Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise [NOOK Book]

Overview

There's plenty of conventional wisdom on health and fitness—but how much of it is scientifically sound? The truth is: less than you'd think.

In Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?, physicist and award-winning journalist Alex Hutchinson tackles dozens of commonly held beliefs and looks at just what research science has—and has not—proven to be true:

Should I exercise when I'm sick? • Do I get the same workout from the elliptical machine that I...

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Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise

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Overview

There's plenty of conventional wisdom on health and fitness—but how much of it is scientifically sound? The truth is: less than you'd think.

In Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?, physicist and award-winning journalist Alex Hutchinson tackles dozens of commonly held beliefs and looks at just what research science has—and has not—proven to be true:

Should I exercise when I'm sick? • Do I get the same workout from the elliptical machine that I get from running? • What role does my brain play in fatigue? • Will running ruin my knees? • To lose weight, is it better to eat less or exercise more? • How should I adapt my workout routine as I get older? • Does it matter what I'm thinking about when I train? • Will drinking coffee help or hinder my performance? • Should I have sex the night before a competition?

This myth-busting book covers the full spectrum of exercise science and offers the latest in research from around the globe, as well as helpful diagrams and plenty of practical tips on using proven science to improve fitness, reach weight loss goals, and achieve better competition results.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This wide-ranging book covers far more than its title promises. Beyond the cardio/weight debate, Hutchinson covers fitness gear, physiology, flexibility, aging, injury, weight management, and the mental aspects of exercise in this question-and-answer-style offering. Hutchinson, editor at Popular Mechanics and Canadian Running and columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail, is certainly a subject matter expert and a thorough researcher, clearly explaining scientific concepts for the average reader. He doesn't promote snake-oil paths to fitness, but rather promises and provides up-to-date, research-based health and fitness news. He touches on trends like barefoot running and Wii workouts and includes fitness oddities like the risk of water intoxication. End-of-chapter cheat sheets and helpful boxes, charts, and graphics will be more immediately salient to most readers than literature-review-centric body text, which sometimes feels prohibitively citation-laden. This book will work best when occasionally dipped into or when referenced in answering a specific question; a cover-to-cover read feels dense and overlong. Still, it will also be enjoyed by cerebral athletes who want the why behind the workouts. (June)
Amby Burfoot
“Authoritative and easy to use. . . . This book answers all the big questions.”
BC Living
“Once in a while in the crowded fitness & health genre a book comes out that stands out from rest...[I]f there’s only one fitness book you ever buy this should be the one.”
Kirkus Reviews

A comprehensive "evidence based" guide on exercise, health and performance for aspiring athletes and pros alike.

Hutchinson, a journalist and physicist, offers a refreshing perspective on fitness and well-being. Instead of adding to the list of manifestos on the perfect fitness regimen, the author sets aside conventional wisdom for scientific exploration and invites readers to form their own opinions. From the outset, Hutchinson clearly states his intentions: "This is an important point: there's no single 'best' exercise program or technique that applies to everyone. You'll have to take into account your background, current level of fitness and goals in designing an appropriate workout regimen—not to mention more subtle considerations like the types of activity you enjoy. After all, the most effective program is the one you can stick with!" With that in mind, the author leads readers on a path that methodically disentangles myth from fact regarding exercise, performance and healthy living. But Hutchinson isn't only concerned with what works and what doesn't; he's interested in the why as well. The author's scientific training serves him well in referencing hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 100 interviews with researchers worldwide. However, he carefully balances the scientific data with a blend of tips and helpful diagrams. For example, readers may enjoy learning the mind-body connection and how listening to music or watching TV can affect a workout. Each chapter closes with a "cheat sheet," a clearly defined list of the key points.

Factual, informative and empowering.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062092083
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 185,072
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Alex Hutchinson is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics magazine, senior editor at Canadian Running magazine, and columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail. He holds a master's in journalism from Columbia and a Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge, and he did his post-doctoral research with the U.S. National Security Agency.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: What This Book Is (and Isn't) 1

1 Getting Started 6

How long does it take to get in shape? 6

Am I exercising enough? 8

Which should I do first: cardio or weights? 10

Can I get fit in seven minutes a week? 12

Can exercise increase my risk of a heart attack? 15

Will exercising in cold air freeze my lungs? 16

When is it too hot to exercise? 19

Should I avoid exercising outside when air pollution is high? 20

How will exercise affect my immune system? 23

Is motivation to exercise genetic? 25

How long does it take to get unfit? 27

2 Fitness Gear 31

Is running on a treadmill better or worse than running outside? 31

Is the elliptical machine just as good as running? 34

Do I really need specialized shoes for walking, running, tennis, basketball, and so on? 36

Will running barefoot help me avoid injuries? 38

Will compression clothing help me exercise? 40

Does walking with poles give me a better workout? 42

Are sports video games real workouts? 44

What should I do with wobble boards and exercise balls? 46

Can a mouthpiece make me stronger, faster, and more flexible? 48

Is there any benefit to strengthening my breathing muscles? 51

3 The Physiology of Exercise 56

What role does my brain play in fatigue? 57

Does lactic acid cause muscle fatigue? 59

Why do I get sore a day or two after hard exercise? 61

What is "VO2max" and should I have mine tested? 63

What is "lactate threshold" and should I have mine tested? 66

How can I avoid muscle cramps? 68

What's happening when I get a stitch? 70

At what time of day am 1 strongest and fastest? 72

4 Aerobic Exercise 76

Why should I do cardio if I just want to build my muscles? 76

How hard should my cardio workout feel? 79

How do I determine my maximum heart rate? 81

What's the best way to breathe during exercise? 83

Will running on hard surfaces increase my risk of injuries? 85

Do I run "wrong"? 88

What's the best way to run up and down hills? 90

Does pumping my arms make me run faster? 92

Do spinning classes offer any benefits that I can't get from biking on my own? 94

Will taking the stairs make a real difference to my health? 96

5 Strength and Power 99

Do I need strength training if I just want to be lean and fit? 100

How much weight should I lift, and how many times? 101

How do I tone my muscles without bulking up? 103

What's the difference between strength and power? 106

Free weights or machines: what's the difference, and which should I use? 108

Can body-weight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups be as effective as lifting weights? 111

Can lifting weights fix my lower-back pain? 113

Will I get a better workout if I hire a personal trainer? 115

Do I need extra protein to build muscle? 117

6 Flexibility and Core Strength 121

Will stretching help me avoid injuries? 121

Could stretching before exercise make me slower and weaker? 124

Do flexible runners run more efficiently? 126

How should I warm up before exercise? 128

Will stretching after exercise help me avoid next-day soreness? 131

Where is my "core," and do I need to strengthen it? 133

What are the benefits of yoga for physical fitness? 136

What are the benefits of yoga for overall wellness? 137

7 Injuries and Recovery 141

Ouch, I think I sprained something. How long should I stay off it? 141

Will a post-exercise ice bath help me recover more quickly? 145

Will a heat pack or hot bath soothe my aching body? 147

Will massage help me avoid soreness and recover more quickly from workouts? 149

Should I take painkillers for post-workout soreness? 151

How long does it take to recover after a marathon or other long, intense effort? 153

Can "platelet-rich plasma" cure my tennis elbow or Achilles tendon? 155

How can I reduce my risk of stress fractures? 157

Should I exercise when I'm sick? 159

Will having a few drinks affect my workout the next day? 160

8 Exercise and Aging 164

What's the cumulative effect of all the exercise I've done over the years? 164

Will running ruin my knees? 167

How should I adapt my workout routine as I get older? 169

How quickly will my performance decline as I age? 171

How can I stay motivated to exercise as my performances decline? 173

What are the pros and cons of exercising in water? 175

What type of exercise is best for maintaining strong bones? 177

Can exercise keep my DNA from aging? 180

9 Weight Management 183

Is it possible to be fat and healthy at the same time? 183

Is weight loss simply the difference between "calories in" and "calories out?" 186

To lose weight, is it better to eat less or exercise more? 188

How can I take advantage of the "fat-burning" zone? 190

Won't exercise make me eat more and gain weight? 192

Can I lose weight while gaining (or maintaining) muscle? 194

Is lifting weights better than cardio for weight loss? 196

Will I burn more calories commuting by bike or on foot? 198

Can I control hunger by manipulating my appetite hormones? 201

Will sitting too long at work counteract all my fitness gains? 202

10 Nutrition and Hydration 206

Should I carbo-load by eating pasta the night before a competition? 206

What should I eat to avoid stomach problems during exercise? 208

What should I eat and drink to refuel after working out? 211

How much should I drink to avoid dehydration during exercise? 213

Is it possible to hydrate too much? 215

What ingredients do I really need in a sports drink? 217

Will taking antioxidant vitamins block the health benefits of exercise? 220

Should I be taking probiotics? 222

Will vitamin D make me a better athlete? 224

Is there any benefit to deliberately training with low energy stores? 226

Can I get the nutrients I need for a heavy exercise regimen from a vegetarian or vegan diet? 228

11 Mind and Body 232

If my brain is tired, will my body's performance suffer? 232

Does it matter what I'm thinking about when I train? 234

Does listening to music or watching TV help or hurt my workout? 237

Will I perform better under pressure if I focus harder? 239

Can swearing help me push harder in a workout? 241

Is there such a thing as "runner's high"? 243

Will taking a fitness class or joining a team change my brain chemistry during workouts? 245

What are the effects of exercise on the brain? 247

12 The Competitive Edge 251

How should I adjust my training in the final days before a competition? 251

Should I have sex the night before a competition? 254

Can drinking slushies boost my performance on hot days? 255

Will drinking coffee help or hinder my performance? 257

Does competing in front of a crowd improve performance? 259

How much sleep do I need for optimal physical performance? 261

How should I pace myself in a long-distance race? 263

Is endurance or sprint speed more important in field sports like soccer? 265

Conclusions: From Lab to Gym 268

Acknowledgments 271

References 273

Index 310

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Great Gift for the Know-It-All Jock in Your Life

    Since starting Mark Verstegen's Core Performance program a year ago, I've developed a serious interest in exercise. I stumbled across one of Alex Hutchinson's helpful (and recommended) blogs: Sweat Science. That's where I heard about this book.

    Mr. Hutchinson uses a Q & A format to address over a hundred debatable issues facing people who exercise regularly. The questions are independent although grouped according to subject matter, such as "Nutrition and Hydration." This is great for those who have time only for snippets of reading (bathroom reading, for example).

    High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a particular interest of mine lately. I see it as way to replace five hours a week of traditional cardio (aerobic) training with just one hour. The author gives a nice description of HIIT and succinctly and accurately summarizes the science in support of it, along with the risks.

    Mr. Hutchinson typically answers controversial questions with the best available evidence from current scientific research. Rarely, he has to depend simply on expert concensus, which is less reliable. I envision a new edition every five years or so.

    The book is easy to read. The style is congenial and witty. Contrary to a recent publishing trend, the font size is reasonably large.

    The audience for this is folks who have made a commitment to make regular physical activity part of their lifestyle. Trust me, I'm a doctor: the guys at the gym and Internet sources are quite often wrong on these issues.

    If you refuse to do more than just stroll in the neighborhood for 30 minutes a day, you don't need the book. But I urge you to consider challenging yourself to do more.

    --Steve Parker, M.D., author of "The Advanced Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight, Feel Better, Live Longer (2nd Edition)"

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2012

    Good Read

    The entire time I was reading this I would recite facts to anyone who was sitting by me. Its a fascinating read and addresses the many myth's we all know as fitness enthusiasts.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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