When it comes to working out, there are two main components that everybody knows about. Yes, it’s cardio and weight training! Sure, both are significant for your health and fitness, but then the question becomes: which should come first? Is there something such as “the right order” in working out? And does it affect your exercise quality?
To answer those questions, it all comes down to your personal fitness goals. Are you aiming to lose some weight, improve your cardio fitness, or focus on building strength? If your primary goal is to increase your endurance or lose body fat, then it’s better to perform cardio first. However, if your main goal is to increase muscular strength, then perhaps you would like to commit yourself to strength training first. This way, you will get the most out of your workout routine to achieve your goals.
One of the most common misconceptions about cardio is that it burns more calories than weightlifting. But in reality, the two are equally good at burning calories. Cardio before weights has its benefits, and so does weight training before cardio. When you choose to do cardio first, it helps burn fat and reduces the risk of injury, and thus making your strength training more effective, helping you to get the desired muscle definition you are looking for.
Cardio also helps to get your blood pumping, produces an extra boost of endorphins, and prevents you from feeling sluggish during your workout. Your muscles will get warmed up and you’ll enter your strength training session more prepared. The idea is to work on cardio for about five minutes, then do some light, lower intensity strength training exercises for about 20 minutes, and then finish with another five minutes of cardio.
On the other hand, if you choose weightlifting first, it will prevent your arteries from becoming stiff and help you increase muscular strength. Cardio workouts, such as running and cycling, can leave you tired afterwards, which then impacts the amount of force you can exert during strength training. So, going for the weights directly is recommended if you aim to gain muscle mass. Strength training before cardio also contributes greatly to weight loss, because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does.
Whatever you decide to do first, the bottom line is this: be consistent! It is better for you to have consistency in your workouts and exercise plans than to worry too much about which one to do first. Analyze your goals and plan accordingly. More importantly, be patient! It will take a while before you can see any results.