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Cardio or Weights First?

January 5, 2023

This is one of the most common questions clients ask me when they start to really mentally and physically get into the workout groove! Many people tend to alternate between the cardio and weights switching off day to day. But what happens when you combine both types of exercise into the same workout? Determining which to do first can be tricky!

Cardio can be EITHER a great starter or finisher to weight training. However, if you are doing cardio at a higher intensity, it may leave you tired during your strength training. If going on a moderately paced walk, you probably will not be tired to go ahead and strength train immediately afterward.

The Benefits of Cardio Before Weights:

If you want to increase endurance, cardio before weight training is the optimal choice. Performing cardio uses energy from the energy stores needed to sustain aerobic/cardiovascular exercise.

Performing cardio before weight training will enhance cardiovascular endurance. Also, weight training with these depleted energy stores will enhance muscular endurance as well. This may be a goal of long-distance or marathon runners. It will improve fatigue resistance and develop the slow-twitch muscle fibers needed for endurance-based activities.

The cardio is also a great warm-up! If you complete a walk before strength training and are not physically tired after the walk, you could look at your walk as your warm-up.

The Benefits of Cardio After Weights:

Doing cardio after weight training is ideal if you want to lose fat and increase strength. Increasing muscle mass is also desirable for fat loss goals and has been shown to increase metabolism.

You will have so much energy for strength training if you wait until AFTER it to do your cardiovascular section.

If you are somewhat new to exercising and currently in a routine, it is important to stick with what is working! If you feel better doing weights after cardio or vice versa, then do it! It’s more important to stay motivated and do what feels good for you, especially if just beginning.

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