OT - Workout advice

Submitted by MaizeNBlue on April 14th, 2010 at 1:12 AM

So, on week days I try to run and lift during the same hour each day. Usually, I run 3-4 miles, which I'm pretty used to running. Lately I've been trying to add significant upper body strength and I was wondering if it was better to run before lifting, or vice versa. I Google-searched some results, but most of them were mixed 50-50.

I have noticed that when I lift first, I'm capable of lifting better and I can run just as well when tired (logically). The problem is, I don't want to lose everything I gain lifting if I decide to run afterwards. It'd also be very preferable if both could be done in the same workout. Any advice would be much appreciated!

EDIT: the main reason I decided to post this here is because I know there are a couple Kinese people out there who probably know better than random internet Joe



April 14th, 2010 at 9:57 AM ^

Simply put, long distance running kills upper body strength. Anything beyond 20 minutes, and you body starts to digest muscle. Especially newly constructed muscle. If you want to get a good workout in and keep up your heart health, try circuits with little rest in between. That or heavy supersets (one excersize followed by its exact opposite) work well for keeping up metabolism while creating bigger muscles. I always tell other people to look at those who are lifting weights and those who are running and decide who has the better body. Its almost always the weightlifters (I'm not talking Arnold sized men, I mean regular people). Weightlifting also keeps metabolism up much longer then running due to the increase in testosterone in your system. After running (long distance), the metabolism drops back down to normal in less then an hour.

I've gone back and forth for years, and about 2 years ago I was running 6 miles every other day. I was down to 190 (I'm pretty tall) and still carried body fat in the middle. I'm back to lifting 4 days a week and eating right. I weigh 205, but I have much less body fat and look 10x better.


April 14th, 2010 at 10:46 AM ^

Here's my sample schedule if you care:

Monday: Full body (2 push ex, 2 pull ex, 2 legs, 1 bi, 1 tri)
Tuesday: Off (rest)
Wednesday: Back/Bis/Legs (Pullups, Squats, Rows, Hams, 2 bi exs)
Thursday: Shoulders/Chest/Tris (presses, delt lifts, tri exes)
Friday: Off (or light run, no more then 20 min)
Saturday: Interval run for 20 min, leg calisthenics, pushup circuit
Sunday: Off (rest only)

Works perfectly and fits my busy schedule.


April 14th, 2010 at 10:48 AM ^

Just wanted to add on to the lifting composition posts above regarding the op's workout. They are all absolutely right. Compound movements are the key. Squats, Deadlifts, Cleans (i like hang cleans especially when I'm already doing squats and deadlifts separately), Military Press, Bench Press (preferably incline). Those should be the staples of your workout. Everything else is seconday stuff. Bent rows and dips are also very good.

If you are looking to build muscle, pick on of those exercises each workout and do it early on in your workout, like right after you warm up. Then do some other secondary stuff. Next workout do a different main exercise. Focus on legs one day, chest one day, shoulders one day, back one day, etc.

Then if you want to throw in one day of arms only at some point, like once every couple weeks fine. Just make sure you are focusing more on the tricep than the bicep. The tricep is larger and will give you bigger arms faster than the bicep will. But arm muscles get worked in almost everything else as well, so you do not need to isolate them and work em that often. Just do one killer arm workout at some point.

Also, nothing will build your entire body faster than squats and deadlifts. They are absolutely essential exercises for building muscle mass on the entire body.

03 Blue 07

April 14th, 2010 at 11:22 AM ^

Alright, I'll bite. There seem to be a lot of people on here who are pretty well-educated on these topics, so here's a simple question:

I'm about 6'1, 205, and would like to lose fat (say, 15 lbs or so) and do so working out about 4 days a week. Would I be best to go with a workout like ChitownWolverine82's above, or something like I've been doing, which is usually work a body part (chest/tri, back/bi, or shoulders) and then run 3-4 miles, to lose fat? Obviously, diet is key as well. But basically, for a regular guy, what's the best type of workout to get in shape/get a smaller gut?



April 14th, 2010 at 11:42 AM ^

According to several studies I've read about, weightlifting and interval training are your best bets because they continue to burn calories even after you've ended your workout.

Regardless, diet is THE MOST IMPORTANT factor in burning fat. You can work out all you want, but if you're still drinking lots of soda or eating lots of bacon cheeseburgers, not much is going to change. Eat several small meals a day, and include lots of protein, vegetables, and fruits. Do away with soda, beer, sweets, etc.

03 Blue 07

April 14th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

TO answer the first question: honestly, 60-90 minutes, max, of workout time, 4 days a week. Really, more like 2 90 minute sessions, and 2 60 minute sessions is about all I want to do. I realize a 60 minute session generally means 90 minutes at the gym, and a 90 minute session generally means 2 hours at the gym.

Thanks for the info. My biggest weakness- frozen yogurt. I know, I know. I actualy was able to lose about 25-30 lbs in about 3 months once as a far younger man by doing nothing else but a.) eating right, and b.) doing a ton of cardio in 90 degree weather. Granted, I'd been a complete pig to even get to the point where i was that fat (I mean, seriously. It was like the freshman 40; I'd tried to gain weight my entire life, and it didn't start working until college).

Now it's different- getting older, metabolism slowing down, etc, generally eat better than I used to but still not good enough.

All Day

April 14th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

On top of what magnus said, those dynamic movements are going to be best for raising your heart rate, which will increase fat loss.

Remember not to get to hung up on that 15 number. You could be doing everything right and your body weight could not change, or even increase.


April 14th, 2010 at 3:29 PM ^

Here's the thing. I'm about your size (6'2 205) and I carry fat easily. My genetics aren't great when it comes to metabolism so I know the importance of keeping up with a work out. I have weekend weaknesses of pints of ice cream and beer. What I can tell you is my work out schedule calls for about 1.25 hours a workout and it fits into a pretty hectic daily schedule. I keep my diet strict during the week by eating foods that are healthy and make me feel full, as well as rev up my metabolism for those sedentary periods at work. Despite my cheating, I carry about 5% body fat when I'm on this routine. No matter who negs me on this, it works well and if you're anything like me (which it sounds like you are) this should work. I'm stronger then I have been in the past (except HS football when I bulked up to 230), and I feel great. I have lost almost all of my gut and have replaced the weight in my legs, shoulders, and arms.


April 14th, 2010 at 3:21 PM ^

I've recently lost 20-25 pounds after a friendly little chat with my doctor about my blood sugar. For me, the key seems to be a combination of avoiding processed sugar, eating fewer and more sensible carbs but more vegetables, and portion control. By "more sensible," I mean I've cut out things like french fries, soda and fruit juice.

Portion control appears to be the most important thing. I still eat largely what I want, but either in smaller amounts or (in the case of ice cream) very infrequently. If I eat something with a lot of calories, I make up for it elsewhere.

Hard Gay

April 14th, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

One of my favorite forms of interval training is Tabata.

Tabata is basically 20 seconds of high intensity exercises followed by 10 seconds of rest, and you repeat this cycle 7 times for each exercise. Each exercise should take exactly 4 minutes to complete. This workout is extremely intense, very efficient, and is absolutely sweet for toning up and general fitness. The best part about this routine is that it is mostly bodyweight exercises so they can be done anywhere for very cheap.

Sample routine:

Pushups (4 minutes)
Full Body Squats (4 minutes)
Pullups (4 minutes)

With a one minute rest in between each set, you have a 15 minute workout that is more intense than what most people do. I have been weight training for a long time and the first time I tried a few tabata intervals I was exhausted beyond belief.

Also, if you do it in the morning, you shock your body to go into "calorie burning mode" for a couple hours. Your body freaks out at the on and off aspect of the training, and thinks that it has to be ready to spend energy at anytime and starts burning calories like crazy.

Here is a short and informative video by a dude with an awesome name:

Here is an online clock to use:

Zone Left

April 14th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

I've gotten into crossfit over the past few months and it really rocks. My cardio has remained about the same, but my anaerobic capacity is through the roof and I've got noticable strength gains. I just do the workout of the day and some cardio.

Tabata is great, but I like the exercises with rapid transitions better (ie deadlift to clean to press and repeat). That said, if you're starting out, even from a good place fitness-wise, you need to start slow or you'll hurt yourself.


03 Blue 07

April 14th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

I went to crossfit.com. . . umm, what do you do if you can't complete those workouts? Like, the ones where they want you to do a lot of different things- there's no way I can do all of those. Like, for example, this workout:
For time:
10 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
1 Weighted pull-up
9 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
2 Weighted pull-ups
8 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
3 Weighted pull-ups
7 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
4 Weighted pull-ups
6 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
5 Weighted pull-ups
5 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
6 Weighted pull-ups
4 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
7 Weighted pull-ups
3 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
8 Weighted pull-ups
2 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
9 Weighted pull-ups
1 Dumbbell Clean & Jerks
10 Weighted pull-ups

Uhh, I can't even do a normal pull-up, I don't think. Cripes.


April 14th, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

A personal trainer told me never to do cardio just after lifting because it kills your gains.

A side question...anybody have tips for chest workout? I'm at the point where my shoulders and triceps are so far ahead of my chest that they dominate any press or fly movements. I was going for more of a swimmer's physique but now I'm just getting bulky in the upperbody with disproportional pecs (more like this).

Also, it was awkward googling these images at work.


April 14th, 2010 at 11:37 AM ^

You are wasting your time with the exercises that you're doing if you want to get big or even strong. Always always always lift before cardio and if your goal is to lose weight without losing muscle then you need to walk. Weird, right? Get a heart rate monitor and get in a range of 60-70% of your MHR. You should be able to talk while doing this but you need to do it for an hour. You will lose fat instead of losing fat and muscle, which running does. As stated above you should work on the compound lifts because they will benefit overall strength and help you perform other exercises with more ease then you would imagine.


April 14th, 2010 at 3:06 PM ^

Any advice would be much appreciated!

First, locate this man....

Follow any instructions he gives you (WARNING: You may be asked to wrestle wolves). Awesomeness will be quick to follow.

COMMENT: A whole thread about workout advice and no Barwis jokes? This board is slipping....


April 14th, 2010 at 5:25 PM ^

OP, first of all it sounds like you are working out every day, which is not good at all for building muscle. Your body needs rest days in order to fully recover, even if you are working different muscle groups. There is no need to work out every day as long as you watch what you eat and go hard when you do.

When I was in Iraq, about half of my platoon started P90X, and every single one of those guys was ripped as hell within a couple of months. Even the gym rats (myself included) were a little jealous, though I probably put on a little bit more bulk. It was mostly a really cut look.

As far as Crossfit is concerned, I agree with the overall sentiment on here. I was lifting 3 to 4 times a week and mixing in some cardio as well before my friend introduced me to it. Now, I occasionally just do Crossfit days to replace one of the lifting days and it completely kicks my ass from a muscular and cardiovascular standpoint. The stuff just straight up works.

Finally, I can't stress enough how important diet is. Count calories, don't miss meals, and keep that protein intake really high.