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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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,482 ratings  ·  162 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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 339 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by William Morrow
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Apr 16, 2013 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
Adrienne Strock
Jul 29, 2012 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
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: non-fiction, 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
The idea behind this book is a good one, but the content is simply outdated. I enjoyed Hutchinson's conversational tone, but sometimes I felt like he was "talking down" to me. Luckily, the way the book is structured, I could skip sections where I already knew the content without missing much. All in all, I think fitness magazines should focus on publishing this sort of material; I'd be much more interested in reading monthly educational snippets than a book-length Q&A-style info dump.
Dickson Tan
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in an accessible questions and answers format, this book answers some of the most common fitness and sports related questions that you might have, such as of course, "which comes first: cardio or weights". I'd recommend this to anyone.

This book is a bit dated now though, so I'm wondering what might change if an updated second edition was written.
Dan Bell
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hutchinson does the work for you by wading through the most recent studies to delineate scientifically strong fitness suggestions against folk tales with no factual evidence. A good read for anyone who wants to exercise more efficiently.
Nov 08, 2013 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 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of common sense info in this book. Loved the researched rational and the organization of topics.
Nov 06, 2016 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
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
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
May 04, 2013 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".
Trung Nguyen Dang
Fantastic book, probably the best I come across for exercises.
The book covers a wide array of common questions, myths, concerns regarding exercises, and answers those with proper scientific studies. The author, PhD and a former competitive runner, went through tons of scientific studies in various journal to write this book. I found myself highlighting all over the book and hard to put the book down once I started.
Happy to share the highlights upon request
Jan 21, 2012 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.
Aug 26, 2015 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.
Mar 27, 2016 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.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So you want to get healthier? Excellent! Let me explain . . . No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

That's basically what this book is. It takes all of the science around exercise and tries to sum it up in concise little chunks to help physiology neophytes like me understand what's going on with Exercise Type A vs. Exercise Type B.

So which comes first? Cardio or weights? Well, it may not surprise you that there isn't one right answer. There are just lots of trade-offs. It turns out doing a
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The master trainers at FISAF, often berating new trainees not to enslave their grey matter to the exhortations of the countless Men's This or Women's That periodicals, would not likely be disappointed with this book. Written by a scientist, the book makes citations to well-documented research by well-established educational or research institutions in the field of sports science.

The book covers many topics that would not surprise FISAF-certified trainers or instructors familiar with the subject
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have a habit of listening to infomercials about fitness, or pick up the usual fitness magazine this is a really good book at dispelling so many myths about exercise. Even some really longstanding myths. The author is a runner and his bias for aerobics comes through. I think, however, he stays fairly objective listing the benefits of both aerobics and weight training.
Here is the bottom line of this book. Exercise is really good for you. Eating a well balanced diet is good for you. You
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fitness
This was an enjoyable and interesting read. I've been a little obsessive about fitness lately (I'm a marathon runner), and this book was right up my alley.

There are a lot of articles on Runner's World and other websites that basically review a recent study and discuss the implications. This book is basically over 100 of those articles one after another. However, each short topic doesn't just focus on one study, but often mentions multiple studies. The science-based approach is very informative
This book has all kinds of fitness information and cites the studies conducted that led to the findings. There is more updated information about fitness out there, this book was written in 2011, but it has some good advice about what to eat before working out, how you should workout, what to focus on, and a lot more useful information. The question-and-answer format, along with summary sections at the end of each chapter, make it really easy to pick up and put down too.
Samuel Camarillo
Very informative. This book was published in 2011, already almost 10 years ago. Most studies were pretty new back then but now are already 10-15 years old. However it deals with very useful information that can be expanded and complemented through own research. whether you are starting a new exercise program or already are an amateur athlete, the information will be very useful; I highly recommend it.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
I went into this thinking it'd be another throw-away, bro-sciencey, collection-of-blog-posts type of "book" that plagues the shelves nowadays. Boy was I wrong. "Which Comes First" is chock full of up-to-date, useful information for both exercise newcomers and grizzled veterans alike. It's covers technical topics in an accessible way and it's well organized and easy to read approach makes it the best book on exercise I've read in years.
Jeff DeRosa
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you know nothing about exercise, this book will help you sift through the inaccuracies and get you started. If you're an experienced athlete, this book will help reset your mind and focus your attention; and you'll say things like "oh, yes, I forgot about that." This was published in 2011 so updating will be needed soon. But much of the information remains relevant here in 2018. I love how the author cites many different sources. It's also an easy read.
Mary Ann Merlin
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Informative and quick to the point

For an accurate view of the latest studies this book becomes a must read. If you were a decent in the know athlete 20 years ago, trust me a lot has changed. Read the scientific studies and above all think for yourself. You'll be surprise how much crap was passed off as fact. Ah, the good old days, it's a miracle we survived. Not kidding.
Pat Carlson
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fitness advice backed up by science

There is so much misinformation about fitness published. This book summarizes the conclusions that have been reached after multiple studies have indicated the same thing. It’s easy to read, and there is sufficient detail to make the information memorable.
Ananya Gupta
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An especially easy read for demystifying the myths on exercise. The chapters are in done in a relaxed Q&A style , backed with researched facts. I liked the liberal style on how each topic and fact is approached and no personal prejudice of the author creeps in. Fantastic read for wannabe and old timer exercise enthusiasts
This book was mostly entertaining and informative. It's written largely for people who are relatively new to exercising, but I still learned a lot. I liked how much he relied on scientific studies and was very forthcoming about the gaps in the research. I would've preferred if he'd covered fewer topics in more detail, but I can appreciate what the author was going for.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good, very succinct, well-referenced book. There's a few things in there that I feel skew towards the "make the masses feel good"direction, but generally, I enjoy Alex's results/labs based conclusions and writing style.
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Alex Hutchinson is a columnist for Outside magazine and was a long-time columnist for Runner's World. A National Magazine Award winner, he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker online, pens the weekly "Jockology" column in the Toronto Globe and Mail, and writes for the New York Times. FiveThirtyEight recently named him one of their "favorite running science geeks." He was a two-time finalist ...more
“Earlier studies with dogs and goats have suggested that brain temperature, rather than core temperature, might control the limit of exercise tolerance in the heat.” 2 likes
“The important thing is that, thanks to epidemiological studies, we know that exercise is the most powerful anti-aging tactic we’ve got.” 1 likes
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