In today’s post I am going to be talking about if you should do cardio before or after weight training. This question is most often asked by people looking to get the most amount of fat burn out of their cardio program. Obviously we would like to do that without sacrificing precious muscle mass.
Cardio Before or After Weight Training to Burn Fat Fast | Cardio before or after lifting | Weight Training
Since we’re trying to get to the bottom of the most effective way to time our cardio program we want to make sure that doing the cardio before or after weight training is actually burning fat. Doing the cardio before your workout, unless you’re working out on an empty stomach, is going to burn a mix of carbs and dietary fat.
That means that you’re essentially going to be burning what you ate earlier that day during your cardio workout not fat. In fact, it’ll probably take you a full half hour to just start burning body fat especially with steady state cardio.
The other downside to doing cardio before a workout is also related to the fact that we’re going to be burning the food we ate instead of fat. The food we ate, and the stored glycogen from previous meals was going to be valuable fuel for a beast mode workout. All I got to say is good luck with those squats after an hour of running.
You’re probably already thinking that cardio after the workout is the only way to go, but I haven’t even mentioned the biggest benefit to doing it after rather than before. People are always confused if doing cardio before or after weight training is better. See when you’re doing cardio usually your goal is to burn body fat, and glycogen is like brick wall between you and you’re goal.
Imagine that there’s a very busy highway and every car on this highway represents glycogen. There’s a cross street with a yield sign where cars are trying make a turn and get onto this highway. These cars represent your fat cells. While all the glycogen “cars” are zooming by the fat cell “cars” are just sitting there at the stop sign waiting their turn. Occasionally a fat cell “car” gets through, but for the most part when the glycogen cars are around the fat’s not getting through.Finally once there are no more glycogen cars the fat cell cars start going through one after the other at a much faster rate.
What all that means is that your body, which in this case is the highway prefers to use glycogen for energy. Meaning if you do cardio before your weight training you’re probably going to be using mostly glycogen to supply the energy.
Fat cells on the other hand will be at the “stop sign” and will get used here and there at a low rate. Once all the glycogen is gone that’s when we start burning fat at a faster rate. Well how the heck do we get rid of all that glycogen?
Glycogen happens to be the body’s go to fuel when lifting weights, and whats even more awesome is that when you weight train glycogen is converted used for energy in mass quantities. So you’re going to burn right through that glycogen quick. After an hour or so of intense weight training you will have probably depleted the majority of the glycogen in your body. This means that directly after the weight training would be an ideal time to start cardio because now you’re body will have no choice but to burn fat at a higher rate. So what’s better doing cardio before or after weight training?
If you still only want to do cardio before you’re workout then just understand that your going to run into a couple roadblocks. The major one is that your strength and energy levels are going to be depleted if you do a full out cardio session. The only time to do cardio before a workout is as a warm up at a low intensity. You don’t really need longer than 10 or 15 minutes to warm up.
Whether you do a HIIT workout or a steady state cardio workout you’re still going to burn more fat after weights because you’ll be in a glycogen depleted state. I prefer a HIIT workout because you can usually get the same if not better results than steady state cardio in half the time. An example of steady state cardio would be jogging on a treadmill, where as an example of HIIT cardio would be sprinting or boxing at a high intensity. Again you’ll burn more fat doing either one directly after weights, but I just prefer HIIT, it saves time.
Also, I find that this type of cardio gives me a great deal of energy throughout the rest of the day whereas performing long steady state cardio (typically endurance runs for me) leave me feeling drained and worn out.
When adding cardio to your program, take into account your individual time preferences, what goals you wish to accomplish, what type of schedule you have (with work and other obligations), and what you truly enjoy doing. If you take into account all of these factors you will more than likely surpass your cardiovascular and fat loss goals! Hope I was able to give you clear picture as what is better cardio before or after weight training.
My passion for fitness began when I was 14 years old. I naturally fell in love with training and haven’t stopped since. At 18 years I acquired my first personal training certification from ACE after which I opened my first gym in 2011, Gravity Training Zone. I'm now in the process of opening up my third location! I love to share my knowledge through personal training, my online courses, and youtube channel now with over 100,000 subscribers! I'm always here for my customers so if you need help don't hesitate to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org