When is the best time to do cardio?

Uprise Nutrition | Big UPeople's opinions can differ widely on this subject. Many people mistakenly think that it is better to do cardio prior to their resistance training session because they feel that it is a good warmup. Well, those people may be missing out on gains! While this may sound like a good idea, it's actually not the optimal way of structuring your training. In fact, there are two times of the day that are preferred for doing your cardio:

  1. First thing in the morning, upon waking up, in a fasted state (a.k.a. fasted cardio).
  2. AFTER your weight training (resistance training) session.
The reason behind doing fasted cardio is that your glycogen levels are going to be naturally depleted, so your body is more likely to use body fat as an energy source. Recall that glycogen is essentially your body's reserve of carbohydrates that have been tucked away in your muscles for energy. Your growth hormone and cortisol levels are also higher upon waking, both of which help facilitate the breakdown of fat as an energy source. But keep in mind that if you're going to do your cardio first thing in the morning, it's best to take a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplement along with glutamine prior to your cardio session to prevent the potential catabolic effects of not having any calories available in your system.

If your schedule limits you from doing your cardio first thing in the morning, opt for doing it after your resistance training session. This way, you will have used your glycogen levels to fuel your training session. If you do your cardio session before resistance training, you will not be able to maximize lifting with a progressive overload, and you will fatigue much quicker, leading to diminished performance with the weights. However, if you switch the order and train with weights first, you will deplete your glycogen levels and place your body in a prime position to breakdown fat to fuel your cardio session.

Remember, if you have the time, we prefer that you split up your cardio and resistance training sessions, performing cardio first thing in the morning and your resistance training in the evening. This is a balanced approach to optimizing your body composition and provides two different opportunities to stimulate your body and maximize each session for its intended purpose.

Remember - We all RISE Together,
~ Team Uprise

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