Lift or do cardio first?

This is an important question that i am asked multiple times as a personal fitness trainer. Many factors are in play on whether to do cardio first (running to be specific) or weight lifting i.e:

  • What are your overall fitness goals?
  • What are you looking to gain from your training?
  • How do you want to improve?

There’s lots of conflicting information on this topic and perhaps the real reason this question is difficult to answer is because the answer entirely depends on YOU and your anticipated end-goal. Getting better in terms of running means improving a variety of things such as :

  • Aerobic capacity and stamina
  • Muscular endurance
  • Leg strength and ability to generate more power – This is specifically good if you are looking to do long distance running
  • Mobility and flexibility
  • Overall sense of balance

Meanwhile, getting better in terms of weightlifting means improving the following:

  • Choice and order of your lifting workout
  • Number of sets
  • Power and strength
  • Resistance and muscular endurance
  • Increasing the weight and dropping the number of sets

Out with the old and in with the NEW!

In today’s modern era, many runners have come to terms with the fact that to train effectively and properly, they must do more than just running. The same applies to weight lifting. In essence, your body’s adaptive response is greater for the type of exercise you finish your workout doing; this goes to say that a workout concluded with weights will trigger muscle growth and a workout concluded with running or any form of cardio will enhance your body’s aerobic stamina and endurance. (This is my personal view based on experience. There are many other different views on this particular topic and therefore would encourage you to take it up as a challenge and see the different results achieved on your body.)

A different approach would be to combine both ideals in between sets i.e: Plan your workouts by running at the beginning of your workout three times a week and then running last for the remaining two to three weekly workouts. Do note that this is also highly dependent on how many times a week you workout and therefore would recommend to adjust the cardio / lifting variations based on your schedule.

The bottom line is this, it is better for you to have consistency in your workouts than to worry about the two extra calories you might burn from doing weights or cardio first. Analyse your goals and plan your workouts to reach those goals.

Looking forward to getting your feedback on this as this is a vast topic of discussion.


Published by I&F Fitness

Certified Fitness Coach - Personal and Virtual sessions

8 thoughts on “Lift or do cardio first?

    1. First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS Howie! 40 years of fitness is no joke and for that i am proud of you. Would you mind to please share with me and other readers what kept you motivated throughout your fitness journey?
      Equally, yes it is crossfit and sometimes referred to as functional fitness. Functional fitness and crossfit are part of the same family and occasionally considered one and the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What keeps me going, just the feeling and wellbeing of feeling fit, once you get to that peck, it not easy to maintain it, so every now and then you chill for a while, then of course you lose it, so the only way to do is get back in the gym

        Liked by 1 person

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