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Q&A: Cardio Before Training or After?

Hey, everybody! And today’s Q and A, I’m going to answer the question of “When you should do your cardio?”, “Should you do it before you lift weights or should you do it after you lift weights?”. All right, let’s get right into it. So like most answers that I give out on topics, this one’s really going to depend on the individual. We’re going to look at 2 main things when we’re deciding when to do our cardio on days that we’re weight training. So 2 main things:

(1) What are your goals?

(2) What type of cardio are you doing?

Let’s talk about the goals first, because they are the most important. First thing, if your goal is to do an endurance event, let’s say you signed up for a 5k marathon, or you’re a triathlete, and you’re going to most likely want to prioritize that cardio before your resistance training.

Now, if your goals are just to look better, feel healthier, lose weight, burn fat. Then the majority of the time you’re going to want to do your cardio after you lift weights. And here’s an explanation of why in both of those scenarios, your body is going to adapt to whatever you give it. Your body’s constantly adapting. And every time you go into the gym, it’s, you’re sending a signal and you’re telling it, “Hey, we need to get better at this, or we need to get better at that” whichever signal you send it first, that’s what it’s going to prioritize and get the best at. So if you go into the gym and you just start running 30, 40 minutes, your body’s going to say, “Hey, we need more endurance”. And then it’s going to prioritize that over strength.

If you go in and you start resistance training heavy, and your body’s going to say, “Hey, we need to get stronger”.  As I’ve said in previous videos and the reason that you would do cardio after weights for aesthetics is muscle, building more muscle is going to speed up your metabolism. It’s going to burn more fat. Long-term it’s going to give you that more aesthetic looking physique. So that is why we would prioritize building strength and muscle first, if we’re going for a better look.


So the other thing we want to consider whenever we’re designing our program or thinking about what to do first is what type of cardio are we doing? If we’re doing some low, very steady state, 10 to 20 minute walking, cardio that’s barely getting a sweating and that’s fine to do before your resistance training because it’s not going to impact your performance, it’s not going to send such a loud signal to your body “Hey, we need to build endurance”. Now, if you’re doing 20 plus minutes of kind of more intense jogging, running, the elliptical steppers, things like that, you’re going to want to save that for after, because again, you’re going to get more tired and you will be sending your body the endurance signal.


If you’re doing HIIT training, I’d recommend doing that on a separate day. If you can, if you can not do that 10 to 20 minutes of HIIT training after your resistance training. Again, you don’t want to make yourself too tired, and so forth.


So that’s kind of how I’d approach the cardio conundrum. If you are looking for more aesthetics, save your cardio until the end. If you’re looking for more performance, let’s say you’ve got a goal coming up of a race, put your cardio in the beginning. That is all for today. I hope you found value in this video. If you did give me a thumbs up, give me a like, drop a heart. If you thought it was terrible, tell me drop a comment. All right. That is all for today. Hope everybody has a fantastic rest of their day and as always, stay strong. 

-EarthFIT Coach Sam

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