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Cardio before or after weightlifting: which is better for weight loss?



  what comes first cardio or weights

Cardio and strength training are both great forms of exercise – but which should you do first?


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Love it or hate it — cardio and weight training form the basis of most workout programs & # 39; s. And if you train regularly in a gym chances are that you have a preference to first hit the cardio equipment or the weight room. For me, the order usually depends on what I feel like, but I first go to cardio because I am quite an endorphin rush addict. But is there really a reason to do one over the other? And what does science say?

As with many controversial topics in the field of wellness and fitness, it all comes down to goals. Many people split their training sessions in the gym between cardio and strength training, and the order in which you do the exercises can have an impact on your results. Science is not really convincing whether one is better than the other to do first – it all depends on whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or improve overall health. So it can help to first evaluate your goals and then decide which order is best for you.

Keep reading to find out why you might want to do cardio or weights first and how you know which one best fits your goals. Oh and don't forget to warm up well regardless of which training you choose.

Read more: If you hate practicing, try one of these 6 workouts

What are your goals?

If you want to decide whether you want to do cardio or weights first during your workouts, it is a good idea to start with your goals. Do you want to lose weight or get muscle tone? You may want to improve your endurance or build larger muscles.

A common misconception is that cardio is the most important exercise for losing weight but both cardio and strength training are important for this.

The argument to do cardio first

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Cardio is well documented to be effective in burning calories. If you lift 30 minutes of weights instead of other cardio activity for the same amount of time, cardio will burn more calories. With that in mind, you may want to start your cardio training sessions with a constant intensity to get to the heart rate zone that you need to burn fat. You can then switch to weightlifting, which is a & # 39; post-burning & # 39; which helps you burn calories after you have finished exercising.

You don't even have to work hard on your body to reap the benefits of a cardio workout. "Cardiovascular exercises with lower intensity (in the fat-burning zone / aerobic training zone) will help you lose weight. [But] It must be sustained for a long time," said Mollie Millington, a personal trainer in London.

Weightlifting first, especially if you lift heavy with your whole body, make you tired before you reach the cardio part of your workout. That means you can keep your workout short and you can't take advantage of the calorie-burning benefit of cardio – especially if you want to burn as many calories as you can in a certain amount of time. That said, try starting with both cardio and weightlifting to get an idea of ​​what works best for you. Performing exercises with light weights can help increase your heart rate and prepare your body for running, cycling, or other cardio activity.

Finally, if you like running, cycling or swimming and you want to improve speed or overall endurance, then choosing cardio is smart first, because you are going to do those training sessions new. In this way you will start with the most important exercise for your long-term goals and you will make faster progress.

The argument to do weights first

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If your main goal is to improve your strength, to be able to lift heavy things or to build more muscle, then weight lifting is best first. Don't tire your body by doing cardio first. The less tired you are, the more repetitions you can do with the right shape – and good shape is crucial for safe and effective strength training.

According to Millington, doing weights first can also be useful for fat loss in combination with cardio. "In theory, doing weights would put your body in aerobic mode [so] by the time you're running, you're already in aerobic / fat-burning state. So you can keep [that aerobic state] longer while running and use it fat as an energy source, "Millington said. As I said above, this is best if you lift lighter weights that do not tire your entire body.

Finally, although the science is pretty unclear whether someone like cardio or weights is best first, one thing that is very clear that doing both is beneficial. Studies show that a combination of the two is best for overall health, increasing muscle size, and reducing body fat.

If you want to do both cardio and weight training with 100% effort, you can try doing them on separate days so that your body can recover in between. If you prefer to do both at the same time, see what works best for you.

"I really believe in doing what you love. Exercise can be fun," Millington said. "If you are in the groove while warming up on the treadmill and having fun, do not stop doing weights. Keep going until you are ready to change weights. Or if you prefer to use weights than running, start with a shorter run and then treat yourself to weights, "Millington said.


The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.


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