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What to Do First: Cardio or Weights

It is the age old conundrum - cardio before weights, or weights before cardio? For me there is no clear cut answer or protocol. So I thought I would share my internal debate on the matter.

Reasons to do Cardio first:

  • I am planning to do a long cardio session and I don't want to tire out my legs before running for 60 minutes.
  • I am just planning on lifting weights with my upper body and they will still feel fresh after my cardio session.
  • The weight room at the gym is really crowded.

Reasons to Lift first

  • If my focus for the workout is strength training, I will warm up and cool down with a little cardio, but spend most of my time lifting weights. This way my lifting form is not compromised by my tired muscles. I think this helps prevent injury too.

  • Here is a scientific reason that I factor in to my decision making process: Lifting weights first can boost your fat-burning power during the aerobic part of your workout since it can deplete your "quick burst" energy (glycogen) stores. This means when you do your cardio workout after lifting weights, you'll likely burn less glycogen and more stored fat.
  • If the cardio room is really full, I will lift weights first.

Sometimes I skip the entire debate and just mix it all together with some circuit training. And you? Which do you do first? Lift weights or cardio?

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