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    Cardio or Weights: Which Comes First?

    One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "If I am going to do my cardio and strength training on the same day, which comes first?"

    Cardio or Weights: Which Comes First?

    Air Force News

    One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a fitness professional is, "If I am going to do my cardio and strength training on the same day, which comes first?"

    Experts are split on this issue. The majority of fitness experts will advise you to do the cardio after the weight training, because if you do cardio first, it uses up much of the energy source for your anaerobic work (strength training) and fatigues the muscles before their most strenuous activity. This same view holds that strength training first will deplete the muscles' stored carbohydrates (glycogen or sugar), and therefore, it will enhance fat burning during the cardio workout because of the lack of available sugar for fuel.


    However, there is no credible, concrete research that proves this, and what it should come down to are your fitness goals.

    If your primary goal is to increase your aerobic endurance or lose body fat, then you should perform cardio first. If your primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then do strength training first. To get the most out of your workout, perform the exercise that is most important to your goals first, when you are not fatigued.

    If your fitness goals include overall improvements, finish your workout with the type of exercise you enjoy most.


    I see a lot of people who have set a goal of losing fat around their midsection, and they spend an hour on the bench press or doing tons of curls. Why? Because they are good at those and see the results. The problem is that when they are done, they are too fatigued or don't have time to have a quality cardio workout.

    The same applies to the folks I talk to who want to firm up their arms but don't like to lift weights because they don't want to "get big."

    Lifting weights does not equal "big" automatically, and you won't firm those muscles on the treadmill. Spend 10 minutes at the beginning of your workout working on your legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms and then go for your stair-stepping marathon. You will be shocked at how much more toned you become.

    The bottom line is this: It is better for you to have consistency in your exercise than to worry about the two extra calories you might burn from doing weights or cardio first. Analyze your goals and plan your workouts to reach those goals. Before you know it, your stomach will begin flattening out without sacrificing any of your chest or biceps size. Additionally, your triceps will have incredible shape and you still will be able to take the stairs to the top of Mount Everest.

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    Cardio Before Or After Weights? What Doctors And Research Say

    Whether you should do cardio or weights first depends on your fitness goals. Do you want to burn fat? Build muscle? Here's what you need to know.

    Women's Health may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in. Why trust us?

    Is It Better To Do Cardio Before Or After Weight Training? Trainers Weigh In

    Like your fitness goals, for starters.


    OCT 22, 2021


    Cardio and strength training both have their merits. You might prefer one type of exercise over the other—and, TBH, don’t we all—but you’ll want to do both every week to get max health benefits. The good news is that you can totally combine them into a single workout, like a bootcamp, or opt for two-a-day workouts to fit both in (as long as you do so properly). So, what’s better—cardio before or after weights?


    The answer depends on your end game. Maybe you’re aiming to make your heart and lungs healthier, or perhaps you’re more interested in weight loss or weight management. Your priorities will determine your workout sequence, as well as how often you should be doing cardio or lifting weights.

    Here's a cheat sheet based on common fitness goals, according to the American Council on Exercise.

    If your goal is better endurance, do cardio first.

    If your goal is burning fat and losing weight, do strength training first.

    If you want to get stronger, do strength training first.

    On upper-body strength training days, you can do either first.

    On lower-body strength training days, lift weights first.

    If your goal is just general fitness, do either first, but maybe start with the one you like less.

    Now that you’ve got some basic tips, read on for all the deets about combining cardio and weight training.

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    How often should you do cardio and weight training?

    “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults have at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity cardio a week, and strength training at least twice a week,” says Sarah Merrill, MD, a primary care and sports medicine physician at UC San Diego Health. But how you break that down depends on your goals—and your schedule.

    Some experts make the case for an additional day of strength work: “Ideally, I suggest weight training three times per week, as this frequency has been shown to be an effective strategy when it comes to muscle building and fat loss,” says Eric Bowling, CPT, a personal trainer at Ultimate Performance in Los Angeles. “Cardio can be done every day if it’s low-intensity; the higher the intensity, the less frequently you can perform it.”


    So, picking one cardio option, your weekly schedule might look something like this:

    Weight training: 2–4 times per week

    Low-intensity cardio: 5–7 times per week

    Moderate-intensity cardio: 3–4 times per week

    High-intensity cardio: 1–3 times per week

    How long those cardio workouts last also depends on your goals. If you're seeking strength improvements, then you may want to limit your cardio to a 10- to 15-minute session to warm up your muscles, says Mandeep Ghuman, MD, director of Dignity Health Medical Group's Sports Medicine Program in Northridge, California. “If your goal is overall fitness and health then there is no real limit, except your physical and schedule limitations.” Just keep those recommended weekly exercise guidelines in mind so you don’t overtrain.

    Can you do cardio and weights on the same day?

    Traditional workout guidance suggests people alternate their workouts—cardio one day, followed by weight training the next, or vice versa. But “there’s no reason you can’t do both in the same workout session, or split into two sessions on the same day,” Dr. Ghuman says.

    Take high-intensity workouts like an at-home tabata or Barry’s Bootcamp session, which combine strength and cardiovascular training to deliver results in a shorter time. Doing that type of workout doesn’t negatively affect you on any physiological level, according to a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research—and it may be a much more efficient use of your limited time.

    Here's a high-intensity workout you can try at home:

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    If you are going to do two separate workout sessions in one day, just make sure to leave enough time in between for your body to recover—around eight hours between high-intensity cardio and lifting weights, Bowling says. Your body doesn’t physiologically adapt (i.e. get stronger, faster, develop more endurance) until after a workout, so continually stressing it with exercise will actually hinder your progress.


    What’s the best type of cardio to combine with weight training?

    Weight training is anaerobic exercise—basically, short bursts of high-intensity effort that are fueled by glucose, not by oxygen. Bowling says low-intensity cardio (which is fueled by oxygen consumption) is the best type of cardio to pair with weight training.

    Source : www.womenshealthmag.com


    Fitness Evolved - Your fitness boutique with a unique training philosophy.


    20th January 2021

    Should you do your cardio before or after workout time? Like the most awkward Facebook relationship status of them all: it’s complicated.

    Some people slip in their cardio before their workout, many do it after, and some do it smack in the middle. What matters is that you do it at all – studies have shown that aerobic exercise (meaning, any activity “with oxygen”) is the single most important component in training.

    Continuous activities such as running, cycling, climbing, rowing or swimming at a moderate to high level, maintained for at least half-an-hour, three to seven days a week, deliver all kinds of benefits:

    It improves cardiovascular health, lessening the risk of heart disease.

    You get a buzzy mood-booster, thanks to feel-good chemicals (endorphins) triggered by heart-rate-increasing cardio. This positive feeling can last up to 24 hours, like a natural antidepressant.

    A 30-minute cardio session can burn hundreds of calories and aid in weight loss.

    So now you know you should do cardio, the question is when? What will work best for you depends on your training goals. Meaning, there’s no easy anwser on the already famous debate: cardio before or after workout?

    Cardio Before or After Workout?

    To increase general performance:

    Do cardio first and strength later

    A recent study in Sports Medicine analysed the difference between doing cardio before or after workout time and its effects on endurance, strength and recovery. The results showed that a morning cardio session with strength training later on was best for improving your fitness. For example, if you’re doing HIIT in the morning, wait at least six hours before hitting the weights. It gives your muscles time to get back to full function, meaning you’re less likely to plateau, burn-out or injure yourself.

    To increase strength, muscle mass or power:

    Do weight training first and cardio after

    It’s pretty straightforward: lifting is hard. You need all the energy you can muster to lift and shift weights without injuring yourself. When you’re sweaty and fatigued from a cardio session, your brain and body power is compromised and you’re unable to perform strength-building movements to your best ability. Science, as always, backs us up on this. Researchers found that cycling or running before a strength workout limited the number of weight-lifting reps exercisers could perform.

    The absolute best case scenario? Perform cardio and weight training on different days.

    There’s no reason you can’t do cardio and weights in the same workout session, or split a training session into two on the same day. But mixing up your weight training and cardio sessions throughout the week gives your body the space and energy to adapt to one specific way of moving at a time. It pretty much completely prevents any negative interaction between the two – giving your muscles time to mend after lifting or cardio and your body time to fully recover.

    No matter which way you lay things out – doing cardio before or after workout time – the bottom line is that you do need to get a regular plan going. Maximise your exercise by working with one of our personal trainers – experts in progressive and playful functional fitness.


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