Which should I do first: cardio or weights?

Cardio or Weights?

It all boils down to what your goal is. If your goal is an upcoming 5K or marathon race then, you focus on cardio first. If you're trying to get that sculpted summer physic then, strength training would come first. Spending too much time sweating on the cardio equipment will hinder your ability to put on muscle, and lifting too much free weight will impede your endurance gains. If you're looking for the all-around athletic look and good health, mix it up. Try alternating workouts from cardio followed by strength training too, strength training followed by cardio. For an even better more intense pump add some Plyometrics to your workout and get the best of both worlds.

First, you have to identify your over-all goal. Are you looking to run in a race like a 5K? Or are you simply looking to improve your appearance and over-all health?

If it is for an upcoming race I would recommend focusing more on cardio to build up your endurance. The only speed bump I have seen with people in my circle is that once they are done with cardio training they are too wiped out for weight training.

May I offer you a few suggestions:

1. Train 2 times a day (if you have time). Do cardio in 1 session and weights in the other.

2. Alternate days with cardio and weight training.

3. Circuit Training or Plyometrics. Both offer cardio benefits with strength training.

If you are trying to improve your appearance and over-all health and tend to favor weight training over cardio; then do your weight training first. Whatever your body has left you can then use for cardio. This is how I train when I am short on time, or refer back to #3 Circuit or Plyometric training.

Bottom line is that it's up to each individual personal preference and ability. Every "body" is different. Find the right balance for you and you will see the results you are looking for!


Contrary to popular belief it does not matter which you perform first. Many gym members begin the exercise routine by running on a treadmill or biking before weights. However, there is no reason to follow this trend. It is certainly ok to begin your exercise routine with weight training. The most important thing is to have a proper warm-up before engaging in any exercise. Like the others have said, follow your goals. If your goal is to increase muscle strength and size, start with weights, so that your body is fresh.

If you are looking to increase your strength, do your resistance training first. Doing your cardio or conditioning first is a great way to warm up and can help your resistance training session. Just remember to break a sweat daily.
Deciding what to do first -- cardio or weights -- depends on your fitness goals. Cardio versus weights is like the Hatfields versus the McCoys. If you are a cardio guy you don’t lift weights, and if you love heavy metal, you would not be caught dead running.

It all comes down to your personal goals. If you want to bulk up, place an emphasis on the weight room. But if your athletic goal is to complete your first half-marathon, then cardio is your go-to training method.

You can also lay out your individual workouts by placing the emphasis on the element you want to focus on first in the session, to get the most impact. Ultimately, it’s about balance. If you pay too much attention to a single component of your program, other areas will suffer -- and so will you. To quote Albert Einstein: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.