gives your sore muscles time to recover, avoiding burnout and fatigue
  • keeps you mentally stimulated and motivated to conquer your weight loss goals
  • gives your body the fat-burning and body-sculpting benefits of weight training coupled with the calorie-burning perks of cardiovascular exercise

How to train for your goals

The short answer that everyone is looking for can be condensed. If you want to build muscle, run first. If you want to build your endurance and aerobic capacity, run last.

Essentially, your body’s adaptive response is greater for the type of exercise that you finish your workout doing. Thus, a workout concluded with weights will trigger muscle growth more effectively, while a workout ending in a run will enhance your body’s aerobic endurance.

If losing weight or toning up is more important to you than performance, then also consider that resistance training first depletes your body’s stored carbohydrates, encouraging your body to tap into fat stores as you jump into cardiovascular training afterward. In other words, doing cardio last will ramp up the fat-burning capacity of your workout.

Another approach is to simply combine both ideals. Losing weight will be accomplished at a high rate if you look to challenge your muscles and heart rate throughout all of your weekly workouts. Plan your workouts by running at the beginning of your workout three times a week and then running last for the remaining two to three weekly workouts.

Incorporating weight training into your routine can help retain muscle mass during a weight loss program. Keep in mind that a calorie-heavy diet is far more responsible for women becoming bulky as a result of lifting, not the actual training itself. Replacing a few pounds of fat with muscle on your frame will actually keep your resting metabolism higher and your physique looking more toned and athletic.

Another effective way to lose weight by combining cardio and lifting is to do interval workouts. This involves alternating back and forth between running and lifting. It will cause your heart rate to skyrocket and keep you stimulated, especially if you struggle with treadmill boredom.

Out with the old approaches

Do your best to ditch the “just run” mentality in regard to running. In other words, accept that to be your best, you need to engage in dynamic exercise that challenges your body in a multitude of ways.

Strength training will make you an exponentially more prepared runner, as it will vastly improve the strength of your running foundation: your legs.

A word on nutrition

Since your anaerobic pathways (those triggered during resistance training) remain open and active longer when you do weight training last, it’s also crucial to follow up with a post-workout source of protein. It’s during this brief window after a workout that your body is craving protein for growth, thus protein synthesis is happening rapidly at this time.

Your energy stores become depleted during a period of cardiovascular exercise. It’s best to reach for a meal with some kind of healthy carbohydrates to replenish these blood sugar levels.

Next steps

Though workout planning is vital to achieving your goals, it’s important to pay close attention to your diet. This will help you maximize your results and how quickly your body recovers. A speedy recovery means more functional workouts, which means more growth and progress.

Does Weightlifting Help Women Lose Weight?

If you’re looking to lose weight, you may wonder which type of workout will best help you shed those pounds, and you may have looked into weightlifting for women.

This article explains whether weightlifting helps women lose weight, along with other helpful tips.

a woman lifting weights
Minamoto images/Stocksy United

Does lifting weights make you bulky?

Weightlifting — also known as resistance training — was once reserved for bodybuilders due to the myth that lifting weights makes you look bulky.

However, while you can build muscle with weightlifting, becoming bulky is difficult. In order to build substantial muscle mass, you need to lift heavy weights and eat more calories than you burn — and even then, it can take months to years.

Further, women typically have lower levels of anabolic — muscle-building — hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, which means it’s harder for them to gain muscle mass.

Factors such as genetics, diet, and body type, as well as exercise load, volume, and intensity, also affect the rate and extent to which you can build muscle.

If you’re worried that you’ll suddenly bulk up from lifting weights, rest assured you won’t.

SUMMARY

It’s difficult for most women to build substantial muscle mass due to their low levels of anabolic hormones like testosterone, which are needed for muscle synthesis. Thus, you don’t need to worry about looking bulky from lifting weights.

Does it help you lose weight?

In order to lose weight and burn fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit, which can be achieved in three main ways:

  1. eating fewer calories per day than you need
  2. burning more calories through exercise than you consume
  3. a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity

Though lifting weights can burn calories, it’s not the most efficient way to do so. Cardiorespiratory training, also known as cardio — which includes running, cycling, and swimming — burns more calories per workout session than weight training.

However, weightlifting can support weight loss by building muscle mass. Simply put, muscles are metabolically efficient and support weight loss by burning more calories at rest. Thus, it’s typically best to add both weight training and cardio to your workout regimen.

Research also suggests that your metabolic rate is increased after weight training, meaning you’re still burning additional calories hours after your workout has ended. In fact, studies have shown that your metabolic rate can stay elevated for up to 72 hours after a workout.

When you lose weight, you’re not losing pure fat — rather, you’re losing fat mass, glycogen stores, and muscle. Weight training helps preserve muscle mass during weight loss, thus increasing fat loss and keeping your metabolism from changing too much.

Although weight training will contribute to fat loss, you may not see a large change in the number on the scale, depending on your starting weight and goals. That’s because muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body pound for pound.

Therefore, as you lose fat and gain muscle, you may lose inches from your waistline but see no change on the scale.

All in all, adding weight training to your workout routine along with cardio exercise and a healthy diet is a great way to support weight loss.

SUMMARY

Weight training can support weight loss by burning calories during and after workouts and by preserving muscle mass to prevent your metabolism from slowing down.

Other benefits

Weight training provides numerous other benefits in addition to weight loss.

You’ll appear leaner

Muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body. Therefore, as you build muscle and lose fat, you will naturally appear leaner and smaller.

What’s more, having stronger and larger muscles will give your body more definition. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t tone your muscles, but building muscles and losing fat showcases muscle definition, creating a stronger, leaner look.

You’ll be stronger

A major benefit of weight training is that you’ll get stronger.

Gaining strength makes daily activities like carrying groceries and playing with your kids easier. Plus, it lowers your risk of falls and injuries since you’re better able to support your body.

Weight training is also crucial for bone development because it puts temporary stress on your bones, which signals to your body to rebuild them stronger. This can reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially as you age.

Lower risk of chronic disease

Weight training can reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and age-related conditions like sarcopenia, which is the gradual loss of muscle mass and strength related to aging (19Trusted Source20Trusted Source).

Adding both resistance training and cardio to your workout routine may boost your health even more. Both forms of exercise provide many benefits, including improved heart health and increases in lung capacity, metabolism, blood flow, and muscle mass.

SUMMARY

Benefits of weight training include stronger muscles and bones, reduced risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and a leaner appearance.

How to start

Before starting a new workout regimen, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider to make sure the plan is safe and right for you. Once you have clearance to exercise, there are many easy ways to add it to your life.

Most experts recommend 3–5 weight training sessions per week along with days allotted for cardio and rest. The number of sessions depends on factors such as training volume, intensity, recovery days needed, and your schedule.

Theoretically, you can weight train every day but should allow 48 hours of recovery per muscle group. For example, if you train your back and shoulders on Monday, it’s best to wait until Wednesday or Thursday before training them again.

More exercise isn’t always better. The quality of your workouts is more important than the quantity. If you can fit in only 2–3 training sessions per week, you can still achieve results — just focus on good form and make sure your workouts challenge you.

Here’s an example of a 1-week exercise routine:

  • Monday: upper body training (arms, shoulders, back)
  • Tuesday: active recovery day, including cardio (walking, running, cycling, swimming)
  • Wednesday: lower body training (glutes, quads, hamstrings)
  • Thursday: active recovery, including cardio (walking, running, cycling, swimming) and a core workout
  • Friday: optional training day (lower body or upper body training)
  • Saturday: full-body high intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Sunday: rest day with light stretching or a light workout (like yoga or Pilates)

You can also combine workouts if you can’t exercise this often. For example, combine upper body training with HIIT and lower body training with a core workout.

Depending on the intensity of your workouts, you may need more rest days. If you’re very sore in the days following your weight training, consider adding some light stretching or yoga to your routine.

While it may feel good to lie on the couch when you’re sore, try to get up and move a bit. This will allow your muscles to rest while encouraging blood flow and active recovery.

Ultimately, the best way to keep yourself safe and avoid injury is to listen to and respect your body and know your limits.

Remember that the best exercise is a type that you can sustain long term. If you find a workout routine that fits into your lifestyle and schedule, you’ll be more likely to stick to it, enjoy it, and get the results you’re looking for.

If you want more guidance, consider working with a physical trainer, who can provide personalized recommendations to help you reach your unique goals.

SUMMARY

Try to incorporate 3–5 weight training sessions per week into your workout regimen along with cardio and rest days.

Nutrition

While weightlifting can support weight loss, paying attention to your nutrition is another important factor. Weightlifting burns calories, but you’ll need to pair it with a suitable diet to achieve noticeable weight loss.

You can reach a calorie deficit by exercising regularly and eating slightly fewer calories. Research has consistently found this to be an effective, sustainable strategy for weight loss.

What’s more, if you’re looking to build muscle and strength, it’s important to refuel your body with adequate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Though it depends on your goals, your body size, and other factors, most people should aim to get 20–40 grams of protein per meal or around 0.6–0.9 grams per pound (1.4–2.0 grams per kg) of body weight per day to maintain muscle during weight loss.

In addition, make sure to include foods containing healthy fats and complex carbs in your diet to properly fuel your workouts and recovery. These foods are likely to be high in beneficial nutrients, and they can help keep you feeling full longer.

SUMMARY

Pairing weightlifting with a nutritious diet will support weight loss goals. Aim for 20–40 grams of protein per meal or 0.6–0.9 grams per pound (1.4–2.0 grams per kilogram) of body weight per day, along with a diet rich in complex carbs and healthy fats.

The bottom line

Weightlifting is beneficial for women at any age and will not make you bulky. Rather, it can help create a lean, stronger look.

It helps you build strength and muscle and reduces your risk of chronic diseases, and it can promote weight loss.

A workout regimen that includes weight training days targeting various muscle groups, as well as cardio and a nutritious diet with adequate protein, will support your weight loss efforts.

While most experts recommend aiming for 3–5 weight training sessions per week, incorporating any weight training into your exercise regimen will be beneficial.

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