FitnessShould I do strength or cardio first?

Should I do strength or cardio first?

Sharing some tips on whether you should do strength or cardio first in your workout routine. 

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a great morning and hope you enjoyed the long weekend! I’m already counting down the days until the next school break. Waking up early is not my cup of tea lol.

For today’s post, I wanted to talk about strength vs.cardio and which one you should do first in your routine. There are so many different types of exercise routines, and they offer different benefits for the body (and mind!). Doing an combination of strength and cardio can help you acheive your body composition and fitness goals, and knowing how to structure these in your routine can help you maximize the benefits. Deciding which one to do first depends on your fitness goals and other factors.

In today’s post, I’m sharing tips on how to decide which one to do first!

Should I do strength or cardio first?

A balanced fitness plan includes strength and cardio components, as well as mobility and rest. You also want to make sure that you’re alternating workout intensities throughout the week. For example, if you have a really hard cardio day, follow this with an easier day or rest. How much cardio and strength training you do in your weekly routine depends on your current fitness level, goals, unique factors (like age, health issues, injuries, medications, etc.). While I am a certified personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist, please remember that I’m not a doctor. Talk to your doctor before making any fitness changes and honor your body.

Also, remember that whenever you start something new in your routine, you will likely be sore, so DON’T push it too hard. This is why I usually have beginning training clients start with bodyweight-only or super light weights; they’re going to be sore no matter what.

Benefits Of Cardio After Weights

For body recomposition:

I typically recommend cardio after strength training if building muscle is the priority.  Typically women don’t understand that if you’re looking for a more “toned” look, you need to put on muscle. For this reason, we’ll emphasize strength training (progressive training and phased programming for optimal results), and sprinkle cardio in, but not too much.

For hormonal considerations:

Also, many of the women I work with are dealing with hormone imbalances, often from years of stress, under-eating, and overexercising. Workouts can be an extra stressor on the body, especially intense cardio. So, we’ll focus more on strength training and stick to daily walks until their energy levels return and inflammation is down.

Weights first helps to prepare the body for cardio

Doing strength first can help the body prepare for more explosive cardio movements, as you’re often working the joints through full range of motion and warming up the muscles. It can be helpful to mimic some of the upcoming cardio movements during your strength training routine.

Increased metabolism through higher muscle density:

Muscle tissue is “hungrier” than fat, which means it burns more calories at rest. When you’re focused on muscle-building, you may not see a higher calorie burn during the workout, but you’ll be increasing your body’s energy demand, which increases your metabolism.

Benefits Of Cardio Before Weights

A lever you can pull for fat loss

While I think that nutrition and sleep are the most important for fat loss goals, you can use cardio before strength training as a lever. Your overall calorie burn will be higher during the actual workout, and you’ll have more energy to push yourself.

If you’re training for a race or endurance event, cardio first can help performance

You’ll have a higher amount of energy for whatever you do first in your workout. If you have specific endurance goals, I recommend warming up and then doing cardio first.

At the end of the day, consistency the most important

I wouldn’t fret too much over whether you do cardio or strength first; it what makes sense for your routine that you’re able to do consistently. It also depends on personal preference and what you enjoy. If you enjoy your routine, you’re way more likely to stick with it for the long haul, which will give you the best results.

So, tell me, friends: do you like to cardio and weights on the same day, or separate days?

Which one do you like to do first?



Need help? Here’s how to set up a workout plan and how to determine your strength training split. If you’re looking for 1:1 nutrition or fitness coaching, you can apply here. <3

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