What difference does order make?
Any exercise is good exercise, but planning it right—like by taking advantage of the benefits of a morning workout—can help you get the most out of your workout. A sweat session is exhausting; no matter how revved up you are for a great workout, your muscles will be tired by the end. “Think of it like a gasoline tank,” says certified personal trainer Tony Stephan, RD. The longer you go, the more energy you use. That means your muscles will have an easier time with the exercises you start with and have a harder time pushing at the end. By ordering your moves strategically, you can take advantage of your full tank. But before any routine, learn the rules for starting a beginner workout.
Start with a warm-up
Prime your body before jumping into the tough stuff. Dynamic stretching—like bouncing into lunges and squats instead of staying still while you touch your toes—can prevent injury and mentally prepare you for the rest of your routine, says Stephan. (Learn more about whether you really need to stretch before working out.) A bit of light cardio can also help you warm up, but this is one time when harder isn’t better, says Dani Singer, certified personal trainer and fitness director of Fit2Go Personal Training. A five- or ten-minute jog can get your blood flowing, but starting with sprints will wear you out before you’ve really even started. “You want your warm-up to enhance your workout, not hinder it,” says Singer.