Really confused that should you do Cardio Before Or After Weights For Fat Loss ?
Find out exactly when to do cardio for extreme fat loss
Let’s say your goal is to lose fat, build muscle. Let’s also say that in order to reach this goal as quickly and effectively as possible, you’ve determined that you need to do both weight lifting and cardio. Now let’s also say that you’re going to be doing both types of exercise on the same day as part of the same workout session.
In this scenario, there’s an important question you’re going to need to answer: should you do cardio before or after weights?
Cardio Before Or After Weights
For most people, if cardio and weights are going to be done during the same workout session, then…
Weight lifting should be done first, and cardio should be done after.
The reason weight lifting is done 1st is If you’re doing two types of exercise back-to-back, the one you do first will have some degree of negative impact on the one you do second.
Or, to put that another way, you’re going to be fresher, stronger, less fatigued, more focused and just all around better physically AND mentally for whatever form of exercise you do first, and the opposite of that to some extent for whatever form of exercise you do second.
So, it simply comes down to starting with the one that matters the most. And that’s weights.
Weight Lifting Matters More Than Cardio
Think about it.
What are the two most common workout-related goals most people have? Building muscle and losing fat, right?
- For a goal like building muscle, cardio isn’t even remotely necessary. It’s purely optional. Weight lifting, on the other hand, is a requirement.
- For a goal like losing fat, cardio is once again completely optional, as everything truly needed can be accomplished through diet alone quite easily. And yes, weight lifting is optional for fat loss as well. However, it’s a requirement for the purpose of maintaining muscle while losing fat or building muscle while losing fat… which are additional goals that nearly everyone has (or should have) when trying to lose fat.
So, one form of exercise is required for at least some part of what most people are trying to achieve, and the other is entirely optional for all of it. For that reason alone, weights beat cardio in terms of importance.
But wait, there’s more!
From the perspective of performance, safety and the amount of effort entailed, it also makes waaaaay more sense to be at your physical and mental best when doing things like squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, pull-ups, lunges and so on – where you’re lifting challenging weights in ways that need to be technically sound while constantly pushing yourself to progress further each workout – as opposed to something like sitting on a bike or jogging on a treadmill for 30-60 minutes while you listen to music, play with your phone or stare at a TV.
Weights > cardio in all of these areas and more. It’s the type of training that warrants being done first.
When Is The Best Time To Do Cardio?
The best time to do cardio would be on separate days from weight training .
Is First Thing In The Morning Good?
Some people wake at 4 a.m. just to do a full cardio session, then do their weightlifting workout later in the day. A run in the morning and a weightlifting session later is awesome for those who have time for two-a-days!
Typically, those people don’t eat before their morning workout, though—they’re running on empty! If their primary goal is fat loss, that could seem like a good thing, as the body burns off calories before taking any in. However, the body will shift into self-preservation mode and start feeding off muscle instead of fat, which is ultimately not a great idea.
If you’re going to incorporate aerobic exercises of lengthy duration into your fitness program before daybreak, a good rule of thumb is to thumb your nose at starvation tactics and drink a small protein shake or eat something very light pre-workout. Your energy levels will be much higher as your body is no longer burning all of its energy just to survive.
Pros and Cons
Cardio before a workout is great because it gives you the opportunity to burn more calories over the course of the training session by elevating your heart rate initially. This increases your internal temperature and elevates the metabolic demands placed on your body.
This ensures your heart rate will remain elevated, and thus overall caloric burn will be increased for the entire workout.
The downside is that you’ll be more tired after doing cardio, and won’t have as much energy to spend on resistance training, which is better for making lasting physique changes.
Since the aerobic system is much more efficient in terms of generating ATP, weight training first is great because it allows you to get to the fat burning portion of the workout faster than if you had done cardio first.
Focusing the majority of your energy on making improvements in the weight room, will result in better strength and physique. Then after all the glycogen is depleted, doing cardio will result in a much higher percentage of fat being burned.
The downside to this technique is that it can be difficult to work hard at resistance training, and then push yourself through a cardio session immediately after.
also do check out What’s The Right Amount Of Cardio to Burn belly fat & Build Muscle
Conclusion On Cardio Before Or After Weights For Fat loss
So Which is Better?
Think about burning fat like digging for gold. You have to get through layers of dirt and rock (muscle glycogen) before you can get to the gold.
Doing cardio first is like digging for gold with a shovel. Getting through a single layer requires 32 scoops to be removed. You’ll eventually see gold, but it will take a while.
Doing resistance training first is like showing up to the same dig site with a backhoe. Now only 3 scoops are required to get through one layer thanks to your diesel fueled machinery.
So if you’re short on time, or just want to maximize your workout so you can get back to your family, pets or World of Warcraft character, hit the weights first and save the cardio for the end.
Shoot for a 45-minute workout, followed by 20-30 minutes of cardio intervals 3 times per week in order to get the maximum benefit.
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