Cardio Before or After Weights

Many people do cardio before they adjust the weight machine. You can also find others who believe you should do cardio after weight training. Should you do cardio before or after weights? It is a common issue and many exercisers are always confused about it. To find a right answer, you need to consider your fitness goals first and then determine the best way to utilize your time in the gym. Keep reading to discover more about it.

Should I Do Cardio Before or After Weights?

As for this question, the better idea is to engage in cardio activities after you have finished lifting weights. Here are some reasons why it makes sense to do cardio after weights.

1. Reserve Energy for Weights

When you exercise, your body uses glycogen in your muscles for energy source. With low glycogen levels, you will have a hard time completing your workouts. It is quite like having a low carb diet and then experiencing less energy during workouts. If you do cardio before weights, your body will use up the preferred energy for intense workouts like weight lifting. This will undermine your plan if your goal is to maximize calorie burn, increase strength or build muscle. So if you put weights before cardio, you can do more reps.

2. Balance Blood pH

Do cardio before or after weights? As far as pH concern, weights should come first. During cardio, your body breaks down energy and utilizes it to make lactic acid, replenishing your fuel sources and ensuring you complete your workout sessions with full intensity. However, your body needs to create excessive hydrogen ions to complete the process. The body handles hydrogen ions at a fairly low rate, which lowers your pH levels and makes your body more acidic. This acidic environment leads to muscular fatigue and compromised performance. It is, therefore, a good idea to avoid doing cardio first in order to get a balanced blood pH for weight lifting.

3. Get Testosterone for Muscle Building

If you do cardio first, your body will release cortisol without increasing levels of testosterone. Cortisol breaks down your muscle to provide your body with energy throughout your workout. It may help you when doing cardiovascular exercises, but it will keep you from building muscles. During strength training, both cortisol and testosterones go up and provide you with energy and help build muscles as well.

5. Get on the Express Pathway for Muscle Building

Another important aspect to consider when answering if you should do cardio before or after weights is how motor pathways behave after exercise. These pathways signal your muscles to grow. It is mainly due to the different expression of these pathways that some people gain muscle size easily while others struggle a lot. If you do cardio before strength training, the motor pathways become inhibited, making it difficult to improve muscle size.

5. Avoid Fatigue and Injury

If you do cardio first and then engage in weight training, you will have a higher chance of sustaining an injury. That's because you are physically and mentally tired after a cardio session but you still push your body beyond limits to handle weights for a certain number of sets. In such circumstances, getting hurt is a common result.

Opposite Opinions

Although we have listed so many benefits of doing cardio after Weights, but the opinion on the question cardio before or after weights do various. Here are two main oppose opinions:

  • Vascular Health: Some studies say that resistance training may reduce the elasticity of arteries, which will restrict blood flow and may even lead to hypertension. If you do cardio after weights, this may help open up arteries and improve circulation, which ensures long-term vascular health.
  • Efficiency in Fat Burning: Cardio activities bring out after-burn effect, meaning they burn fat effectively not only during the workout but after it as well. Some other studies say that metabolic resistance-training workout is more likely to create a larger after-burn effect as compared to a traditional bodybuilding workout. It means you may consider doing your cardio before weights if your main aim is to lose fat.