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Should I Do Cardio Before or After Weights? — Explained

Wondering whether you should do cardio before or after lifting weights? This article breaks down the pros and cons to help you decide what's best for your fitness routine.

Jayden Peters
Should I Do Cardio Before or After Weights? — Explained
Table Of Contents

Incorporating both cardio and strength training into a workout routine is essential for achieving optimal health and fitness. However, when it comes to the order in which these exercises should be performed, there is often a great deal of confusion and debate. Should you start with cardio to get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles, or begin with strength training to avoid depleting your energy levels and sacrificing muscle gains?

This article will discuss whether it's better to do cardio before or after lifting weights and explain how it can impact your fitness goals. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or just stay healthy, understanding the order in which to do cardio and strength training can help you get the best results from your workouts. We'll explain it in simple terms, so you can optimize your workouts and achieve your fitness goals.

The Debate Between Choosing Cardio or Weights First

The debate between choosing cardio or weights first in your workout is a longstanding one. Those in favor of doing cardio first argue that it helps warm up your muscles, increases your heart rate, and burns off some calories before starting your weight training routine.

They also argue that doing cardio first can help prevent injuries, as your muscles and joints are more flexible after a warm-up. On the other hand, those who prefer to lift weights first argue that weight training requires more energy, so starting with cardio can deplete your energy levels and hinder your muscle-building gains. They also believe that starting with weights first can help burn more fat, as lifting weights creates a greater afterburn effect.

Do Cardio and Weight Training on Different Days

Doing cardio and weight training on different days is a popular option for those who want to optimize their workouts and get the most out of their exercise routines. The main benefit of doing cardio and weight training on different days is that it allows you to focus on each type of exercise more effectively.

It means that you can dedicate more time and energy to your cardio workouts and weight training sessions without sacrificing the quality of either one. Separating your cardio and weight training routines also allows your muscles more time to recover in between workouts, which can help prevent injuries and ensure that you can perform at your best.

Additionally, doing cardio and weight training on different days allows you to plan your workouts more efficiently and ensure that you are targeting all the muscle groups in your body. This approach is especially beneficial for those with specific fitness goals or training for a particular event, as it allows you to tailor your workouts to meet your specific needs.

Cardio and weight training on different days can help you achieve a well-rounded workout routine that improves your cardiovascular fitness, builds muscle, and helps you maintain your overall health and well-being.

Lift Weights First and More Often During the Off-Season

One popular approach to balancing cardio and weight training is lifting weights first and often during the off-season. This approach is particularly beneficial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts with specific performance goals, such as increasing their strength or building muscle mass.

By lifting weights first, you can maximize your energy and focus on your strength training routine, which typically requires more intensity and focus than cardiovascular exercises. This approach can also help you build muscle more effectively, as lifting weights stimulates muscle growth and helps to increase overall muscle mass.

Additionally, focusing more on weight training during the off-season can give your body the time it needs to build strength and recover before engaging in more intense cardio exercises. It can help you avoid injuries and ensure that you can perform best when it matters most.

However, it is important to note that this approach may not suit everyone. It is essential to consult with a qualified fitness trainer or physician before embarking on a new workout routine. Lifting weights first and often during the off-season can be an effective way to balance cardio and weight training, build strength, and improve overall fitness levels.

Do Cardio First When You Have an Upcoming Race

Doing cardio before lifting weights can be particularly beneficial if you have an upcoming race, such as a marathon or a triathlon. It is because endurance athletes require a high level of cardiovascular fitness, and cardio training is an effective way to improve your aerobic capacity.

By doing cardio before lifting weights, you can focus your energy on developing your cardiovascular system, which will be essential for completing your race. Cardio training also provides other benefits, such as improved circulation, increased lung capacity, and greater endurance.

Additionally, doing cardio first can help warm up your muscles and joints, reducing the risk of injury during weight training. However, it's essential to be mindful of the potential drawbacks of doing cardio first, such as decreased strength during weight training and risk of injury.

It's essential to use proper form during weight training exercises and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. Overall, doing cardio first when you have an upcoming race can be an effective way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and prepare your body for the demands of endurance training.

Try Combining Cardio and Weights

Combining cardio and weights in your workout can be a highly effective way to improve your overall fitness. By incorporating both types of exercises into your routine, you can target different muscle groups and improve your cardiovascular fitness simultaneously.

It can help you build strength, improve endurance, and burn calories all at once. Some examples of exercises that combine cardio and weights include circuit training, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), and plyometric exercises. These workouts typically involve high-intensity movements that elevate your heart rate while incorporating strength training exercises.

By combining cardio and weights, you can get a full-body workout that challenges your muscles and cardiovascular system differently. It can help you achieve your fitness goals more efficiently and effectively than cardio or weight training alone. Supplementing with Pre Workout Powder will enhance and increase your strength and energy before every workout.

However, it's important to vary your workouts and gradually increase the intensity of your exercises over time to avoid plateauing and prevent injury. Overall, incorporating cardio and weights into your workouts can provide a well-rounded approach to fitness and help you achieve your goals faster.

Considerations for Specific Goals

It is important to consider specific fitness goals when determining whether to do cardio before or after weight lifting. Depending on the individual's task, one exercise may be preferable over another.

For example, if your goal includes muscle building through hypertrophy, you would benefit from doing weights after cardio as the cardio session would help with warm-up muscles targeted by that particular workout and therefore improve your performance.

Additionally, if you are focusing on cardiovascular endurance, then it might be better to begin with a few minutes of cardio before going into weighted exercises, as it will get your heart rate up sooner and help you achieve more afterward. Ultimately, ensuring you understand your personal fitness goals and needs is an invaluable part of getting the most out of any exercise regimen.

Whether you should do cardio before or after your workout to lose weight depends on your fitness goals and preferences. If you're trying to lose weight, the most important factor is creating a caloric deficit by burning more calories than you consume. Cardio is an effective way to burn calories, but it can also be tiring, which may affect your performance during strength training exercises. You can supplement with a fat burner to burn more calories quickly.

If you prefer to do cardio before your workout, you may be able to burn more calories during your strength training workout because your body will already be warmed up. On the other hand, if you do cardio after your workout, you may be able to push yourself harder during your strength training exercises because you won't be fatigued from cardio. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a routine that works for you and is sustainable in the long term.

The Importance of Warm-Up and Cooldown

When engaging in aerobic activities, it's important to remember the importance of both warming up and cooling down. Warm-up exercises prepare the body for activity by raising core body temperature, heart rate, and overall blood flow. Gentle stretching helps ease busy muscles into motion while extending the range of motion in joints and reducing the risk of injury.

Cooling down post-activity is equally important, as it allows the heart rate to gradually slow to its resting level. It helps decrease lactic acid build-up in the muscles, staves off soreness post-workout, and provides time to refocus energy levels back to normal.

Furthermore, a cooldown routine can be a powerful tool for physical relaxation and mental recovery from an intense cardiovascular exercise session. Proper warm-up exercises and active cooldown stretches can ensure that aerobic workouts are completed safely and effectively every time.


1. How much cardio should I do per week?

The amount of cardio you do per week will depend on your fitness goals and current fitness level.

2. Can I lose weight just by doing weight training?

Weight training can help you build muscle, which can, in turn, increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories. However, to lose weight, you also need to create a caloric deficit through a combination of diet and exercise.

3. Should I do cardio and weights on the same day or on separate days?

Answer: Again, this depends on your personal fitness goals and preferences. If you have a busy schedule, doing cardio and weights on the same day can be an efficient way to fit in both types of exercise. However, if you prefer to focus on one type of exercise at a time, you may choose to do cardio and weights on separate days.

4. Can I do both cardio and weights in one workout?

Yes, and this can be an effective way to improve overall fitness. However, it's important to structure the workout properly to avoid injury and ensure that you are able to give each exercise your all. Consider starting with a light warm-up, doing your weight training exercises first, then doing your cardio at the end.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the question of whether to do cardio before or after weight training ultimately depends on your individual fitness goals and preferences. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It's important to consider your goals, your current fitness level, and your overall health when deciding how to structure your workouts. Regardless of the approach you choose, it's important to incorporate both cardio and weight training into your routine for optimal health and fitness.

By experimenting with different exercise sequences and varying the intensity and duration of your workouts, you can find the approach that works best for you and helps you achieve your fitness goals.

Remember to listen to your body, take rest days when necessary, and seek advice from a qualified fitness professional if you have any questions or concerns. With consistency and dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

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Jayden Peters

Mr. Peters is a US based health and lifestyle content writer. He thinks healthy living is about flexibility, balance and discovering what works for your body. He is has notable experience in topics including health and wellness, yoga, fitness equipments etc.

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