Cardio or Weights First? Which Order of Operations Creates the Best Overall Results?

Choosing the Best Routine For Your Needs

Cardio or Weights First?  Which Order of Operations Creates the Best Overall Results?

Clients often ask me what should I do first, cardio or weights? The truth is, it depends! First determine your ultimate goal: overall health, fat loss, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscle tissue increase? Most people are interested in a combination of all of these benefits and in that case, the one-size-fits-all answer is NEITHER.

Huh? Yes, neither! I actually recommend that you combine your cardio and your weight training together for a HIIT workout (high intensity interval training workout). You will have greater weight loss due to both higher calorie burn during the workout and the higher “after-burn” effect as a result of this intense training style. You will have increased flexibility, muscular endurance, muscular growth and increased metabolism. Make sure you have an adequate 10-15 minute gentle warm up to make sure your body is properly prepared.

If you are strictly interested in muscular growth, or cardiovascular endurance, then I offer the following advice. Focus on your main goal first – so for muscle building - do your heavy lifting first, followed by the cardio appropriate to the stage of training you are in. For cardiovascular endurance, do your cardio first followed by the type of weight training exercises that will support (or reduce the risk of injury/unbalanced muscle strength) your cardiovascular mode.

Our September 2, 2012 Fitness Blog provides an example and more information about how to design an appropriate HIIT for yourself. Our November 15, 2012 Fitness Blog on the Ten Sets Program otherwise known as German Volume Training gives a great example of a heavy lifting style that will help you put on the muscle you want.

In summary, focus on your main goal, enjoy your workout and love your results!

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