Should I do cardio before or after the weights?

This is a question that is constantly being asked: Should I do cardio before or after weight training? To answer this question, the first thing is to clearly set your objectives.

If you want a body with more muscle, it's best to do a cardio warm-up before the weights and then train with weights.

To maintain your muscle mass, or gain muscle, there are three things to do:

Muscle // Photo by Damir Spanic

This is what happens when you do cardio first: cardiovascular exercise consumes the glycogen in your muscles. When you do weights after cardio, your muscles cannot reach their maximum effort, because they are tired and do not have enough fuel left. It is less effective.

So, doing the weights first also helps you burn the fat. When you do light cardiovascular exercise after weights, you have already consumed more glycogen in your muscles, and your body is forced to use the fat as energy.

Should I do cardio before or after the weights? // Photo by Alora Griffiths

Start with a gentle warm-up of no more than 5 minutes, and work your way up to the weights, trying to reach your limit each day. After that, you can do about 30-45 minutes of light cardio, during which you will burn mostly fat.

If you are serious about growing your muscles, then you should stop cardio training on days separate from weight training.

Pull up // Photo by Charlotte Karlsen

In short, doing cardiovascular exercise before weights is better when this exercise is precisely what you want to improve and the weights are only a compliment.

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