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Cardio before or after weights?

Cardio before or after weights?

By Katherine Webb

Confused over what to do first? You’re not alone. Even experts differ, with some saying cardio should be first because it warms your body up before weights. Others say weight training is more efficient when your body is fresh. So which camp is right?

Well, neither. Or both. Studies show there are benefits whichever way round you chose to do it. The deciding factor depends on your personal fitness goals and preferences and how you can schedule your workout. 

GOALS

  • If you want to lose weight, cardio may be best completed first. According to one study, doing running before weights maximises calorie afterburn. You will also have more time and energy to put into your aerobic activity.
  • Other studies suggest weight training first burns more fat. As everyone’s body responds differently to exercise regimes you need to find out for yourself what works best.
  • Remember, whichever body part you train first, reaps the biggest benefits. So, if you wish to build heart endurance, do cardio first.
  • Alternatively, if you want to build lean muscle mass and strength, do weights first. Another study found doing cardio before resistance interferes with muscle building in the short term. 

PREFERENCES

  • How does your energy fluctuate? If you’re completely wiped after doing weights and have nothing left, do cardio first. If you’re too tired after cardio you won’t put much effort into strength exercises.
  • What do you enjoy most? If you love cardio, save it until last and get your least favourite exercise over with first.

SCHEDULE

  • If you have plenty of time consider doing weights and cardio workouts on different days, or at least 3 hours apart.
  • A busy schedule means you might do well with interval training.

Whichever order you choose, the important thing is to exercise 3 or 4 times a week. You really can’t go wrong from there.

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