As you set up your workout program, one question that you may find yourself asking is which type of exercise you should do first. Cardio or weight training?
You know that both components will help make a balanced workout program, but just aren’t quite sure how to structure the program itself.
In 90% of cases, it’s superior to do weight lifting before cardio training. Let’s talk about why this is.
Weight lifting should be completed at the start of the session for a few different reasons. First, it’s going to be the exercise that relies most heavily on glucose as a fuel source, so if you were to do your cardio training first, you may deplete this necessary glucose, making it harder to perform weight lifting at the proper intensity level. That would then lead to lack of results. Most forms of cardio training can utilize fat as a fuel source, so performing it second will actually enhance your rate of fat burning (since there will be no glucose available by that point).
Second, weight lifting is also going to require more balance and agility. Therefore, it’s important to do it at the start when you are feeling mentally fresh and focused. Do it later on in the workout and you could be putting yourself at a higher risk of injury.
Finally, weight lifting should come first simply because it’s the most beneficial form of exercise that you can do. If you only have time to do one or the other – weight lifting should be it.
Couldn’t You Just Do Cardio?
Which brings us to the next point – why can’t you just do cardio? The reason no workout routine should only include cardio training is because while cardio certainly will help make your heart stronger, it’s going to do very little to boost the strength of your muscles.
And, as you get older, if you are not strengthening your muscles, you will begin to lose strength and soon, everyday activities that you used to enjoy will feel that much more challenging.
By adding strength training, you will not only be improving the look of your body faster (as you’ll be adding more muscle definition and athletic curves), but you’ll also be increasing your quality of life well into your golden years as well.
The Rare Case Of Cardio First
Now, as mentioned, 90% of the time you should do weights first. What 10% of situations would require cardio is performed first?
If you were training for some sort of cardio focused event – such as a half or full marathon for instance, you would likely put cardio first in the session. Since your main goal is to improve your cardio performance, by doing it first, you will have your best chances of seeing performance improvement.
If you were already tired from weight lifting, this could mean a lower performance, thus progress would suffer.
So in this case, cardio first is the smarter plan.
So there you have the key facts to know about which type of exercise to do first. Another great way to get around this is to make use of a fitness class that combines both cardio and strength training in one. This way you get the best of both worlds in a single, time efficient workout session.
Do that and you’ll be seeing great results in no time.
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