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Should We Do Cardio Before or After a Workout?

This article delves into the long-standing debate of whether cardio should be done before your workout or after.

  • 19 Oct 2023
  • 2 min read
  • 61 views

When it comes to structuring our workout routine, a common thought that arises is — should we do cardio before or after a workout? It’s similar to picking the first game you want to play when you are full of energy. While some people start with weight training when they are most energised, others choose cardio. Then there are those that combine weight training and cardio, like peanut butter and jelly. Don’t worry; this article will help you decide whether you should do cardio before or after weight training. 

 

Cardio before weight training: The warm-up

Cardio can be like an espresso shot for your body as you start your exercise routine. When you engage in activities like jogging or cycling, your muscles get awakened, and you experience a warming-up effect that causes your heart to beat faster, enhancing blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles. The surge in circulation also releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) that improve mood and reduce stress. This cardio warm-up primes your muscles, tendons and ligaments, making them more flexible and less prone to injury during subsequent weightlifting.

Improved stamina and endurance gained from cardio improve performance during weight training. If weight loss is your goal, beginning with cardio kick-starts calorie burning and sets the right tone for the rest of your workout. Moreover, the gradual transition from cardio to weightlifting allows your body to adjust to increasing intensity, while the mental preparation time helps you focus on your workout plan.

 

Cardio after weight training: The muscle-building bonus

On the flip side, many fitness experts will suggest cardio after weight training. This is because cardio may drain energy and fatigue muscles before the most strenuous activity: anaerobic workout (i.e., strength training). This could compromise the quality of your workout and affect strength training. Beginning with weight training triggers anabolic hormone release and ensures a focus on muscle preservation. Subsequent cardio leverages the heightened metabolism rate post-weightlifting.

That is why, to build your muscles, doing cardio after your weight training session is advisable, as your muscles are in the perfect condition to tap into fat stores for energy, maximising your body’s ability to burn fat while safeguarding muscle mass.

If you want a well-rounded workout that can give you an energy burst and prime your muscles for fat loss, starting with cardio might be your best bet. However, if you aim to build muscles and burn calories efficiently, giving weight training the first slot could be your secret weapon.

 

Conclusion

Now that you know the merits of doing cardio before or after weights, the choice ultimately boils down to your fitness goals, preferences, and how your body responds. When answering the query on cardio before or after a workout, it’s crucial to understand that both have their advantages; it’s all about finding what works best for you and aligns with your fitness goals. The key to maximising the benefits of your workout is to experiment, know your body, and craft a fitness routine that suits you best.

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