Which Comes First - Cardio or Weight Training?

Which Comes First – Cardio or Weight Training?

I’ve been going to gym for 3 years now and one thing I’ve noticed is that people either do cardio or strength training seldom both. While it’s true that many of us prefer one type of exercise over the other, I myself enjoy cardio workouts more but you need to do both on weekly basis if you want to get the most benefits from exercise.

So now the question is, should you do your cardio workout before you do strength training? Or is it the other way around?

The answer really depends on what it is you’re trying to achieve. Your priorities will determine the sequence of your workout as well as the frequency of the workout. For example:

  • If you want to lose weight and burn fat, do weight training first.
  • If you want to work on your endurance, do cardio first.
  • If you want to get stronger, do weight training first.
  • If you want to be achieve general fitness, you can start with the one you like the least. 

As for how often you should do cardio and strength training, it’s recommended that you clock in at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio each week, and then do weight/strength training at least 2x a week. But again, the frequency should be customized to fit your goals and schedule.

Can You Do Cardio and Strength Training in One Day?

Conventional fitness gurus will tell you to alternate your workouts. So you can do cardio today, and weight training tomorrow. But the truth is, you can do both in one day. It doesn’t negatively impact you on a physiological level. Plus, it’s also more efficient to do both workouts in a single day. I mean, who has the time to go to the gym every day? Not most people, for sure.

Combining Cardio with Weight Training

Strength training is classified as anaerobic exercise – short bursts of high intensity effort fueled by glucose. Doing low intensity cardio – aerobic exercise fueled by oxygen is the best pairing for weight training. So, you can do weight training and add a low intensity cardio such as jogging, walking or swimming.

The key is to pick an exercise activity you enjoy doing so it doesn’t become a chore.  If you enjoy your workout sessions, you’ll do it more consistently, making it more effective.

Now if your goal is to become stronger, you should do weight training and then cardio after. Lifting is hard and you’ll require a lot of energy to move loads in the correct form and technique. By doing weight training first, you will have more brain power to lift the weights whereas if you do cardio first, you’ll be tired and breathless by the time you begin lifting weights, putting you at risk of injury.

If your objective is to lose weight, you should still do weights first. That’s because after weight training, you’ll still be burning more fat while you’re doing cardio.

If your goal is to boost cardiovascular fitness, then it’s cardio first. Working on weights before doing cardio may cause muscle fatigue which could result in incorrect form and increasing your risk of injury.

Do Cardio or Weights First?

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