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How Important Is Cardio Before Strength Training

If you want to lose weight with exercise, you already know that involves a lot of workouts.

The harder you work, as in high intensity interval training (HIIT), the shorter the workouts. But if you’re doing lower intensity workouts, you may need to workout up to 7 days to see significant weight loss results.

Trying to cram that many workouts into one week often feels impossible, and, for many of us, it seems like the only way to do that is to combine workouts. Combining workouts saves time and it also allows you to work on all areas of fitness – Cardio, strength, and flexibility – all in one workout.

That leads to the age-old question: Which do you do first, cardio or strength?

The answer isn’t always cut and dried but here’s one way to look at it: If your goal is to lose weight and you want to maximise your workouts, doing cardio first might be the way to go.

Source: Getty Images

The Benefits of Cardio Before Strength Training

If you’re confused about whether to do cardio or strength training first, you’re not alone.Experts differ on this issue, with some recommending cardio beforehand to get your body warmed up for lifting weights. Warm muscles perform better and there’s less risk of injury if your body is warmed up and ready.

Others suggest the opposite, saying that cardio may fatigue your muscles, thus making your weight training session less effective.

There may be something to that argument as well.

So, who’s right? There really is no right answer and what you ultimately do will be based on your goals and what you prefer.

However, if your goal is to lose weight, cardio before strength may be your best bet because it:

  • Maximizes Your Calorie Burn – Doing cardio and strength during the same workout not only helps you burn more calories but doing cardio first actually maximizes the calorie expenditure of your workout since a session of cardio typically burns more calories than a session of strength training.
  • Increases Your Afterburn – Doing cardio first maximises your post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or the number of calories your body continues to burn after your workout.

It may take time to figure out a schedule that works for you and that schedule may change from week to week, depending on what’s going on in your life. In fact, you don’t have to follow the same workout routine from week to week. It’s great to mix things up and try different ways to exercise.

You may find that you like doing strength first, which is fine. Or maybe you even like to workout twice a day, doing cardio in the morning and strength training later in the day.

The key is to keep things simple and fit in what you can. There’s no rulebook and there really is no wrong way to exercise. Just making sure you do something every day is a great goal to have.

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