Alex Hutchinson is a journalist who writes about the science of endurance and fitness and has featured in many popular running and cycling magazines. Which comes first, cardio or weights is a book about all of the commonly held beliefs around fitness and exercise.


The title is misleading as it’s not just about cardio vs weight training but covers all sorts of things such as should you train when you’re ill, the role of coffee, weight management, treating injuries,  and will running damage your knees. There are no magic recommendations or plans to follow but rather it’s an up to date guide on what scientists currently know about exercise, health and performance.

The chapter on weight management was a breath of fresh air as he dispelled a lot of myths about obesity and the effects on healthy. He covers things like can you be fat and fit and is weight loss as simple as calories in vs calories out and the fat burning zone.

There’s a chapter on injuries which is really useful. In years gone by we’d be told to completely immobilise a sprained ankle or broken limb but he talks about current research which shows that mobilizing a limb much more quickly leads to faster recovery times. If you’re confused about ice baths and when to use heat or cold and how to treat an injury then he covers all the latest research.

At the end of each chapter there’s a useful cheat sheet.

It was an easy read and I read the whole thing over a few days while on holiday. It contains a lot of useful information that really helped me and stimulated my thinking about my current practices.