Strength Training Or Cardio…Which Shall I Do First???

Strength Training Or Cardio…Which Shall I Do First???

IMG_3047A question commonly asked by my personal training clients is which should I do first…weights or cardio? With such diversity, different lifestyles, goals, and body types, there isn’t one universal prescription for everyone. However, in most cases I recommend you begin your workout with weights and strength training in order to get the most benefit from your time in the gym.  And these are the reasons why.

To achieve optimum results and fat loss, your body needs to utilize your stored fat as fuel. In order to do this, you must burn off your glycogen stores first(your body will always preferentially use glycogen for energy before using stored body fat). When you weight-train, your body preferentially uses glycogen as fuel. By doing weight-training first, you can burn the majority of your glycogen stores, then by the time you get to the treadmill or cardio machine of your choice,  your body will be primed to use stored body fat for energy. Another reason to do weight training before cardio is your body continues to burn calories up to 48 hours after an intense weight training session. The reason for this is your body needs energy to rebuild the muscle fibers that were broken down during strength training, which occurs at a much higher rate after intense weight-training than after cardiovascular training; that’s why it’s important not to ignore weight training and put all your effort into your cardio like many women do.

Now let’s just say you decided to do your cardio before lifting. Your muscle glycogen, the energy your body would preferentially use for strength training, gets used up during your cardio session.  Then you finish your cardio and start your workout and find out that you feel weak and do not have the strength to lift your usual poundages. And we all know, the more muscle mass you carry, the more calories and fat you burn in general. That means more calories burned, not just in the gym, but after your cool-down, too. Knocking out your cardio after strength training will burn more fat! 

For more information on the most effective way to spend your time in the gym, how to lose body fat, how to build muscle, or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and have been thinking about hiring a personal trainer, contact us.

Training Innovations
2420 Midtown Pl NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505) 349-4725