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Should you do Cardio before or after lifting weights?



Well-known member
May 22, 2015

Cardio Before or After Weight Training?​

The decision to do cardio before or after weight training depends on your unique fitness goals. If you're aiming to boost endurance and kick-start your metabolism, you'd likely benefit from a cardio workout first. On the other hand, if building muscle strength and size is your objective, starting with weightlifting might be more advantageous for you. Remember, managing fatigue and optimizing your energy expenditure plays a key role in shaping your workout routine. Stick around, and you'll pick up a few more tips to customize your fitness regime effectively.

Understanding Cardio and Weight Training​

Before diving into whether you should do cardio before or after weight training, it's important you have a clear understanding of what these two forms of exercise are and how they affect your body. Knowing the cardio basics and weightlifting fundamentals will help you design effective fat burning workouts, and achieve your fitness goals.
Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, primarily targets your heart and lungs. It's all about raising your heart rate, improving oxygen intake, and burning calories. Whether it's running, swimming, or cycling, cardio increases your stamina and aids in weight loss.

Weightlifting, on the other hand, focuses on building muscle strength and size. It's a type of resistance training where you use your muscles to lift weights, causing muscle contractions which leads to increased muscle mass. This not only tones your body! It charges your metabolism, meaning you burn more calories even at rest.

Exercise timing plays an important role in your workout routine. Depending on your fitness goals, you might need to prioritize one form of exercise over the other. But remember, balance is key. Both cardio and weightlifting have unique benefits, and incorporating both in your routine can give you the best of both worlds.

Benefits of Cardio Before Weights​

Shifting our focus now to the benefits of performing cardio before weights, it's worth noting that this order can greatly boost your endurance and stamina for the entire workout session. This routine serves as an excellent warmup, preparing your body for the more strenuous activity that follows. It's a method that's both efficient and effective in setting the pace for your workout.

By starting with cardio, you're basically boosting your metabolism early on. This augmentation can be particularly advantageous regarding endurance enhancement. It allows you to sustain longer workout sessions since your body is conditioned to endure the strain.

Moreover, cardio before weights facilitates fat burning optimization. It's widely known that cardio exercises are excellent for burning fat and calories. By engaging in cardio first, you're maximizing this fat-burning potential right from the get-go.
Most importantly, this order can lead to enhanced performance overall. When your body is properly warmed up and your metabolism is revved up, you're more likely to perform better in your weight training. You'll find that you can lift heavier and push harder, resulting in a more productive workout. So, if you're looking to maximize your workout efficiency, consider doing your cardio before hitting the weights.

Cardio before or after lifting weights

Advantages of Cardio After Lifting​

On the flip side, there's a solid case to be made for saving your cardio until after you've completed your lifting. One significant advantage lies in Fatigue Management. By lifting first, you're able to put your all into building strength without being worn out from cardio.

Muscle Recovery also plays a critical role. Your body uses the cooldown time post-lifting to start repairing the muscles you just worked. Adding in cardio at this stage can accelerate the recovery process by promoting blood flow to the tired muscles.

Another benefit is a Metabolism Boost. By doing cardio after weights, you've already depleted your glycogen stores from lifting, forcing your body to burn fat during the cardio session. This can lead to weight loss over time.
Moreover, you're also promoting better Heart Health. The combination of lifting and cardio in this order can increase your heart rate variability, a key indicator of heart health.

Lastly, Endurance Building is another advantage. Post-lifting cardio can be an effective way to build your endurance, as it forces your body to work harder under fatigue. This can help improve your performance in future workouts.

Comparing Both Workout Orders​

Now that we've explored the benefits of doing cardio after weights, let's compare both workout orders to see which one might suit your fitness goals better.
Workout timing plays an important role in determining the effectiveness of your exercise regimen. Doing cardio before weight training can lead to higher energy expenditure as your body will need to work harder to lift weights after a cardio session. However, this might also lead to muscle fatigue earlier in your workout, which could limit your strength training performance.

On the other hand, doing weights before cardio can help you achieve best results from your resistance training as your muscles will be fresh and not fatigued from cardio. You'll be able to lift heavier weights and perform more repetitions, resulting in a more effective strength workout.

But there's a downside to this order too. After an intense weight training session, you might find it challenging to maintain a high intensity during your cardio workout.
As for recovery periods, doing cardio after weights gives your muscles a chance to cool down and start the recovery process, while doing cardio first can make your recovery periods longer due to the additional strain on your muscles from weightlifting. The order of workouts can have a significant impact on your energy levels, muscle fatigue, and recovery times.

Personalizing Your Workout Routine​

Ultimately, it's imperative to tailor your workout routine based on your specific fitness goals and individual needs. When structuring your workout, the order of cardio and weight training can impact your training intensity and exercise duration, making it essential to devise a plan that aligns with your objectives.

For instance, if your fitness goal is to lose weight, you might want to start with cardio to maximize calorie burn. But if building muscle is your priority, then it's best to start with weight training when your energy levels are highest. Remember, the intensity of your workout can directly affect your individual endurance.

The duration of your exercise also matters. If you can only spare 30 minutes a day, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) might be more suitable than an hour-long weightlifting session.
Lastly, don't forget to incorporate workout variation. Not only does it keep your routine interesting, but it also challenges different muscle groups and boosts overall fitness.

Frequently Asked Questions​

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Combining Cardio and Weight Training?​

You might think you're doing it right by mixing cardio and weight training, but common mistakes can impact cardio intensity and resistance training effects. Overlooking the importance of workout order, you might end up overtraining, which poses serious risks. Also, not allowing enough recovery time is another blunder you might be making. Remember, each exercise type has its place, and understanding how to properly combine them can greatly enhance your fitness results.

How Can I Prevent Injuries When Doing Cardio and Weight Training on the Same Day?​

To prevent injuries while doing cardio and weight training on the same day, it's essential to incorporate proper stretching and warm up techniques. These help prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Don't underestimate the importance of rest periods, they're necessary for muscle recovery. Always maintain the correct form to avoid strain or injury. Lastly, don't forget the significance of hydration, it's important for muscle function and preventing fatigue.

How Does One's Diet Affect the Results of Combining Cardio and Weight Training?​

Your diet has a significant impact on the results of combining cardio and weight training. Dietary timing, such as when you eat, plays a key role in energy consumption and recovery. Macronutrient balance is essential for muscle growth and fat loss. Don't forget the importance of hydration for ideal performance. Supplements can also play a vital role, filling in nutritional gaps. So, what you eat, when you eat, and how much you drink can all shape your outcomes.

Can I Still See Results if I Only Do Cardio Before Weight Training, or Vice Versa?​

Absolutely, you can still see results by doing cardio before weightlifting, or vice versa. The key is monitoring your heart rate, maintaining correct weightlifting techniques, and being mindful of cardio intensity. Training frequency also plays a role. It's crucial not to overdo it and to make sure you're allowing enough rest periods between workouts. Ultimately, it's about finding what works best for you and sticking with it.

Is There a Specific Time of Day That Is Best for Doing Cardio and Weight Training?​

There's no definitive best time for cardio and weight training. Morning exercise benefits include a metabolic boost and increased focus throughout the day. Evening workouts can leverage hormonal changes effect for muscle growth. Fasted cardio impact might help with fat loss. Sleep quality influence is also key; choose a time that doesn't disrupt your sleep. Ultimately, it's about when you'll consistently exercise.