Cardio versus strength – What comes first?

Saturday, 11 July 2015

cardiovsstrength_article

There is plenty debate about training cardio and strength in one gym session. The most popular question asked is: What comes first? Is there value or consequences in training one before the other? You may not considerate it significant, but it if you want to take your training seriously, it is!

I prefer to keep my cardio sessions separate to my strength training. If you’re going to practise two in one though, I suggest scheduling your cardio AFTER your strength training.

Fat loss benefit: You are already in your fat burning zone if your cardio succeeds a weight training session, where as if you start with it, your body will first use up its glycogen stores as energy before burning fat.

Muscle gain benefit: If you do your cardio first, your body will deplete your glycogen stores in your muscles, so when you get round to weight training, your session will not be as effective. You will also be tired and less motivated for heavier, muscle-building sets.

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Written by

Fitness and lifestyle expert, Lisa Raleigh, has been an exercise specialist for more than a decade. Known for her television roles as the winning team trainer on SA's The Biggest Loser, fitness guru on Michael Mol's Hello Doctor as well as the health and wellness consultant on SABC 3's daily morning show, Expresso, Lisa is fast becoming South Africa's unofficial face of wellness and healthy living.

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  1. WAFIQA ABBAS

    I’m pretty petite, and not really looking to lose weight, but rather to strengthen and tone. Would this help me too?

    3 years ago •

  1. Iman Coovadia

    good article, i think its best to do cardio first

    3 years ago •

  1. Buli Mazwi

    I guess it also depends on the individual . You need to know your body, what results you want and what’s more effective for you.

    But trying out cardio after strength won’t hurt :)

    3 years ago •

  1. Theodora Mpitimpiti

    I get the logic behind weight training first and then cardio. It perfectly makes sense to me. What kind of protein shake should i take as a woman though? i am about to hit gym running because i want to lose weight and gain some muscle.

    3 years ago •

  1. Angela Chanel

    Wow, this is enlightening, I thought doing cardio first is better because it would add more oxygen to the blood.. but I’d rather be in the fat burning zone..

    3 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    I’ve always been a big believer in working out with your own body weight because that’s a true test of fitness and endurance in one.

    3 years ago •

  1. Caythe

    I was lucky to come across this article before going to the gym,I’ve been considering going to the gym

    3 years ago •

  1. Conjie

    I realised that I get better results when I do 30 minutes “HIIT” after strength training.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tiaan Smith

    I prefer cardio. I’ll focus on strength when I’m at my goal weight. Cardio helps me loose weight faster. Unfortunately, there’s way too many stories on this subject. I’ve managed to lose 17kg on my own doing cardio and watching what I eat.

    5 years ago •

  1. Lynne123

    Wow! I did not know that… I will definitely be keeping it in mind going forward.

    5 years ago •

  1. StephanieM

    Thank you for this informative article.

    5 years ago •

  1. Livvy

    Thank you for the info. I’ve just been jumping around the lounge ever since I was little and that seems to do the trick, with some azonto dance moves.

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Kay

    I just try to do something different every day.

    5 years ago •

  1. Clueless_Cutie

    Thanks you for this article. I have consulted many trainers, each who have their own take on the matter.

    5 years ago •

  1. Riekie

    Thanks great advice, I think a combination of both is good.

    5 years ago •

  1. DebbieT

    I will definitely takes this advice into practice!

    5 years ago •

  1. Lah

    Interesting! I’m on a “get fit” mission before summer!

    5 years ago •

  1. foreverGLAM

    Nice Article :-) Please do more of these, especially tips on weight/muscle gain.

    5 years ago •

  1. Miss Addy M

    Great! Thanks for this article. It answered a few concerns I had.

    5 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    I’d go for cardio over strength training. This is because I have not done any weights for the past year and a half, but our intense cardio workouts at boot camp have helped me build so much strength in a lot of places.

    5 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    I find that if i start with a bit of cardio, if gets me in the “mood” for exercise.. after reading this, I’m not sure if that’s wrong? I agree that doing cardio first does use up your glycogen stores and thereafter you are more tired and less motivated to lift heavier weights. Well, thank you for something to think about :)

    5 years ago •

  1. Ramsewak

    Thanks, this was very helpful to me :-)

    5 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    Thanks this is formative. I never gave this a thought.

    5 years ago •

  1. AmyR

    Thanks Lisa! I always wondered about that :)

    5 years ago •

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