Cardio or Weight Training – What Type of Training is Best?


Many of our clients have asked us the same question“…what comes first the cardiovascular exercises or the weight lifting?” And it is that very answer that can make or break your New Year’s resolution. Sticking to a fitness routine that allows you to utilize your time at the gym most efficiently can maximize your results and even minimize injuries and discouragements.

Although a fitness plan is tailored on an individual level, below is a break down of the four basic options you can choose from to design the appropriate fitness routine for you based on your lifestyle and fitness goals.

In a perfect world, you should work out twice a day two to three times a week (allowing days off in between for your body to rest and recuperate). Do cardio early in the morning when your metabolism is in its highest level and then weight lifting in the afternoon or in the evening.

If you are limited in time due to your busy schedule, and must do both the weight training and cardiovascular exercises at each session, maximize your workout each time you finally do make it to the gym. Here too, it is best to go a few days a week with resting days in between workouts. Make sure to come to the gym with a tank full of glucose (stored Carbohydrates). The recommended and most productive way is to start with weight lifting and end with cardiovascular exercise

The reason for that is simple:

If you do your cardio first, you will spend b/w 15 to 20 minutes burning your glucose reserves (and even more if you’re not fit). Your body is now ready to burn fat for energy but, by the time you get to the weight lifting you might feel too fatigued due to a lack of glucose and end up burning less fat. Therefore, starting with weight lifting enables your body to use the reserve glucose first, you will feel much stronger and lift more and by the time you get to the cardio part of your workout your body will be ready to burn fat for energy.

Another approach if you are limited with time, is to do cardio on one day and weight lifting on the other. This routine has its advantages and disadvantages. Spending your full workout on either one or the other allows you more time to explore and devote to each but does not allow enough time for your body to recuperate between workouts possibly leading to over training.

For those of you that are training for endurance or performance skills like biking, hiking, marathons etc. my suggestion would be to start with cardio and do weight lifting in your spare time. Here too, be careful not to over train and cause injury to your body.

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