Combining cardio and strength training is becoming more and more common. And it’s a good idea because a healthy body needs both. But it is common to wonder if it is better to do cardio before or after training. A question that does not have an immediate answer for the simple reason that doing cardio before or after is better depending on the goal you want to achieve. So first of all you must define your objectives well.
What most experts currently advise is preferring to train cardio and strength in separate sessions. The reason is that the body recovers better that way. And you can handle demanding training in optimal conditions. Either cardio or strength.
However, today’s lifestyle does not always allow this. Lack of time to train often forces you to do joint sessions. In this context, it is important to be clear if it is convenient to do cardio before or after strength. For these cases, as we have pointed out at the beginning, it is essential to define what objectives you want to achieve with the training. And based on this you will have an answer about the convenience of doing cardio before or after training.
Cardio before or after training depending on the goal to be achieved
Cardio before or after bodybuilding to lose weight
When the goal is to lose weight, it is preferable to do cardio work after the bodybuilding session. You can do a very short warm-up and 5-minute cardio. Then work with a weight session or strength training to gain muscle or tone. And finish with cardio afterward, with a medium to high intensity.
In this case, doing cardio before or after weights is important. If you do it later, the body will have already warmed up. And you will have made a significant caloric expenditure. What does this mean? That probably when doing cardio exercises afterward the body takes the fuel it needs from body fat.
Of course, your body must still have the ability to do cardio with intensity. If you are already exhausted and the cardio training is going to be very light, you will not solve anything. If this is your case, consider modifying your weekly training plan. Surely the most appropriate and effective is to separate cardio training from strength training.
Anyway, fat metabolism has a very simple basis. Rather than deciding whether to do cardio before or after weights, you must assess how many calories to burn. And how many to eat. And it is that the balance between ingested and consumed calories must always be negative. That is, you always have to burn more than you eat. This way you will lose weight.
Cardio before or after strength to improve muscle mass and tone
When the goal is to improve muscle mass, there is no point in putting resistance before strength. Keep in mind that if your body arrives exhausted or weakened to strength training, you will not be able to achieve your goals. You will be too tired for efficient and effective work. In addition, it can even be dangerous. If you plan to do cardio before or after weight training, consider that weakness makes mistakes easier. A lack of muscle lift, for example, can cause injury. And fatally.
Cardio exercise after bodybuilding is an option. But it also has negative points. And it can be more catabolic for muscle tissue. To avoid this, you can take a small amount of protein in between.
Anyway, to achieve these goals, it is advisable to separate both types of training. The body needs recovery time. And that is what will allow you to improve effectively.
If you want to improve your stamina practicing running
The choice between cardio before or after running training, in this case, is clear. Run first, then work strength. The main thing is to win that resistance. And running with tired muscles does not bring you anything positive. That is why it is important that whether you train on a treadmill or run outside, running comes first.
Later you can do strength training. But it makes no sense to abuse its duration. Not its intensity. You may want to define certain muscles, but running already allows you to burn calories, tone the muscles, and improve the metabolic response of your body.
Cardio before or after training to improve your fitness overall
In this case, it makes no difference whether you start with strength or resistance training. But it is interesting that you define the objectives of each training. If you can only train two days a week, for example, spend more time, energy, and intensity – one for strength and the other for endurance. And do the type of training that interests you first.
However, it is important to have clear ideas. Experts are conducting studies on the effectiveness and response of the body to training. And everything indicates that the most convenient thing is to separate strength and resistance training. Any way to do it or not is a personal decision that you must make.
The rest of the body is important for recovery. But there are different ways to combine both types of training on the same day without doing it in a continuous session. In addition to physical exercise training, do you lead a sedentary life? That is to say, for work, studies or other obligations, apart from training, should you spend time at rest? In that case, you can consider doing cardio before or after training the same day but hours apart.
For example, if your goal is to train for endurance events like marathons or ironman. You can train cardio early in the morning at moderate intensity. Thus, the low level of insulin will mobilize the fatty acids but without achieving the opposite effect if you abuse the intensity. And in the afternoon, after 12 hours, do strength training.
When in doubt between cardio before or after training there is no single answer. And the most effective is the tangent; separate both types of training on different days.