When is the best time to work out?

Timing workouts

Knowing the best time to work out can yield better results.

When we do reps of strength training, we produce lactic acid. The same occurs when we do moderate to high intensity cardio which results in that burn in our legs. Essentially, this occurs at any time when you complete activity for longer than 30 seconds without resting. The heart takes this acid as fuel and removes it quickly and effectively, especially with cardio. But remember, doing cardio before resistance training removes any energy that has been stored in the muscle and lowers your ability to perform at the high level necessary for results with resistance training.

Therefore, the best time for cardio is in fact after lifting weights. We need energy in the muscle to perform our resistance training and it’s true that we probably won’t use all our stores doing the cardio. The issue then lies in the fact that we also need energy in the muscles to recover quickly. Fat use with cardio takes approximately 15 minutes to kick in whereas with resistance training, this process starts almost immediately.

Another time to do effective cardio for fat burning is first thing in the morning.  Keep in mind that when you consume calories your body will use these as fuel and then proceed to attack your fat stores. So before you start exercising, have a snack that includes low GI carbohydrates and protein such as one slice wholemeal tost and half a banana or one apple and 10 cashews.

The harder you breathe the more fat you burn, regardless of whether you’re doing cardiovascular exercise or resistance training. It is highly likely if you train with weights to your full potential, you will actually burn more fat lifting weights than running.

The best plan of attack for you may be as follows:

  • Early morning cardio should be done first thing in the morning. Have your water and protein and get running.
  • Ensure your cardio workout  later in the day is being performed after your weights training. Lift first and run later. You can complete a few minutes of cardio to warm up for your weights, but now that you know weights will burn more fat than cardio, you should be making the weights your focus. Reduce the time you take between sets and ensure you are puffing just as you would with HIIT cardio.
  • Late cardio. The last thing in your day should be your cardio. Complete this a minimum of two hours before bed to give you ample time to relax and unwind. This can be your second session for the day (included after your weights) or in fact your third session if you are more advanced and completed your HIIT for 20 minutes with the earlier weights session.