Should You Do Cardio Before or After Weights?

Cardio Before or After Weights

Everybody has their own routine when they go to the gym. Some people go straight to the treadmill before making a move for the free weights. Others prefer to grab the weights first and leaving an intense cardio burner for last. However, you need to find out what gym rhythm works best for you. It’s worth knowing that whatever activity you choose to do first can potentially impact your performance in that second activity.

So to answer your question should you do cardio before or after weight train? There is no correct answer. There are many pros and cons to doing cardio before and after your workout. So how do you determine which one is best for you?

To determine which one is best for you we will go through both pros of doing cardio before and after a workout. Then you can decide what pros work best for you in order to achieve your goals.

Cardio Benefits Before a Workout

Increase your Core Temperature

If you do your cardio before weights, you’ll increase your core temperature, oxygenated blood flow to your working muscles, and production of synovial fluid in your joints. You’ll even provide your muscles with a mild but useful dynamic stretch. It’s also an opportunity to get your mind on your workout and mentally rehearse what is to come.

Maximizes Your Calorie Burn

If you do cardio before strength training it maximizes the calorie expenditure of your workout since a session of cardio typically burns more calories than a session of strength training.

Increase Your Afterburn

The afterburn is greatest after the running/weight training workout. Doing cardio first maximizes your post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or the number of calories your body continues to burn after your workout.


Cardio Benefits After a Workout

Will have Glycogen:

If you decide on doing Cardio after a workout you will still have Glycogen in your body to lift the weights. If you do Cardio before lifting weights you will deplete the glycogen stores in the body, which will leave you tapped out in this area when you start the weightlifting component.

Cardio will feel easier:

Cardio after your workout will make your training session feel easier because you are well rested before you engage in strength training.

What’s Best for You?

Now that you know a few Benefits of doing cardio before and after a workout. You need to decide what’s best for you. To help you decide what’s best for you ask yourself the following:

What is my goal:

What are my preferences:

What does my schedule look like:

Now lets see what you should be doing first? Cardio or Weights

Goal: If your goal is overall weight loss, you might do cardio first to maximize your workout time. If you have a specific goal or sport, you’ll want to put that first. For example, if you’re training for a marathon, you’ll want to focus your best energy on your running workouts and schedule your strength workouts for your off days. If you’re trying to gain muscle then go lift the weights first. You wanted as much energy as possible for those weights

Preferences: If lifting weights first feels good to you, there’s no reason you must change that. The idea is to have a consistent, balanced workout routine in whatever format fits your life.

Schedule: What does a typical workout schedule look like if you’re combining cardio and strength? Let’s be real, no one has enough free time to separate strength and cardio sessions. Carve out time to exercise is already a challenge. Therefore, fit what you can into that time.


While there are several benefits for lifting weights before cardio, at the end of the day, the best fat loss plan is the one you will stick to and that continues to produce results.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.


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15 thoughts on “Should You Do Cardio Before or After Weights?”

  1. If I do weights first then wait say 30 min to rest. Then pump out a high intensity cardio workout 4o mins bag work, step ups, sparring is this ok. Im pretty much at my goal weight looking to pack muscle. But dont want to lose my cardio/fitness?

  2. I started working out 2 months ago. I am working out about 4-5 times a week. My goal is weight loss, but also trying to tone my body. I’m 5’10” 215, and I’ve been doing about 20-30 min cardio, then lifting. Would it be better to switch that?

    1. Brian, It never hurts to try something new. Some people notice when switching their routine up they will start to lose weight again. Have you tried using our Ripped Whey? It will help you tone up and lose weight.

  3. The key I found with cardio is variety. One day I’ll run for 30, another day I’ll do the stair climber 15 and then jump on a bike for 20, maybe the next day do an elliptical and rower, it hits everything better I feel. I do weight training 1st though. I Intermittent fast until 11:30am Mon-Fri, train after work, 3:30pm, those days, then after cardio 20 minutes in the sauna.

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