Should you do cardio before or after a weight training session in order to lose fat is a commonly asked question with no really clear answers. Some trainers advocate that you do weight training first and cardio afterward, but others say the opposite.
Basically, cardio is any exercise that elevates your heart rate. This could include jogging, biking, hiking or skipping. If you do these activities for a sustained amount of time, your body will begin to burn your fat deposits, which is what you want if you want to lose weight.
Resistance training burns fat too. When you lift weights, you gradually build more muscle tissue. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, which means it’s easier to burn calories.
Combining the two methods is the ideal way to lose weight. However, many people find it difficult to do both on the same day. Let’s face it; it’s very tough to jog for half an hour and then pound some weights, right? It’s hard enough to work up the energy to job, let alone do more afterward.
This is the reason that many people like to lift weights first. Weight lifting, while strenuous, doesn’t tire you out as much. Your muscles may feel like they are burning, but if you rest for a few minutes after a set, you can continue to lift. If you can manage to do 15-20 minutes of lifting before you do your cardio training, you’re ahead of the game. You’ll be able to utilize both the fat burning capabilities of cardio, and the advantages of building more muscle at the same time.
Your ultimate goal is to use up the energy you’ve put in during the day from the food you have eaten. By weight lifting first, you use up some of the excess calories and carbohydrates that you have stored in your muscles. When you start to do your cardio, your body will have to rely on another source of fuel—mainly your fat deposits.
Whether you prefer to do your weight lifting first or after your cardio training is totally up to you. It’s a personal preference, and there are no hard facts that state either way is better than the others. However, I would argue (and I did) that doing your weight training first is easier and more economical than doing cardio first.