Cardio Before or After Weights: Which One Should Come First And Why?

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Cardio Before or After Weights


Our Summary And Answer: Cardio Before or After Weights


Cardio can be done before weights or after weights, but many people choose to do cardio after weight lifting. The reason is that it keeps energy levels higher because you won’t fatigue as quickly, and the body is better prepared to handle weights. It all comes down to personal preference- do weights first or cardio first!


The debate over whether cardio should come before or after weights has been going on for years. People have argued that doing cardio before lifting weights will improve cardiovascular health. In contrast, others argue that it’s better to do so afterward because you’ll be fresher and able to lift more. But what does the science say? You might be surprised!  


The truth is, there isn’t a definitive answer- both methods have their benefits. For example, cardio before weights can burn a few extra calories and give you an edge when it comes to endurance in your workout, but some people may feel too tired from the workout beforehand and not push themselves as hard during their weight session.


On the other hand, doing cardio after lifting weights is excellent for recovery purposes- this way, you’re not “wasting” your cardiovascular workout on a strength training session.


In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of doing both and discuss which one is most beneficial for a few different types of individuals.


What Is Cardio?

Essentially, cardio refers to any activity that elevates your heart rate for a prolonged period. This can include running, cycling, jumping rope, swimming- even dancing or playing basketball!


What Is Weightlifting?

Weightlifting, or resistance training, involves using progressively heavier weights to build muscle and strength. It is a form of physical exercise that aims to increase your lean body mass by encouraging progressive overload through various movements involving the use of free weights and weight machines.


What’s The Difference?


Weightlifting focuses on increasing muscular strength, while cardio is more about increasing cardiovascular strength and endurance. Weightlifting can also have significant benefits on the body’s metabolism, which means it burns more calories over 24 hours than other activities.


Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Now that you know the difference between the two let’s take a look at the benefits of cardio exercise.


#1 - Weight Loss

Getting the heart rate up for an extended period will increase caloric expenditure, resulting in weight loss. Although cardio doesn’t specifically work “spot reduction,” it does help to shed fat from the body as a whole. If done at a moderate intensity, you can burn up to 10 calories/minute!


#2 - Increases energy

If you’re tired and sluggish during the day, cardio can be an excellent way to get your energy up. Not only that, but it’s a fantastic supplement for weightlifting sessions- getting in some extra cardio training will help you recover more quickly between sets.


#3 - Prevents Disease

As mentioned earlier, cardio has significant benefits on the body’s metabolism. Because of this, it can help prevent obesity and type II diabetes. It also plays a key role in preventing heart disease and high blood pressure!


#4 - Mental Health

As if weight loss wasn’t enough- cardio has psychological benefits as well! People who do regular cardio training report feeling happier than those who don’t.


#5 - Improves Fitness

As well as making you healthier, cardio helps to increase your fitness level. Over time, you’ll notice that endurance and speed improve- meaning running or cycling will be much easier!


#6 - Improves Overall Performance

If you’re a runner or a cyclist, then cardio training is essential to improve your performance. Unfortunately, some people say that they feel “heavy” in the legs when they’ve been neglecting their cardio sessions for too long!


Benefits of Weight Lifting

Now that we know the benefits of cardio let’s talk about weightlifting.


#1 - Helps Maintain A Healthy Metabolism

Just like cardio exercise, weightlifting helps keep your metabolism high- meaning you can burn more calories in a given day! That means better workouts and less fat storage.


#2 - Increases Lean Body Mass

As mentioned earlier, weightlifting can have a significant impact on your metabolism. Not only that, but it also helps to bulk up and tone the muscles in your body- which is excellent for weight loss! If you want to get toned and shredded- look no further than weightlifting.


#3 - Prevents Disease

Similar to cardio exercise, weightlifting also has a positive impact on the body’s metabolism. As a result, weightlifting can decrease your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and even type II diabetes!


#4 - Increases Your Bone Strength

Some studies show that weightlifting can improve bone strength– particularly in older women. This is because of the strain weight training puts on bones.


#5 - Improves Mood

Weightlifting has mental benefits too! It can improve concentration, increase energy levels, and decrease stress levels. This is why some professional athletes incorporate weight training into their workout routines- it’s not just about building muscle!


#6 - Increases Flexibility & Endurance

Studies show that weightlifting can increase flexibility over time- which is fantastic. For those of you who do cardio, weightlifting sessions can help to improve your performance!


#7 - Helps To Prevent Injury

While cardio training helps to prevent injury, weightlifting does as well. If you’re doing weightlifting exercises at a high intensity, then you’ll build up your strength and endurance- making it much harder to injure yourself.


#8 - Improves Self-Image

Like cardio, weightlifting can help you to feel better about yourself. In addition, weight training helps build muscle and gain strength- which gives you a more toned look.


Benefits of Cardio Before Weightlifting

While it’s generally accepted that weightlifting should come before cardio, there are some benefits to doing it the other way around.


#1 - Helps To Burn Fat

If you’ve got a bit of extra fat to burn off, then doing cardio first can help! After all, doing some intense cardio for 20-30 minutes will push your body into that “fat-burning zone.” That means it is more likely to burn off excess fat before you do your weight training sessions.


#2 - Increases Blood Flow To The Muscles

Weightlifting puts a lot of stress on the muscles in the body- which is why they tend to feel “heavy.” That’s not a good thing! If you do cardio first, then it will help with blood flow to the muscles. This means they’ll be prepared for your weight training session, and it’s less likely you’ll injure yourself!


#3 - Energizes You For Your Workout

Doing cardio before a weightlifting workout can improve energy levels- which is essential when trying to push yourself in the gym! So if you work out in the morning, then shoot for cardio before your weights sessions.


#4 - Increases Motivation

While you might think that doing weights first will increase motivation, research shows the opposite. Instead, if you do cardio first, it can help build up your energy levels and decrease fatigue, meaning you’re more likely to work out harder!


#5 - Keeps Blood Sugar At Stable Levels

If you are new to working out, then you should do cardio first. Why? It keeps your blood sugar levels- which means it will be easier to push yourself during workouts!


Benefits of Doing Cardio After Weight Training

There are some benefits to doing cardio after weights as well- here’s a list:


#1 - Improves Recovery Times

The more time the body spends recovering, the more powerful it becomes. That means you can do weights sessions with less rest in between, and therefore get even bigger muscles! However, your muscles need about 24 hours of recovery time, so it’s best to wait at least that long between weightlifting sessions.


#2 - Decreases Risk Of Injuries

When you do cardio before weights, the body is fatigued. While it’s good to be energized for a workout session, being tired can increase your risk of injury! That means going in less prepared if you hit the gym in a fatigued state- not a good idea!


#3 - Elevated Testosterone Levels

There are some benefits to doing cardio after weights- including increased testosterone levels. This hormone is essential for building muscle, but it’s also suitable for burning fat too!


#4 - Increases Energy For Weightlifting Sessions

One of the biggest reasons many people avoid doing cardio before weight training is because they want their energy levels to remain high for their weightlifting session. However, if you do cardio first, it will deplete your energy levels, leaving you less motivation to hit the weights with full force.


Cardio Before or After Weights: Which One You Should Choose?

If you are new to working out, then it’s best to do cardio first. That’s because it will improve your endurance, which leads to higher intensity during weight training sessions!


One of the biggest reasons people do cardio after weights are that they want their energy levels to remain high for their weight lifting session. If you do cardio before weights, your energy levels will be depleted- meaning you won’t have as much motivation to push yourself during the session.


In addition, you should do cardio after weights if you want to improve recovery times. While you want to be energized for a workout session, being tired can increase your risk of injury!


Tips When Doing A Cardio Workout

There are some general tips for doing a cardio workout- no matter when you choose to do it! Let’s go over them:


#1 - Don't Overdo It

The most important thing to remember is not to overdo it! Of course, you want your body to be energized and ready for a workout session- but you don’t need to kill yourself in the process! So instead, keep things at a light jog. If you’re running, then try not to go too fast.


#2 - Keep Things Interesting

No matter if you’re doing cardio before or after weight training, make sure it’s an exciting workout! Find new ways to get your heart rate up- such as running through trails instead of on a track! Mix up the speed and intensity every once in a while too.


#3 - Drink Plenty Of Water

The more water you drink, the better! This will help keep your energy levels up, clear out toxins from the body, and increase endurance during workouts!


#4 - Keep A Workout Log

While it’s important to switch things up every once, make sure you keep a workout log. That means recording all your workouts and checking in to see how they impact your body.


#5 - Get Plenty Of Sleep

The body is pretty worn out after a cardio session- so that’s when it needs the most sleep! Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night if you do cardio.


#6 - Eat Plenty Of Protein

After a cardio session, your body needs to rebuild itself. That means recovery time and increased energy levels! To help power this recovery period, make sure you eat plenty of protein- such as lean meats like chicken and fish.


Another thing that will help with recovery time is glutamine. This amino acid helps regulate the immune system and plays a role in protein synthesis.


#7 - Rest

Make sure you rest! It would help if you were getting plenty of it between workouts to achieve muscle and muscles growth. If your schedule allows, try to get in a short 20-minute nap after a workout session too! This will help to clear out toxins and give you more energy for another workout later on.


#8 - Don't Neglect Weight Training

While cardio is good for burning fat, it doesn’t do much for building muscle. For that reason, you need to make sure you’re still weight training- even if you want to burn off fat quickly! That will increase your metabolism and lead to more energy levels too!


#9 - Take It Slow

If you’re overweight and don’t have a lot of muscle, it’s best to take things slowly. Make sure your weight is manageable and that the intensity isn’t too high! Ask for help if you need to.


#10 - Keep A Balanced Diet

Finally, keep a balanced diet! Your body needs the proper nutrients to stay energized and recover properly. So if you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and fish- you’ll be good to go!


Frequently Asked Questions : Cardio Before or After Weights

What happens if you do cardio after weight training?

If you do cardio after weight training, it can cause fatigue and soreness. That means you won’t be working as hard during your workout routine, which ultimately slows down your weight loss goals. In addition, you increase the risk of injury.


Is cardio before weights bad?

While some people prefer to do cardio before weight training- it just depends on your goals. For example, if you’re getting bigger and want more blood flow, then doing cardio before weights is a good plan! But if you specifically want to burn fat, focus more on the workout routine itself rather than when you do it.


Is it OK to do cardio and weights on the same day?

As long as you rest in between, there’s no reason why both cardio and weight training can’t be done on the same day. However, make sure to wait at least an hour before going again- otherwise, you’ll risk overworking your muscles!


Final Thoughts : Cardio Before or After Weights

So what’s the verdict? The answer is, it depends. If you are looking to build muscle mass and strength, then weights should come first.


But if your goal is fat loss or cardio endurance, you may want to start with a jog around the block before getting on the treadmill for an hour of steady-state aerobic work. Whichever exercise comes first will depend on your goals in that workout session!


Cardio Before or After Weights

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