What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

You come to the gym and have an hour to exercise the major muscle groups – and by this time you want to do some cardio, too. What should you start with?

Unfortunately, there is no clear and straightforward answer: experts say that what you prefer in the gym should depend on your personal goals. If someone tries to lose weight, they take a different approach than someone who trains for a marathon. To find out if you should start with weights or a treadmill, read the list of top goals and their accompanying recommendations.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

Goal: Maintain overall fitness

If you want to stay fit, the order may not even matter. One study compared two groups of men who first performed either weight training or cardio exercise for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, it was found that all men increased physical performance and muscle strength to the same extent. However, in the short term the cardio group recovered more difficult. After two days of the study, it appeared that the cardio group had a reduced testosterone level, which may be harmful if you are trying to increase muscle strength.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

In general: “Do what you want – anything you’d follow and fits your schedule”, says Tony Musto, Ph.D., fitness physiologist at the University of Miami. As Musto says, “our ancestor’s trainings were apparently not as organized as ours today. They mixed it: they ran, then they climbed, walked and they lifted something.”

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Goal: Move more

As in the previous point, if you’re new to exercise, or just trying to be more active, do what you enjoy and don’t be afraid to change the order. In Which Comes First: Cardio or Weights?, a naturalist Alex Hutchinson suggests changing the training order or changing training types over the days. He writes that muscle and endurance results are controlled by the same “switch” (also known as AMP kinase). The “switch” is set at the beginning of the workout – with what you do first and cannot be changed immediately. Since you’re trying to set your body for the goal of improving your stamina or strength, it’s a good idea to switch exercises from time to time.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

Since you are trying to set your body either for endurance or strength goal, it is a good idea to change your exercises from time to time. So sometimes start with cardio exercise and sometimes with lifting weights.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

“Some of today’s popular commercial routines, such as the P90X or Insanity, combine strength and cardio in one workout, so you don’t have to choose,” Musto says. The combination of strength and cardio workouts has other beneficial metabolic effects, so if you have little time, these programs are worth it.

Goal: training for marathon or competition

Do you want to run a marathon or are you preparing for a bodybuilding competition? “It should be clear that you have to focus on your specific requirements first,” says Liz Barnet, a certified coach and senior strength instructor at Uplift Studios. “For runners, the greatest emphasis is on sprints and drills, says Barnet.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

Do you want to lift more on the bench press? The same principle applies. “Do the heaviest weights at the start of your training,” says Noam Tamir, a certified trainer and owner of TS Fitness.

“When it comes to intense weight lifting, you don’t want to wear your body with cardio exercises and then risk injuries while doing weight exercises,” Tamir adds.

Goal: You want to lose weight

“In most cases, you will want to do strength training first,” says Tamir. Dr. Musto confirms that it is wiser to do strength exercises first and then cardio exercise, because the body can oxidize a little more fat during cardio exercise. However, he emphasized that this only applies to lower intensity cardio exercises and also noted that this may not have a significant impact in the long term.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

The advantage of strength training for both men and women is that it can accelerate metabolism, which is especially beneficial when burning excess fat. Another benefit of strength training could be that in addition to helping you burn fat effectively, it also helps you perfectly shape your muscles.

Cardio workout is great for fat burning, but it does not participate in the direct development of muscles that can make your body look firmer.

If you like HIIT training, we have good news. This popular training style has several benefits that can help with weight loss. The only drawback is that you can’t do HIIT every day. Coach Liz Barnet suggests doing HIIT training at a maximum of three times a week and not for consecutive days (for example: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday); If you want to add more days, choose  cross trainings – such as yoga or spinning.

Goal: You want to do more of what you enjoy

“It’s important that people consider energy and level of interest,” says coach Liz Barnet. She suggests focusing first on what you would probably avoid if you were running out of time or what you would have skipped if you were tired of the training you love. Do you like spinning? Get rid of the strength training first, then head for the bike knowing that the “hardest part” is over.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

The last tip

If you want to achieve fitness and health, it probably doesn’t matter what you do first. However, changing the order of workouts can be a great way to get rid of boredom, and in fact there are not many negative consequences when changing exercises and workouts. However, if you hope to lose weight, gain strength, or just set priorities, focus first on strength training and then on cardio exercise.

What should you start with: cardio or strength training?

What about you? Do you prefer cardio or weightlifting? Share your thoughts in the comments, and if you liked the article or you just think it might be helpful to your friends, share it.


[1] Bodybuilding – https://www.bodybuilding.com/