Cardio before or after weight lifting: Which one is better for weight loss?
Each person’s fitness journey is unique, and while some may wish to lose weight, others might focus on building muscle or improving endurance. One common question that arises when discussing exercise routines is whether it’s more effective to perform cardio exercises before or after weightlifting for optimum weight loss results. Though there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, this article will explore both options and provide insights into which might work best for you.
Cardio Before Weight Lifting
Proponents of performing cardio before weightlifting argue that this sequence offers several benefits for weight loss. These include:
1. Increased Calorie Burning: Starting with cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, or using an elliptical raises heart rates and primes the body for calorie burning. Engaging in cardio first may increase overall calorie expenditure throughout the entire workout session, helping to achieve weight loss goals sooner.
2. Improved Warm-Up: Cardio workouts can serve as an effective warm-up for muscles and joints prior to resistance training. This reduces injury risk during the subsequent lifting session by improving blood flow and flexibility.
3. Enhanced Endurance: By performing cardio initially, you challenge your cardiovascular system and improve its capacity over time. As a result, you also boost stamina during intense resistance training sessions, ultimately leading to improved weight loss progress.
Cardio After Weight Lifting
On the other hand, many fitness enthusiasts prefer engaging in cardiovascular exercises after resistance training for optimal weight loss results. Some advantages of this approach include:
1. Maximum Strength Output: Focusing on strength training first ensures that muscles are fresh and operating at full capacity. This allows individuals to lift heavier weights and build greater lean muscle mass, which contributes to a higher metabolism and increased calorie burn throughout the day.
2. Efficient Glycogen Depletion: Resistance training primarily depletes glycogen stores in muscles, forcing the body to tap into fat stores for energy during subsequent cardio sessions. Consequently, cardio performed after weight training may enhance fat loss results.
3. Recovery Advantages: Performing low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio after lifting weights can aid recovery by promoting blood flow and nutrient delivery to the muscles. This approach may minimize muscle soreness and facilitate an overall faster return to exercise.
Making Your Decision
Understanding the pros and cons of each sequence can help you make an informed decision about whether to perform cardio before or after weight lifting for weight loss. In general:
– If your primary focus is endurance training and increased calorie burning, you may benefit from doing cardio first.
– If your goal is to prioritize strength gains and maximize fat loss, you might consider performing cardio after weightlifting.
Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual goals and preferences. Regardless of when you incorporate cardio into your routine, consistency and commitment are most critical when aiming for lasting weight loss success.