Should I do Cardio Before or After Weights?

One of the most frequently asked questions in the gym is, “should I do cardio before or after I lift weights?”

Well the answer is not as clear cut as you think. Trainers, fitness experts, exercise physiologists and scientists are all still debating if it is better to do cardio before or after your resistance training session, if you were going to do both on the same day. There is very little peer reviewed literature on the subject, so what should we all do?

Well everyone needs to be their own scientists and figure out what works for them.

What I find when working with a lot of my clients is if my clients does an intense cardio session at the beginning of their workout they expend a lot of energy and they cannot lift as heavy or as intensely as they would normally be able to if they just warmed up and then went right to lifting weights.

The same is true for cardio. If one of my clients comes in and has a really heavy and intense strength workout and then tries to do an intense cardio session they don’t have the energy and are not able to go as fast or as long or train at the same level because they have depleted a lot of their energy stores when they were lifting weights.

When it comes to the general public I get them to take note of their goal, (lose weight, gain muscle, get stronger etc…). Then take note of their current program, the order that they do their exercises in, the intensity they are able to train at.

If they want to gain muscle and strength then they should be putting the majority of their energy into their resistance training workouts. If they are training for an endurance race then their focus should be on increasing cardio and endurance.

If you are not training for anything specific it is a good idea to change around your program every few months so that you don’t get bored and so that your body continuously need so adapt to the changing stimuli. Try doing cardio first for a few months then do your strength first for a few months and see if you notice any difference in your goals.

The key is to find out what works for you because what works for you may not work for everyone else.

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