Cardio or Weights: Which comes first?

Should I do cardio before or after weight training?

This tends to be one of the most controversial topics and one of the most frequently asked questions here in the gym. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on what works for them, and nobody knows your body like you do. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Though opinions are invariably split on the subject, most will agree that it does matter to some degree.

Weight training first V Cardio after.

Weight training uses glycogen as fuel so when you weight train before doing cardio, you burn most of your glycogen stores. This means your body will turn to using fat during your cardio session, thus increasing fat burn. After a workout your body will continue to burn additional calories for up to 48 hours. This is called Excess Post Oxygen Consumption. This occurs because your body needs energy to repair your muscles after you have challenged them. You burn calories at a much higher rate after weight training than after a steady state cardio workout. Why? Simply because cardio tends to wear you out, preventing you from lifting as heavy or intensely as you can.

A University of Tokyo study published in the American and Science in Sports and Exercise found that doing cardio after weight training burned more fat during the first 15 minutes of cardio than doing cardio before weights.

Cardio first V Weights after.

So what about cardio before weights session? Some experts believe that cardio before any weights session is beneficial in the fact that you will have more stamina to complete these high energy cardio sessions. another benefit of cardio before weights is the maximization of calorie burn, since cardio typically burns more calories than weight training alone.

So in what order should we be doing these workouts? Since there is no concrete research that proves this, what it really comes down to are your fitness goals. For instance if your primary goal is to increase aerobic endurance then you should do your cardio first. If your primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then do the strength training first. To get the best out of your workout, perform the exercise that is the most important to your goals when you are not fatigued. Keep in mind that you do not have to do strength and cardio all in one day.

Try for yourself! Spend one day lifting before cardio and another doing cardio before weights. See which method works best for you.