Should You Start with Cardio or Weights?

December 17, 2018

Cardio Before Weight Lifting or After?

Is it better to get your cardio out of the way first before weight training or after the workout?
This is a great question that is asked a lot. Personally, I like to do my weight training first, then finish with cardio. When I lift weights I want to make sure I don’t waste all my strength or energy on my cardio since weight training is #1, and cardio is #2. Unless you are a marathon runner, I would put all your energy into weightlifting, supplementing with cardio.

Lifting weights requires physical stamina along with mental stamina. If you go hard on your cardio then go start your weight lifting, more than likely you will be a too tired physically and mentally to push through picking up those weights and putting them down. If your goal is to build muscle and get stronger, then you won’t want to use up too much of that energy on cardio, which doesn’t help “make you stronger”, it just a tool to help you burn more calories.

When doing cardio verse lifting weights, there are 2 different types of signaling from your cells. Weight training triggers cells to grow and expand, getting larger and stronger. Where as cardio, does the opposite. Cellular signals tell the muscle to get smaller and more resistant to fatigue (Think marathon runners and how thin they are, but how far they can run). Too much cardio inhibits the anabolic signals to the muscles to be able to grow and get stronger. Anabolic is building muscle and burning fat. Catabolic is the opposite, burning muscle and preserving fat. That’s why those who only do cardio don’t have much muscle mass, they burn through it.

If your goal is to be skinny fat and run forever, then stick to cardio! But if your goal is to build muscle, burn fat and get stronger, then do both- weights and cardio… not too much cardio since you want to preserve as much muscle as possible that you are building. Weight lifting should be your #1 and cardio #2. If you are training same day then start with weights and finish with cardio. If you are only weight training 2-4x a week then I suggest doing cardio on the days off from weights to really maximize those gains. Split it up if you have to. Put all your energy into cardio for 1 day, then all your energy into weights the next day. But if you train like me, 5x a week, then just focus on weights, using the remainder of your energy for cardio when you finish resistance training. 30 mins of steady state cardio or 10-20 mins of HIIT is all you need! Dumbbells over treadmills!!