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I've been going to some different gyms in the past few years and at every new place I would ask for a new training plan. One radical difference I observed was that some suggested me to run on the treadmill before the workout, others after the workout, some also said it was better to run before AND after.

I'm really not getting it, what is the actual difference?

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Possible Duplicate: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/395/… –  Ravi Gummadi Mar 28 '11 at 21:25

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

I assume your workout consist of weightlifting or other strength training. This mostly consist of short, high intensity exercises, which are likely mostly done anaerobic.

Running before this workout, means your body is warmed up, the activity of your cardiovascular and pulmonary systems are increased and your body has started to make sure you have enough energy to workout. So if you then start to workout, you'll basically have a flying start because you're body is well prepared.

Because the workout itself is mostly anaerobic, your body will slowly but surely create more lactic acid, because of all the glycogen that wasn't properly oxidated. So if you run after your workout, your body will take this lactic acid and start using it as a fuel and thus also get rid of it.

However, it is important that you run at moderate intensity, because you need sufficient oxygen to oxidate the lactic acid and don't want to be creating more! So generally it won't really be running, but rather jogging.

As Stefano comments: your (anaerobic) workout will deplete your glycogen storage. If you then start to jog afterwards, you'll body will have not much choice then to use fat as it's main source of energy. So jogging after your workout is a great way to burn fat, but be sure to workout at the right intensity.

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Working out at a moderate intensity means you'll burn the most fat.

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oh man, that's a great answer, very descriptive. Thanx a bunch! –  Elijah Saounkine Mar 24 '11 at 10:56
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Can you add any studies to substantiate your opinion? –  JoaquinG Mar 24 '11 at 13:55
    
@JoaquinG, the part about warming up is basic exercise physiology. As for the cooling down, I can refer to my answer on the cooling down question –  Ivo Flipse Mar 24 '11 at 14:06
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Does this depend on what you are trying to achieve, burn fat or build muscle? I was told, if you want to burn fat you run after your work out because you've used up all other energy sources so when you run/sprint post weight lifting for 25-30 minutes will focusing mostly on fat. This is just what I was told I would also like more clarification. –  Stefano D Mar 24 '11 at 14:54
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@Stefano, I updated my answer for you :-) –  Ivo Flipse Mar 24 '11 at 15:10

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