Archive for the tag - timing

Cardio Before or After Lifting?

Whether you do cardio before or after lifting can depend on your goals.

Whether cardio should be done before or after strength training is one of the more hotly contested fitness debates – and it’s a subject that I touch upon in my Ultimate Guide to Working Out. Though there are pretty good arguments on either side, it often comes down to goals.

If your goal is weight loss or cardiovascular endurance, then it may make sense to do cardio first. You’ll be on the treadmill with a fresh set of legs and able to really push yourself hard (especially if you’re engaged in high intensity interval training). An often-cited study from the Human Performance Research Center at Brigham Young University found that doing cardio first resulted in the greatest number of post-workout calories burned. They also found that doing cardio first was less psychologically taxing. If you’re looking to burn some extra body fat or to improve your cardiovascular endurance, then it may make sense do cardio first.

If your goal is more muscle size or muscle strength, then you might want to hit the weight room first – while your energy is still high. Many lifters feel partially depleted after a hard session of cardio, and they believe that this impacts their strength training abilities. Lifting also requires a lot of focus – and it could be hard to focus after a brutal session of high intensity interval training on the treadmill. For individuals targeting muscle size or strength, it may be more advantageous to save cardio for the end of the workout. It may make even more sense to do cardio on a different day altogether.

While there are certainly advantages and disadvantages for the timing of your cardio, know that it’s not going to make or break your workout. If you’re looking to build muscle, for example, but strongly prefer getting your cardio out of the way, then do it first! The most important variable to consider is you – and your personal preference.

Do you do cardio before or after lifting? Why? Let me know in the comments below.