Sequencing Your Classes

Sequencing Your Classes

Recent sports science studies have proven that exercise actually contributes very little to the overall amount of calories we burn in a day. In fact, all the calories we burn in class gets negated by the next meal that enters our body. Exercise is still important for lung and heart health, plus if we build more muscles, that'll help us burn more calories through the day.

So it amuses me to see members attending so many classes within a day during pre-Covid. I've seen one who did 5 classes in a single day. Why? To get fitter? Because it is fun? To stretch the membership cost? I guess it is up to the member. And because of this mentality of needing to attend more classes in a day, the results are injuries and a warped sense of what fitness is.

One of the best things about Circuit Breaker is that it has stopped everyone from doing so many classes a day. 2 classes max have been imposed on everyone, but that doesn't mean there are no silly people still trying to do crazy stunts. Like doing a Circuit class followed by a BODYPUMP class and not being able to achieve all movements within both classes, and thus not getting the benefits out of any. 

Personally, I'd book a gym floor access in the morning for my own workout followed by a class of any kind in the afternoon/evening. That's how I'd utilize my 2 bookings. I'll never do 2 classes in a row. Well, here's my interview with myself for me to explain why.

Would I do 2 classes in a row?

No. I don't see the point in doing so. I'd rather give my 100% in one class to get the full benefits of the class and then head off, than to get 75% of the benefits from one class less than 50% from the other and pat myself on the back for achieving nothing.

Would I do a strength class followed by a cardio class?

No. Science shows that working out over 90 minutes will raise the rate of muscle loss as the body requires fuel to keep you moving. Since it has run out of glycogen by then, guess where it'll target next? Your muscles! Your hard earned muscles! If you want to do some cardio after your strength training, instead of attending a cardio class, do 20-30 minutes of constant light cardio on the treadmill or spin bike as an active recovery. Your body will thank you for it.

Would I do a cardio class followed by a strength class?

I wouldn't do 2 classes in a row. Same reason as above. Doing cardio followed by strength training is great for endurance athletes. If you're training to be one, then you can do a cardio class and follow that with light strength training. It wouldn't be beneficial if I'm looking to gain strength and muscles though.

How about a core class followed by any other classes?

Working out your core as a standalone is great cos you're focused and full of energy. This means you can put every ounce of effort into getting your core stronger. Beats working your core after a strength or cardio class as you would have fatigued by then. Would I do a class after my core training? No. I wouldn't even do any light or heavy strength training after a core class. My core would have been exhausted by then, which means risk of injury will increase. I'd go for a short run or bike ride as an active recovery though.

Would I do 2 strength classes in a row?

No. I wouldn't have anything left if I gave my 100% in the first class. The 2nd strength class instead of getting me stronger, is actually detrimental to my health. Possibility of overexerting a muscle is high, risk of injury is high, suppressed immune system, physical exhaustion that'll cause me to lose my focus for the rest of the day. Are all of that worth it? No. Will I get stronger by doing 2 strength classes in a row? No. The reverse happens. I'll get weaker. Let's be honest. You're not feeding your muscle when you do 2 strength classes in a row. You're feeding your own ego.

Would I do 2 cardio classes in a row?

Unless I am training for some endurance event, or else nope. Same answer as above.

Would I do 2 core classes in a row?

Nope. Same answer as above.

Would I do 2 yoga classes in a row?

Nope. Same answer as above.

Would I do a yoga class followed by a strength or cardio class?

No. Why cancel the benefits of one class by doing the other? You just spent an hour releasing all the tension and now you want to compress everything back in. That doesn't make sense. Besides, your muscles would have been stretched out by the end of the yoga class. Due to the nature of it, risk of injury can increase. You wouldn't be able to give your 100% in the second class nonetheless. Go have a good meal and then go home.

Can't I Use The Yoga Class As A Warm Up?

NO ONE DOES A ONE HOUR WARM UP. Research done by the University of Calgary Human Performance Laboratory shows that the longer the warm up the faster athletes fatigued and there's lesser muscular response. 

But these are the only classes that I can do on this particular day. Can't I just do them both?

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Instead of doing both, why not do the classes on alternate weeks? Yoga this week and the strength class next week.

I really want to do 2 classes in a day! How can I do that?

Split up the workout to get the most benefits. Do a class in the morning, rest 3-6 hours and do another class in the afternoon. Or split morning/evening or afternoon/evening. The hours in-between allows your body to rest, hydrate and refuel. If you're able to do this, then you can choose to do strength for the first session and cardio for the second. Or cardio for the first session and a core class for the second. However you want to mix and match it.

Can I do 2 strength classes on consecutive days?

Weights training on the gym floor is where we focus on one muscle group a day. Or we focus on pull muscles one day and push muscles the other. This enables our muscles to have enough recovery to rebuild. Strength classes tend to utilize all muscle groups within a class. Your muscles won't get the time to rebuild if you put your body through the wringer the next day. So a good rule of thumb is to have a day between 2 strength classes.

Can I do 2 cardio classes on consecutive days?

Yes. Yes you can. But optimise your cardio workouts by doing 2 different cardio programs instead of sticking to the same program for both days. Variety confuses your body and improves your results.

Can I do 2 yoga classes on consecutive days?

Yes you can. Same as the cardio classes. Try and do different yogas on both days.

Any Last Words?

Again, just because you can doesn't mean you should. It is very important to first and foremost remember why you are working out. Next is to understand how sequencing your classes can either help your cause or break you. All the latest scientific research in the recent years have shown that less is more. What you do and how long you do it for has a direct impact to your health and fitness.