Cardio Before Weights. Should You Do Cardio Before or After Weights?

Do you do cardio before weights? Or do you do cardio after weights? When should you do it?

In many things we do in life, order matters. Would you shower in your clothes? Probably not. You would take your clothes off first, then get in the shower.

Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise you to find out that order matters in the gym as well...


I need your help. I am 86 kg and my age is 30. For the last 5 months I am working out in gym.

The question is . Everyday I start my workout with aerobics (treadmill, cycling),and then I start the muscle building exercises.

The problem is after I finish aerobics (about 1 hour), I feel very tired and I’m not able to do the muscle building exercises fully.

Could you please guide me where I am doing the mistake. Do I need to complete the muscle building first?

Please help me on this.

Thanks & Regards

Nagarajan D.

Nagarajan, whether to do cardio before or after weights is a common question, so you are not alone in wondering.

Believe it or not, the order in which you do your workouts can have a pretty big impact on the effectiveness of your training. However, the answer is not as clear cut as you might think.

This is another question without a clear cut answer. But, as usual, I have a preference.

So let’s jump right into it...

In most of the gyms I have been in that have cardio equipment by or near the front of the facility (some of the “dungeon” style gyms don’t have any at all, but that is another story for another time).

My advice? Walk on by.


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Why? Personally, I am a lot like you. When I do cardio before weights, I end up tired, not only physically, but mentally as well.

I really like to lift weights with maximum intensity, and in order for me to do that, I need to have laser focus. When I spend half an hour on the “dreadmill,” I feel kind of dull. I start thinking about when the workout will be over, rather than focusing on moving weights.

At the same time, if I am doing cardio, I find that I can zone out a bit and don’t need to focus as much, so I don’t have any problems doing cardio after weights. It actually helps me to wind down a little.

Now, I would be remiss if I did not mention that while the science on whether you should do cardio before or after weights is neither broad nor deep, there is one study from Brigham Young University that suggests for fat burning, it is better to do the cardio first.

Cardio Before Weights, What Should YOU Do?

So, what should you do? I am going to fall back on my old standard... do what works for you.

Reading your question, it seems you would benefit from doing cardio after weights. But I would experiment a little just to be sure.

Here is what I did. For one entire week, I did cardio before weights, and kept a detailed journal of how I felt, both during cardio and during weight training. I also kept track of the volumes I was doing while lifting - sets, reps, weights used.

The next week, I flipped it. I did cardio after weights. And, after evaluating it, the choice was clear for me. I felt that I was more effective in the gym doing cardio after weights.

You can also consider doing cardio on days you don’t do weight training.

Cardio Before of After Weights? Why Not At the Same Time?

There is one other option. It’s a very cool style of training called hybrid strength training. It is actually a method of exercise that combines strength training and cardio at the same time (this is why they call it hybrid). If you are interested in learning more about doing cardio and weights at the same time, check out the this Lean Hybrid Muscle Program by Elliot Hulse and Mike Westerdal.

You can also read more about it over at my Lean Hybrid Muscle page.

At the end of the day, whether or not you choose to do cardio before weights or not, you get my respect and accolades for going to the gym. Keep up the good work!

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