Weights or Cardio First?

Recently, a client asked whether she should do weighting lifting exercises before cardio or cardio before weights. Generally, if you are going to do both types of workouts on the same day, it’s accepted that you should start with weights.

Lifting weights first means your muscles aren’t fatigued when you start your training, and weight lifting wakes up your body so that you can perform efficiently when you move to your cardio workout. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes for the body to start reaping the benefits of a cardio workout, so consider weight lifting as a little warm-up.

Another option is to alternate days–cardio three times a week (M,W,F), weight training three days a week (T, TH, Sat).

Just keep in mind that you need both, but whatever you are doing towards becoming physically fit is beneficial. If for some reason you prefer to do cardio followed by weight lifting, and you can’t get motivated to workout in the reverse order, it’s better to workout then skip cardio all together because you don’t like the format. When exercising you have to find what works for you and your body. You need to feel good. Everyone’s time is limited, so try your best and build slowly.


About the Author:

Maggie Downie
Thank you for giving your time to stop and read my blog. I hope it encourages you to keep moving. Move and the body will be happier. And when you're moving you can hike, run, swim in Jell-O, race over non-Newtonian fluids, travel the world or build igloos--if that's your thing. If not, you can watch me do it. This is just a spot to try and feel good about life.


  1. Deborah March 21, 2008 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Thank you for giving options. So many fitness coaches tell you how and when to exercise, and I often become put off. I also appreciate that you recognize that time is limited, so anything we do is a positive step. Thank you for helping me feel supported.

  2. Maggie March 26, 2008 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Hi wi11 power,

    Yeah, in general it would apply to all weights, although running and most cardio puts more pressure on your leg muscles than your arm muscles. But remember, during cardio you should be thinking about your whole posture and standing tall–not slouching, which will give you a better workout too. You’re engaging more muscles that way. So if you were to focus on that for 30 to 60-minutes after you’d lifted weights, it’s bound to be harder.

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