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

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  800 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
In Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? Alex Hutchinson, a physicist, award-winning journalist, and contributing editor of Popular Mechanics magazine, reveals the little-known and often surprising truths that science has uncovered about exercise. A book that ranges from cardio and weights to competition and weight loss, here are fascinating facts and practical tips for fi ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Apr 16, 2013 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was awesome, with short chapters, each answering a different question about exercise and fitness, reviewing the latest studies and knowledge. I was surprised at how much of my "common knowledge" was actually wrong. I liked the quick summaries at the end of each chapter.

Here are some of the things I learned:
* Lactic Acid build-up is NOT the source of the DOMS (day-after muscle soreness). Lactic acid is a fuel, not a waste product, that gets cleaned out of your system within an hour afte
Two of my favorite things are common sense and empirical evidence--that's why I was an economics major. This book is chock full of both. Alex Hutchinson clearly outlines pretty much all aspects of physical fitness--debunking various myths in the process. All the while backing up every statement with empirical evidence (all studies mentioned are thoroughly referenced in the back of the book).

As a loyal reader of the NY Times Well Blog (definitely go check it out) I already knew much of what the
Adrienne Strock
Jul 29, 2012 Adrienne Strock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nf, 2012
I was impressed with the new "science" in this book. Set up in a Q&A format, this book answers some common questions about fitness and weight loss. I'm no novice to exercise techniques and the science behind them, but it's been awhile since I've read up on new exercise science. While I don't think any of the answers are conclusive (it cites lots of research studies with mediocre sample sizes), I did learn a thing or two, like drink pickle juice if you have cramps. I will now tell people that ...more
Jeff Van Campen
This is book is a redesign change from much of the nonsense that gets written about health and fitness. It is one of the best fitness books I've ever read. So many books on health and fitness fall into the category of what I call “one true way” books, which espouse a single way to be healthy. Usually these books are trying to sell you something beyond the book.

Cardio or Weights is different. It is organised as a series of questions about health and fitness. Each question is answered based on re
Oct 17, 2012 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012, fitness
I think this is a book that anyone who does fitness of any kind should read. It smites fitness myth and misinformation with the power of SCIENCE, which is the best way to do things.

One of the things that made it such an easy read was the Q and A format, that make what could be a dry subject more interesting. And there was a little bit of humor interjected here and there.

My only complaint is the title, it's one of the stupidest titles imaginable, but I suppose the book had to have some sort of ho
May 04, 2013 Evilskillit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was written within the last two years and contains lots of great up to date information about fitness and health. All of the information is backed up with references to scientific studies and explains plainly and thoroughly what the results mean. It's refreshing to read a book about fitness that just gives you the facts, as best as we understand them right now instead of anecdotal stories and unverified stuff made up by the "pros".
Adri Nurellari
Aug 31, 2015 Adri Nurellari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book debunks some of the most popular myths about training and condenses a wealth of recent scientific research making it a must read reference for everyone interested in sports and fitness training. It answers many of the questions that have puzzled me for a long time and the information is conveyed in a very simple and clear way. I particularly liked the summary in the end of each chapter which makes it very easy to return and recall the recommendations provided in the text.
Mar 29, 2016 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quick read, worth it for someone who is fairly new to exercise and would like motivation. If you're someone who is experienced with working out you likely will not learn a ton.
Nov 25, 2013 Desiree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly recent, good info; even one of the trainers at the gym I work at perused it for a half hour or so and then came back and said "I'll see you later... I'm going to buy that book."
Aug 26, 2015 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A handy book with a lot of answer for common questions.
It talks about a lot of myths which are really interesting.
Jan 21, 2012 Dmitry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-science
An excellent summary of everything exercise (and much of nutrition) related. Highly recommended to everyone starting an exercise regime, and even to those who exercise for a long time.
Up-to-date and very useful information. Probably aimed more for a beginner audience, but I picked up several useful tidbits too. The question/answer format makes it very readable.
Nov 06, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book slowly, more so I could take time to absorb it than because it wasn't easy reading. I really like that Hutchinson answers some of the most commonly-asked fitness-related questions. I was interested in it more to learn more about weight loss and cardio vs. strength training science, but I picked up a lot of interesting tidbits. For example:

- There's no evidence that coffee takes away from performance. (Note that caffeine isn't the same thing as coffee.)
- For my clients anxious to
Chris Curtis
Really enjoyed the myth-busting feature of this book. It shed light on subjects I had always wondered about. Subjects like “Will my knees really go bad from marathon running like so many of my friends & family have warned?” or “Does treadmill running really that much different than road running?” Data in men’s magazines and elsewhere seems to be so sketchy & ephemeral that I really don’t know what to trust sometimes. Someone like author Alex Hutchinson who has done the research to presen ...more
Dec 31, 2016 Alberto rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
found few interesting concepts here but I think this book is mainly for the very beginner. many answers to the questions are not really answered citing lack of final scientific evidence, making me wondering about their usefulness. other answers are masked behind science but are just simple common sense.
Nov 10, 2016 Umur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Precise, clean and to the point. I enjoyed reading this book and I think I learned a lot.
Francisco Ferreira
Grande livro para tirar várias dúvidas comuns e desmascarar alguns mitos sobre desporto
Jan 07, 2017 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well researched and written learned a few new things.
Jennifer Hadley
Dec 27, 2016 Jennifer Hadley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent review of what science currently knows regarding exercise.
Oct 19, 2014 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first discovered Alex Hutchinson via his "Sweat Science" column with the Toronto Globe & Mail (which has since moved to Runner's World). Like much of the rest of the sports world, running is perennially infested with loads of folk knowledge of dubious value; although there are real, actual exercise scientists out there working hard to slay the multitude of urban myths that we've all been repeating back to each other since we could lace up our shoes, the news travels painfully slowly, and d ...more
Nov 14, 2012 Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a relief to finally find straight scientific answers about exercise! There is so much BS in this industry, so many late night infomercials making big promises in exchange for big bucks, so many personal trainers paid $80/hour to regurgitate urban myths, so many exercise videos and books by people with big muscles and small brains. You'd think there would be scientists out there, testing all this stuff, and there is, but it's so hard to find it through all the crap.

This book gives the straig
Eric Troy
This book does a pretty good job of countering some misconceptions, eliminating some needless worries, and busting some myths that are still active in the fitness world. There are enough important missteps to cause me to reduce the stars to three, however. Some of the statements made seem to come from a less than thorough understanding of exercise physiology. It's as if the author took to the index of an exercise physiology book, looked up the word he needed and read the first thing he found, bu ...more
Kelli Stephenson
This was a GREAT book for anyone who works out a lot or a little or who just wants to start. It answered every question I have pretty much ever had, and he used every scientific study he could find to back it all up. Sometimes this meant there was no definitive answer, sometimes it meant that it was personal choice, and sometimes it just plain meant no one really knows (like why we get side stitches, dang it!) Some of my favorite questions/topics he addressed were:

How long does it take to get un
Jan 25, 2013 Joakim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, health
This book can serve as a definite reference for someone thinking of exercising and have nagging questions about it. This book is all about commonly asked questions, and easy answers. The author draws from scientific studies conducted in reputable facilities (like in public university's physical health departments)and reduces the findings into answers average Joe/Jane can understand.
So, what are some of the questions answered in the book?

Here's a survey of questions that are answered:
-Which come
Dec 29, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Q and A format for discussing many issues related to exercise science -- mostly physiology but some psychology as well. The hook is that he only talks about what can be addressed on the basis of studies, occasionally animal but mostly human, not anecdote or received opinion or what leading coaches think or do.

very good science writer -- doesn't delve into measurement methods and the like too often, but you get the gist of what the sample was like (e.g., already trained athletes or not), how the
Kaitlyn Dennis
Jul 08, 2013 Kaitlyn Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, fitness
Hutchinson does an excellent job of presenting useful, empirically-backed answers to specific questions without being an evangelist for any particular fitness program. He also (refreshingly) recognizes the complexity of issues that are often glossed over or oversimplified, such as the connections (or lack thereof) between body weight and fitness. People who want a book that gives explicit instructions for a specific exercise program might be put off by the author's "it depends" approach, but I p ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great evidence based slog through a ton of commonly asked fitness questions. I greatly appreciated the format of the book - with each chapter being about a specific subject, e.g. "exercise and aging" or " nutrition", and within each chapter a series of ten or more commonly asked questions about that subject. The answers contain mostly the latest up to date primary research on the subject. Each answer is worded concisely and clearly, and so the information is very accessible to any reader. Refe ...more
Chung Chin
Oct 14, 2013 Chung Chin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In "Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?", Alex Hutchison provides answers to some of the most interesting questions on exercise and fitness using the latest (as of 2011) research and findings available.

If you have questions on whether it's better to focus on running or lifting weights, weight management, how exercise affects the mind and etc, this is a really great treasure of resource that I highly recommend. Alex Hutchinson provides readers with great suggestions and answers to some of these
Aug 18, 2016 Monique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
There is a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Luckily, books like this cut through the bullshit and give you the facts. Rather then speculation, Hutchinson gives the reader all the evidence we have at the moment in the form of studies and papers. He's upfront when there isn't a lot of evidence either way or when a study or paper has some issues (small sample size, inconsistent results, etc)

The book does a phenomenal job motivating me to get moving. A
Feb 20, 2012 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, health
If you're a long distance runner or cyclist (or thinking about becoming one) ... then this is a must read, five star book.

If you are a scientist or a scientist at heart, and interested in exercise ... then this is still a five star book. Indeed it seems one of the very few recently published fitness books that rigorously adheres to truly scientific studies. The vast majority of fitness books deal only in personal experience or pseudo science.

If you are thinking of taking up a new exercise progra
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Alex Hutchinson is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics magazine, senior editor at Canadian Running magazine, and columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Runner's World, Discover, and numerous other publications. He holds a Master's in Journalism from Columbia and a Ph.D. in Physics from Cambridge, and did his post-doctor ...more
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