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Which Should Come First: Cardio or Weights?

May 14, 2015 2 min read

Cardio and strength training are both crucial components of a balanced workout program. That being said, we can often be unsure as to which one we tackle first. Should it all be in one day? Separate days? More one than the other? The answer- they're all right! Specifics just depend on your goal.

Goal: Lose Weight

If you're trying to drop the pounds, weights before cardio is your best bet. Doing weights first tends to leave a more elevated heart rate, which means a bigger calorie burn for your cardio session. Not to mention, you'll have more energy to lift heavier weights, which increases your metabolic lean muscle mass.

Goal: Look Lean

You've lost the extra weight and you want to show off your abs and rocking arms. Split your cardio and strength training to separate days. If you're after the perfectly toned and svelte frame, you need to be able to perform both types of training at your max potential. If you split them up you're splitting up the focus of the energy required to do each. If you must put them on the same day - weights first, then cardio.

Goal: Training for a Race

Whether you're cycling or running a half, do your cardio first. Recent research in Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that whichever muscle you worked out first saw the most benefit. If you're cycling or running first, the muscles needed to be exceptional for a faster race will be stronger.

Goal: Be Healthy

When you don't want to look like a fitness model or need to lose weight - rather training for better health - you have a lot of flexibility in your workouts. In fact, when exercise is moderate (three times a week doing both strength training and cardio) exercise order doesn't affect your results.

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