Regular physical activity is an important pillar of a healthy lifestyle. Not only do workouts keep your weight in a healthy range, but they also prevent some diseases and health conditions. What’s more, exercising regularly can also give your testosterone levels a major boost. One thing you should bear in mind is that it’s not just about going to the gym and performing all sorts of exercises. The order of exercises is crucial if you want to get the maximum out of your workout. For example, you should never do cardio first. Why? Keep reading to find out!
Does order of exercises matter?
There always comes the time when we wonder which type of training should come first: cardio or strength workouts. To be honest, even scientists find this subject interesting which is why they carried out studies to find the scientific answer that could help active individuals maximize their gains.
A study whose findings were published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research had the objective to examine the influence of the intrasession sequencing of strength and aerobic training on testosterone and cortisol levels. For this purpose, they recruited 10 recreationally strength-trained men with mean age of 23.5. Participants performed two exercise interventions: cardio and strength training.
Strength training included three sets of eight reps in the bench press, Smith machine squat, lat pulldown, and knee extension while cardio training consisted of 30 minutes of pedaling on a stationary bike. Sometimes men had to perform cardio first and sometimes they had to start with strength training. Since testosterone and cortisol act in a seesaw manner, i.e., high cortisol induces low testosterone and vice versa, it was about time to see how the sequence of exercises influences levels of these hormones. Before, during, and after training sessions, the blood samples of participants were taken to measure hormone levels.
Results showed that regardless of the training, strength or cardio, both cortisol and testosterone levels increase. Levels of both hormones elevate between two sessions compared to their amount before the training began. That being said, there are some important differences. You see if you do cardio first the levels of testosterone slightly rise during strength training. On the other hand, doing strength training, first testosterone levels start falling during cardio. The study showed that doing cardio first ensures levels of testosterone stay elevated for longer. Scientists explain these results should be applied only when short duration and moderate-intensity cardio training is performed.
Cardio comes first? Not so fast!
The above-mentioned study isn’t the only one which inspected the relationship between exercise sequence and testosterone levels. Other studies focused on the same subject. Should you do cardio first or strength training to experience testosterone boost similar to those effects you read about in Virectin review. The latest study on this subject was conducted by a team of scientists from Finland. Unlike the previous study which only measured hormone levels before, during, and after training this research looked at hormone levels 24 and 48 hours after exercise.
Plus, this study enrolled more participants and instead of 10, it included 42 men close to 30 years of age. All participants performed the same total volume of work. Half performed strength training first, then cardio. Others did cardio first, then moved on to strength training. It is also important to mention that cardio training consisted of 30 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike while strength training intervention included several sets of leg press.
Scientists measured hormone levels of participants before the training, in between two types of training, after workouts, 24 hours after a workout, and then 48 hours after the workout. Unlike the previous research which focused on cortisol and testosterone only, scientists from Finland analyzed participants’ testosterone, cortisol, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and growth hormone.
Findings were also published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and they revealed that performing cardio before strength leaves testosterone, growth hormone, and TSH levels depressed at 24 and 48 hours after exercise. This is an amazing discovery! Why? Testosterone, growth hormones, and TSH are vital anabolic hormones which play a role in determining the body’s ability to recover and how much muscle a person gains after the workout.
If you bear in mind that consequence of doing cardio first are depressed levels of these hormones, then starting with strength training seems like a more convenient option. Not only does this sequence benefit hormone levels, but it also provides optimal recovery.
Tips to boost testosterone levels
Hormone testosterone has a major impact on your overall health and wellbeing. As men age levels of this essential hormone start declining. As a result, you experience different symptoms such as low sex drive, problems with erections, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, hair loss, just to name a few. Luckily, it is possible to enhance levels of this hormone naturally. Along with regular exercise, you should also:
Keep weight in a healthy range or strive to slim down if you’re overweight/obese
Consume zinc-rich foods
Get more vitamin D, if you don’t get enough of this vitamin in diet then consider taking supplements
Eliminate entirely or limit consumption of sugar
Eat a well-balanced diet
Limit or avoid intake of junk food, processed foods, and other types of food with little to no nutritional value
Get enough sleep
Consider taking testosterone-boosting supplements, but consult your doctor first especially if you’re taking medications for some health condition
Cardio and strength training do wonder for our physique and overall health. But, what comes first? While one study showed doing cardio first is better for testosterone than strength training the latest study debunked those claims. Scientists from Finland discovered that doing cardio first has a negative impact on TSH, growth hormone and testosterone and you should start with strength training first. This study included more participants, measured hormone levels at different rates, and it included more parameters that make it a more reliable research. Therefore, start with strength training first to boost testosterone and growth hormone and to achieve optimal recovery.