Typically, when I go to the gym, I like to start my workouts with a 20-30-minute cardio session, move on to abs, then finish the workout with weights. But lately, I feel like my usual routine hasn’t been doing much for me, so I figured I’d switch it up… or pump it up.
In the past few weeks I’ve started doing cardio for an extra 20 minutes along with my typical weightlifting, and damn do I sweat! You know what they say, when the body’s sweating, the fat is crying :). But even though I was a human version of the Niagara Falls, I found out that my extra cardio wasn’t actually burning the fat like I thought it was doing. These tears meant nothing!
A friend of mine and a 24 Hour Fitness trainer who works at the gym I go to in Orange, Brady McManus, stopped me while I was ahead and gave me a helpful tip. Boosting up my cardio was the right idea, but he told me to keep doing what I was doing. It turns out, I didn’t need to add any minutes on the treadmill at all.
His tip: Just flip the routine.
Start off weightlifting AND THEN do your cardio session. (He recommends to stretch and do warm up cardio for 10 minutes before lifting though to warm up the body).
Here’s why according Brady:
“The best way for the body to burn fat while doing cardio is to have your body depicted of carbohydrates. As you intake carbs, your body stores the glycogen in the liver, then your body waits to use that as fuel. When you are walking or running or doing any form of cardio, your body can use either the stored glycogen or fat stored. The only problem is your body won’t use any fat store until glycogen is all burned up. But when your body does weight lifting first, you burn the glycogen, then when you do cardio or anabolic exercise, there is no glycogen to continue the burn and you will burn fat.”
Let me translate this science lecture for you.
Basically in order to burn fat stored in the body, you have to burn glycogen first. If you start your workout with cardio, you will start burning glycogen NOT fat.
I know what you’re thinking… “Wouldn’t weightlifting burn the fat then since I just burned the glycogen running?” Well, it doesn’t quite work that way.
“It takes longer to burn glycogen during running,” so you won’t burn enough doing that. Then when you lift weights, you’ll continue to burn glycogen, not fat, he says. “Glycogen burns faster during weightlifting. It [allows] to burn the fat when doing cardio after.”
Glycogen come from carbs – pasta, bread, potatoes, cookies… you know all the good stuff. So the first thing I thought when Brady told me all this was, “Great I’ll eat no carbs so I don’t have any glycogen! Then I can cut right to the chase and burn the fat!”
But nope. It doesn’t work that way either.
“Glycogen you can think as fuel to your tank. If you don’t eat carbs you aren’t fueling your tank. You can do low carbs but no carbs isn’t the answer.”
So there ya go. If you’re anything like me and your sick of seeing no results, burn fat quicker by doing this. I just started and you should too!