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Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?



A question often asked by many. Should I do cardio or weight training first? The answer to this frequent question is very individually based and depends on your personal goals. What are you training for? Are you training just to lose weight? Are you training for a race? Are you tying to get leaner, add muscle and get stronger? Or are you training strictly for cardiovascular benefits? Those questions should all be used to determine which you should do first, cardio or weights. To simplify things, let's break it down by goal and activity.


If you're training for a race or working to get faster: Do cardio first! Think about it, if you go do a leg workout, then try to run, how do your legs feel? Probably heavy, maybe fatigued and tired. You most likely won't have as much energy to direct to your cardio activity if you do your weights first so cardio first in this case!


If you're looking to get leaner: Do strength training first! Many people still have a hard time wrapping their head around strength training for weight loss because we've been so conditioned to use cardio for weight loss. Here's the thing. Strength training builds muscle, muscle burns calories, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. So directing most of your energy towards strength training will help you to build muscles which will in turn help you to burn more calories!


If you're wanting to improve your cardiovascular health: Do either! While we've been told for years that cardio is best for cardiovascular training, recent studies show that resistance training could have the same benefits if not BETTER benefits than cardio! Either one you choose, make sure you're in a cardio or fat burning state to get your heart rate pumping!


If you're wanting to get stronger: Do strength training first! This might seem obvious but many people still try to bust out a little cardio prior to strength training in order to get their heart rate pumping and warm up their muscles. The thing is, if we want to build muscle we want as much glycogen (AKA energy) stores available to be directed towards the muscle building activity. So if you do want to add a little cardio to your strength training workout, save it for after!


Bottom line, when deciding which to do first, cardio or weights, think about your personal goals and what you want to direct the majority of your energy to during your workout.

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