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TheBot's avatar

I want to increase my fitness. Is it better to do anaerobic exercise before or after aerobic exercise?

Asked by TheBot (766points) March 19th, 2010

Is it more efficient to do anaerobic exercise once your metabolism is running at full speed?

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13 Answers

Idknown's avatar

Why not a combination of both? I am a fierce believer of circuit work out. I do a routine called the 300. 6 exercises, 50 reps each – within 30 minutes. Do that today and let me know if you don’t get wiped out.

Generally, from all the one on one sessions with a personal trainer – they stress do one or the other not both. My own workout regiment is this: MWF workout (circuit) T Th run on a treadmill.

Good to let your body rest between anaerobic exercise. This is assuming you go 5 days a week. You are going 5 days a week right? :P

Have a good workout.

Snarp's avatar

I suppose that depends on what you mean by fitness. For me there’s no need to do any anaerobic exercise at all. I want to improve my cardiovascular fitness and aerobic exercise is the best way to do that.

TheBot's avatar


Well I spent almost a year recovering from a knee injury which prevented me from working out, and I naturally became a little soft. I am now trying to get rid of my belly (there isn’t too much of it) and tone my body to where it was before my ski accident. I still cannot go too crazy when I workout though, I try to be careful of the pressure I put on my knee.


Lol no I do not work out 5 days a week haha, it’s usually twice or thrice, for sessions of about 45 minutes, mostly aerobic. I walk a lot every day though (pbbly around one hour and a half per day). So just to get your advice straight: circuit training is only anaerobic, right?

Which specific exercises do you do in your routine?

Idknown's avatar

@TheBot To be honest – I stopped going 5 days a week myself. (The girlfriend takes way too much time.)

If your objective is to lose weight – everyday workouts are the best way to do it. If it’s to tone up – you definitely need to lift.

A circuit workout is all lifting. Let me explain it this way – when I was trying to be bigger than I was, and gain mass – I lifted heavily. I lifted say 1000 pounds 8 reps, 3 sets. For toning – this would not work. Now I am done massing up and want to be more athletic looking, I go for say 500 pounds at 15, 15, 10, 10 reps (to add up to 50). That’s for more toning. The heavier you lift, the more your muscles tear, the more bigger they become when they heal. When you lift less, your tears are smaller, making more lean muscles (toning).

My circuit is very upper body based since I told you I run between the days (lower body).

Here is my circuit for Mondays:
Warm up run: 5 minutes
Warm up stretch: 5 minutes
Assisted Pull Ups: 50 reps
Bicep Curls into shoulder presses w/dumbells: 50 reps (count as a bicep curl and a shoulder press so this counts as 2 exercises)
Dead lifts: 50 reps
Dips Unassisted: 50 reps
Incline bench: 50 reps

The whole thing should take 30 min.

On Wed and Fridays – I just swap out the exercises. Like incline bench, becomes bench flys, or decline bench. Assisted Pull ups become Rows, Bicep curls become Popeyes, etc etc.

Hope this helps.

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

I prefer doing a combination of areobic exersize as welling as weight lifting to get my metabolism up.

lilikoi's avatar

@Idknown You don’t do any leg lifting? Not even squats? Tsk tsk. Running is good, but some leg lifting will help gain strength and maintain a balance. I used to call guys I saw in the gym with big upper bodies and small legs “chicken legs”. Just saying. And why is it that once you are in a relationship the exercise suffers? I used to go 5 days a week when I was single, too, now I barely even go.


Circuit training is very aerobic! Jet Li (was it him?) style. You’re lifting weights, but minimize your down time and instead move quickly from one exercise to the other. You could do this w/ the weight amount you use for toning, but not for maxing out or anything. No chit chat between sets, no or very short breaks. This will get your heart rate up while also building muscle, so yes it is aerobic.

To answer your original question – I’m not sure, wondered this myself. Some hard core lifters I know always do a warm up jog before and after lifting. I’m not sure what effect it has. Now that I’m not in great shape, I tend to do a warm up jog, too, just so I can work myself into the mood to work out, and plan out the day’s routine.

I would recommend a well rounded work out routine that does not neglect the legs, especially because of the knee injury – you want to rehab that. I’m not sure what the best way to do that is; you might want to talk to a PT. I’d definitely just go with super light weights at first and ease into things. Walking, elliptical, swimming can be good low-intensity exercise for legs. And this is a pretty good site that shows a bunch of common exercises for various muscles across your body.

@Snarp I think even if cardio is your only goal, strength training can complement that. Makes ya stronger and less prone to injuries.

Snarp's avatar

I’ll tell you what I found when I did lift weights. If I lifted enough to really make a difference my muscles were far too weak for me to get in a good aerobic workout afterwards. The reverse was not true. But that assumes that you mean weight training when you say anaerobic. Anaerobic also applies to pushing an aerobic exercise beyond the aerobic/anaerobic threshold.

Idknown's avatar

@lilikoi You are probably right. Working out legs also increases your testosterone for muscle growth – that’s what my gym teacher used to preach.

I do the circuit so I can burn calories as if I’m running. My workout is very much focused on the fact I want to lose more weight and tone up.

I feel that the running I do is sufficient of a workout as I usually can barely stand after it… Once I get back to heavy lifting, I would get back to the leg regiment though.

And yes – I forget to add that it is also aerobic because you are trying to finish so many exercises in such a limited amount of time and you do work up a sweat. Thanks for covering my back.

cockswain's avatar

The best routine I’ve personally found is They post a workout of the day every day, 3 days on, 1 day off. They are brutal, but when I started I just scaled them back. After a year I could do about ¾ of the workouts. They are designed to be generally short, high-intensity workouts, but also incorporate a lot of the Olympic lifts. They vary widely to, to alleviate boredom and routine. I saw the greatest increases in all areas of fitness doing these: strength, speed, and endurance. Check out their website. Let me know if you have questions.

Also, I’ve heard good things about the 300 workout. Isn’t that the same as the Jim Jones workouts?

j0ey's avatar

@cockswain….yes many guys that I know swear by the crossfit stuff.

hmmm well i have heard that if you are trying to LOSE weight you should do your anaerobic first, depleting the glucose in your muscles, so then when you engage in your aerobic exercise your body needs to burn its fat stores.

BUT if you are trying to build muscle and get fitter, you shouldn’t do both (for example lift weights and then run or vice versa) confuses your muscles too much, and they wont adapt properly to either exercise.

semblance's avatar

I exercise almost every day and I have been doing so for over 30 years. I find it better to alternate, putting primary emphasis on aerobic one day and anaerobic the next. I prefer exercising every day – with rare exceptions where time just does not permit – because that way you avoid the slippery slope of an excuse for putting it off until tomorrow.

Gotta go run now.

chamelopotamus's avatar

Jack LaLane is like 95 or something and he still does the same routine everyday: weights, then swimming. Weights to build muscle (and you need muscle to get in shape, muscle provides a frame that strengthens your joints and what not, and maybe most importantly it burns fat), then swimming to burn fat (without hurting your joints). Its time tested and proven!

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