The Big Question: Cardio or Weights First?

We all have our favorite exercises that we look forward to doing which make us feel invigorated and full of endorphins. Likewise, there are some exercises that we know we should do to improve our fitness and keep our bodies balanced that just aren’t at the top of our lists. Both cardio and weight lifting are important components to a healthy body and desirable physique, but does the order in which you perform them really matter? Its an age old question that has been studied a number of times; should you do cardio or weights first?First of all, working out is always good for you no matter what kind of activity you do. Whether you do it before or after weight training, cardiovascular exercise (like running, biking or machine-work) will improve everything from your heart health, to avoiding illness and burning calories. While lifting weights helps with keeping up your metabolism, building muscle and improving bone density.

Fitness experts are split on this issue of doing cardio and weights first, and the majority will advise you to do cardio after weight training because cardio uses up a lot of your energy. Doing cardio first may cause fatigue and exhaustion before lifting weights or performing resistance training. Performing cardiovascular exercise first will most likely cause you to use a lot of your energy initially, that may compromise proper form and technique later during weight lifting, so if your primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then you should do strength training first to get the most out of your workout.

On the other hand, if your goal is to lose weight and fat, cardio should be the focus of your workout and should therefore be done first. While weight training also helps to burn fat and calories, cardiovascular exercises should be the main focus of your workout if you want to lose weight and get in shape. Another reason you may want to perform cardio first is because it is more familiar to many people than weight lifting, so you are likely to get in a good workout by performing cardio exercises than trying to navigate the intimidating weight room.

The key here is to perform exercises according to your fitness goals. If you’re more inclined to lose weight and burn fat, perform cardiovascular exercises first. If your target is to build muscle and increase strength, you should focus on weight lifting before cardio. But if your goal is to make overall improvements and be well rounded in your workouts, it would be smart to finish your fitness routine with those exercises you enjoy most. Performing whichever exercises you like at the beginning of your workout may leave you too exhausted to complete the rest of your routine. If you leave what you love until the end, whether it is cardio or different weight lifting exercises, you will be more likely to push through and finish with those aspects that you actually enjoy.