Weights or Cardio? Our Guide to Fitness
Whether you’re in the gym to build muscle, lose weight, or both, you can’t achieve your fitness goals if you don’t take the finer details into account. You have to fix and tweak key aspects of your daily routine and fitness journey when you’re trying to achieve a specific goal. For example, if you’re trying to lose fat, you might want to lower your carbohydrate and fat intake. If gaining muscle mass is your priority, you’ll have to up your protein intake. But while you’re focusing on these things, there might be one question that has occasionally popped up in your mind during your fitness journey:
“Should I do cardio before or after I lift weights?”
Although you might have figured out that doing cardio and weight training on the same day is the way to go if you want to reach your fitness goals as quickly as possible, the problem doesn’t end there. The arrangement of cardio and weights in your workout is a minute yet important detail that can affect your body composition greatly throughout your fitness journey. It will also determine how long it will take you to achieve your fitness goals.
To answer that question, here’s how you should organize your workout:
Lift weights first, do cardio after.
Now, you might have probably had a “Eureka!” moment, or you’re probably trying to put the pieces together to understand why you should do things this way, but it’s important to know why you should lift weights first before you hit the treadmill or the elliptical machine.
Understanding why weights should come first
While you might have heard that lifting weights before doing cardio can create significant effects such as the “afterburn” effect or EPOC, or that it helps set your glycogen levels on the right path for fat loss, here’s the truth: neither of them means anything. They’re pretty much nonsense.
The reason why cardio has to come after weights is common sense: the first workout you do will have a big impact on what you’ll do next. Furthermore, the former can affect how you’ll do in the latter. When doing two types of exercises back-to-back, you should know that you’ll only be able to perform at your best when doing the first one. You won’t be able to perform as well when you move on to the second, as you’ll be somewhat tired after going all-out on the first. In this case, if your main fitness goal is to build muscle and lose weight, then you need to do better when lifting weights.
Why weight lifting matters more than cardio
Most people hit the gym aiming to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Between the two, building muscle is harder. Lifting weights is absolutely essential when it comes to that, as cardio won’t help you build muscle. On the other hand, weight lifting will still be effective in helping you lose weight, while cardio can act as an effective supplement for weight loss.
In order to gain muscle mass effectively, doing the right amount of weight lifting is absolutely important because more muscle mass translates to a higher metabolism, which means you’ll lose more weight. Doing cardio first may cause weight loss, but it’s important to note that weight loss is far different from fat loss, and doing so might even cause you to get sidetracked on the way to achieving your fitness goals.
The need for proper technique and form can be severely impacted by a loss of energy during weight lifting sessions. It will eventually affect your gains and the total amount of time it will take you to reach your fitness goals. That’s exactly why you have to do cardio first. Together with the significant role of weight lifting in building muscle and losing weight, having enough energy for a proper weightlifting session will yield better results. We help with fitness for men over 40, get in touch & look at our other posts for more tips.
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Jack of all trades... master of none! Father of 3 awesome boys, husband to 1 amazing wife! Obstacle racer, procrastinator, computer nerd, trying not to follow the herd!