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Cardio or the Weights: Which Comes First?

April 04, 2014 2 min read

  "Should I do cardio before or after weight training?" This question has been asked time and time again, but what people really want to know is: Does it really even matter in what order you choose to do either? This tends to be a controversial topic because everyone has their own opinion about what works for them. Honestly, what works for one person does not always help the next and that is why so many people are on the fence with this. Though most experts are split on this subject, most will agree that the truth is, yes, it does matter. Here's why! Let's start off with  cardio after weight training sessions. Weight training uses glycogen as fuel and when you weight train before doing any cardio, you burn most of your glycogen storage which, in turn, burns more fat later on. Upon working out, your body will keep buring calories for up to 48 hours which is called excess post exercise oxygen consumption. During this period, you burn calories at a much higher rate if you were to lift weights prior to your cardio. Why? Simply because cardio tends to wear you out, preventing you from lifting as hard or much as you could by sucking your energy source and fatiguing your muscles. A University of  Tokyo study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that doing cardio after weight training burned more fat during the first 15 minutes of the cardio session than doing cardio before lifting. Now, what about cardio before weight training sessions?  Some experts believe that cardio before any weights is beneficial in the fact that you will have more stamina to complete those high energy activities. Just as I mentioned above, it's difficult to do this reversed as it leaves you with little energy. Another benefit of cardio before weights is the maximization of calorie burn within the session since cardio typically burns more calories than weight training alone.   So in what order should we be doing these workouts? Since there is no credible, concrete research that proves this, it all depends on one thing: your fitness goals. If your goal is strictly a lean body, endurance during the workout, and fat loss, then cardio first is key. We "hiiters" now all about this! If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass and strengh, then cardio after weight training is where you need to go. If your fitness goals include overall improvements, finish your workout with the type of exercise you enjoy most. Please keep in mind that you do not have to do both strength training and cardio all in one day, though many people like killing two birds with one stone while at the gym. For the best results, experts always suggest doing cardio on seperate days from your lifting days or if you must do them on the same day, do them at least 3 hours or more apart. Which do you prefer to do first?

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