Two great they taste great together?
December 22, 2005 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Is it a bad idea to do (1 hour of) yoga and (1 hour of) weight training and (30 minutes of) cardio all on the same visit to the gym? If it is not a bad idea, what's the best ordering of the three?
posted by about_time to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)
Since you ideally need to be doing stretching at the start and end of any exercise routine, it'd make sense to do thirty minutes of yoga at the start and at the end, if possible.
posted by wackybrit at 1:13 PM on December 22, 2005

I can't say much about yoga, but I do a cardio warm-up, over an hour of weight training and at least 30 minutes of cardio every time I go to the gym (so three times a week.) I would imagine that doing yoga would mean that you're very warmed-up and supple before doing weight training, so I can't see much wrong with doing these things in this order, but, as I say, I don't know much about yoga. I can say that doing weights and then doing cardio, is probably the best order (from what I've read...)
posted by ob at 1:14 PM on December 22, 2005

I do yoga regularly.

Depending on what you want to get out of it, and how advanced the class is, I'd end with the yoga. You'll get deeper stretches from your warmed-up muscles, and a good yoga teacher should sequence the class so that you start with a warm-up, move into "heat-building" poses (faster poses to get your muscles warm), then into deeper twists and bends now that your muscles are warm, and then into relaxation.

Which basically mirrors your workout.

If you *start* with the yoga, you're going to go into your pumped-out cardio and weight thing after doing what should be major relaxation. That doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

When I was going to a gym, I used to try to end my workout (which was five min. of cardio, weight lifting, then half-hour of real cardio) with at least 20 minutes of yoga -- the general sense of wellbeing I got from that sequence was amazing. The yoga helps all the muscles you've just worked to really feel good, rather than overused.
posted by occhiblu at 1:19 PM on December 22, 2005

(That should have been: five min. of cardio to warm up, a full weight-lifting routine, then half-hour of real cardio. Not that I was doing only five min. of weights.)
posted by occhiblu at 1:21 PM on December 22, 2005

Bad idea? It depends what your goal is. Losing weight, gaining muscle, what?
posted by BrandonAbell at 1:21 PM on December 22, 2005

I'd say: yoga, weights, cardio. You don't want to do a 3 mile run and then try to lift weights, your body will be worn out at this point and there's a good chance you'll hurt yourself.
posted by knave at 1:26 PM on December 22, 2005

The advice I received from a trainer at the YMCA: "ten minutes of running on the track, twenty minutes of cardio on the machines (rowing, bicycle), then your strength-building routine, then these stretching exercises (15 minutes worth of various poses)."

The YMCA docco he handed me with the stretching exercises suggests: 10 minutes low intensity activity for warmup, 3 minutes gentle stretching, 15-30 minutes cardio, 15-60 minutes muscular conditioning, then however long it takes to stretch everything.

The common theme is that it's best to bracket anerobic activity (weights) with aerobic (cardio, yoga, stretching). YMMV.
posted by Mozai at 1:42 PM on December 22, 2005

I have been told by a personal trainer that doing weights before cardio results in more muscle growth. He had the actual percentages (he's an exercise geek, if that is possible) but I don't remember-it was substantial enough to motivate me to order my workout accordingly.

I'd recommend strength-cardio-stretch/yoga.
posted by konolia at 2:18 PM on December 22, 2005

I wouldn't.
What's your goal? Build muscle? Lose fat? Gain flexibility? You are going to short change at least one of your workouts if you try to do them all at once. If your yoga is at all intensive, it will make you tired, which will make you able to lift less and work less hard at the cardio. If you lift first and then don't get some food in you're sabotaging your body's ability to build muscle, you won't work as hard at cardio, and you might find holding hard yoga poses impossible. If you do cardio first, you will be tired for yoga and weight training, impairing your ability to concentrate on form and give them your best effort.
I totally disagree with any advice that says that you should do serious cardio before weights, ever. Split them up completely if you can. If you're doing the cardio for weight loss, you might be surprised with the weight loss benefits you can get from full-body heavy lifting. (You may burn fewer calories during the activity, but you will burn more afterwards especially if you are really challenging yourself. For me, though, the greatest benefit is that weight training doesn't increase my hunger, cardio does. YMMY, of course). If you're doing it for general health purposes, you probably don't need to do it every day anyway.
As for the yoga, well, I can't say much about that without knowing your goals. I think you could easily do light yoga pretty much anytime, but serious classes can be quite draining.
posted by ch1x0r at 2:49 PM on December 22, 2005

The standard recommendation for weightlifting is to not to do it more often than every other day; for a recurring schedule, that would be three times per week. But it's beneficial to do cardio and yoga more often than that.

You might also be better off by doing 45 minutes of cardio and reducing the time for weights (by reducing the number of sets you do).

Also consider: whatever arrangement you try, if you're NOT enjoying what you do, you'll probably end up not continuing to do it. So the "perfect" arrangement (in theory) won't be the best one for you if you don't end up feeling good about it. One goal should be to find a routine that you look forward to doing the next time you go to the gym.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:28 PM on December 22, 2005

A two-hour workout is not a great idea no matter how you're structuring it. Anything over an hour is pushing it, and you're getting diminishing returns on activity after that. As far as the cardio and resistance training ordering, there are lots of studies with wildly different results. The bottom line is that you should do them separately, if at all possible, because one diminishes the other when you try to cram into one session. I'm an exercise geek as well, and have tried all the different theories. The ideal is to do cardio in the morning, before breakfast, and to do resistance training in the afternoon or evening.

If you have time constraints and have to combine the two, do the cardio afterwards. You need energy to get good results from a weightlifting session, something that the cardio will sap you of. You will be too tired to push your limits when you're lifting, and if you're staying within your comfort zone in the weight room, you won't make any progress.

My recommendation is to do the yoga first, so your muscles are warm and stretched (you'll get more out of lifting this way and won't get hurt), then hit the weights, and then do your cardio at the end as more of a cooldown than anything else. One key is to make sure you EAT right after this workout. In order to feed your muscles after lifting, you need to get both protein and some carbs (to replenish your glycogen levels) in your system ASAP, and doing cardio for a half hour is that much more time when you're starving your muscles.

The standard recommendation for weightlifting is to not to do it more often than every other day; for a recurring schedule, that would be three times per week. But it's beneficial to do cardio and yoga more often than that.

This is not true, as it depends on your weightlifting split. You don't want to work out any one muscle group more than every other day, but you can lift every day if you split it up accordingly (upper body/lower body, or a more specific split such as Mon: back, Tues: chest, Wed: arms, Thurs: legs, Fri: Shoulders).

Another alternative, if you're more interested in overall fitness rather than putting on pounds of muscle: High Intensity Cardio. Mix weights exercises into a cardio session, and you won't believe how tired you get. You won't be able to go as heavy on the weights, so you won't add much muscle, but it's great for leaning up and getting fit. It would look something like this:

1 minute jumping rope
20 push-ups
1 minute jumping rope
20 clean-and-presses
1 minute jumping rope
10 pull-ups
1 minute jumping rope
15 curls
1 minute jumping rope
30 crunches
1 minute jumping rope
20 unweighted squats

you can pick and choose your own resistance exercises, and any kind of cardio works (stationary bike, jumping rope, treadmill, sprints, etc.). If you keep up the intensity, you can get a great total body workout in 20 minutes.

As other people are saying, a lot of it depends on your goals/priorities. I'm happy to talk to you more about this, I have a lot of experience with this stuff. E-mail is in my profile.
posted by TunnelArmr at 4:02 PM on December 22, 2005

I think I should have also said that I'm doing this combo only once a week. I try to do 3-6 weight-training sessions a week, each ending with 30 minutes of cardio. The yoga class is saturdays only. I figured I have enough time to do all three on that day. And, for those who asked, my goal is weight loss.

Thanks for all the thoughtful advice so far.
posted by about_time at 4:03 PM on December 22, 2005

And, yes, I do the back/bis, chest/tris, shoulders/legs routine so that I'm working out regularly, but each muscle group is getting 2-3 days of rest.
posted by about_time at 4:05 PM on December 22, 2005

Do the yoga last. Stretching is essential after a cardio workout, not before.
posted by Airhen at 4:19 PM on December 22, 2005

Every yoga book or website I've seen says that if you're going to do other exercise, you should do it before yoga. It seems to me that you'd just undo all the calming and relaxing effects of the yoga if you followed it up with anything vigorous or demanding, anyway.
posted by dilettante at 4:23 PM on December 22, 2005

Go for it. I do yoga and lift on same days.

Somebody else already mentioned this but it bear some fleshing out: What is your condition and age etc?

If your only do this one day per week then simply abbreviate your lifts to the basics. Yoga. Basic lifts. Light cardio.

If you want to gain muscle mass and build serious strength then only do cardio on separate days from the yoga and weight training. Remember Yoga is a resistance workout as well. You need to heal from it just like lifting. especially when your doing new or intense poses. If you gang yoga up on days you lift you will get best results.

This depends on the type of lifting you intend to do. If you are doing heavy or compound lifts with free weights then I would do only a few - like squat, cleans, deadlift, bench, and lat pulls. Your yoga will certainly fill in all the other range of movement nicely. If your using machines - just do the basics.

IMPORTANT: If you are training the body a new set of movements - something that requires precision or technique - you don't want to be fatigued. That goes for any resistance exercise that is a compound movement or any intense yoga posture. You increase chance of injury and you lessen gains if you attempt new or intense things while fatigued. So yoga first always.
(Also - people seem to forget this - it isn't the exercise that get's you results is the eating and rest between.)
posted by tkchrist at 4:41 PM on December 22, 2005

I work out pretty much every day, for 60-90 minutes. One day, I went to a one-hour Bikram (aka "sweatbox") yoga class, and then, an hour or so later, went to a one-hour spinning class.

It fucking knocked me out. Just *too* much. I was fine by the next morning, but that evening, my muscles (esp. in my legs) were hellaciously sore.

So unless you're used to long, intense workouts on a regular basis, you might want to think twice about doing this.
posted by Dr. Wu at 4:54 PM on December 22, 2005

Ok, all sound advice. I think I will do just one of cardio or weight-training, then the yoga, and see how it feels. If I'm ok this week, next week I'll try the other, and then maybe all three the week after.
posted by about_time at 5:20 PM on December 22, 2005

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