The great debate: weights or cardio first?

August 12, 2013

A very common question, especially when people are starting a new fitness regime or getting back into working out, is what sort of exercise to perform first: weights or cardio.

The truth is, it depends on what your fitness goals are. Cardio and weight training don’t have to be performed on the same day, but if you’re doubling up, think about what you’re trying to achieve and how much weight you plan on lifting.

What are you fitness goals?
If you are looking to build muscle or burn fat, lifting should come first. Additionally, if you’re lifting heavy weights, that should be done before cardio. Weight training, especially with free weights, requires a great deal of energy, strength and stamina. Those can be depleted if cardio is done first, leaving you with little energy to lift as much as you’d like. It can also lead to injuries since it might lead to sacrificing form and safety from being exhausted by the cardio.

By lifting weights first, your body will have to burn fat to fuel you through cardio. Once you hop on your home gym equipment like the True M30 Elliptical, you’re body will require energy to get through. Glucose is the preferred source of energy during a workout, but if your body used that to lift, it might have to rely on burning fat, which is helpful when trying to lose weight.

If your end goal is to increase your endurance or you’re training for a race, it’s best to start with cardio. You’ll need a full energy supply to make it through a long run on a home treadmill like the True M50 Treadmill, especially if it’s a main training day. The main focus will be on the cardio workout followed by weight training with light to moderate weights.

If you’re just looking to maintain your current weight and avoid workout plateaus, it’s smart to alter starting your exercise with cardio and weights. In order to stay fit, your body needs to constantly be challenged, so mixing up your workouts is a great way to not only achieve that but also keep you from getting bored.

Additionally, if you’re doing a combined workout, make sure to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after both cardio and weight training to avoid dehydration. If your body isn’t hydrated well enough it will hold on to fat stores because they contain water.