You use to always hear that you should perform your cardio first to warm up before you hit the weights. Then, a few years back, the order got flipped. So, which is it? What order should you do your weights and cardio in to achieve the best results?
The shortest answer is that you should do weights first, but if you don’t understand why, then you aren’t setting yourself up for the highest level of success.
Why weights first?
In order to perform short bursts of energy in weight training, your body uses glycogen (carbs), so the idea is to burn off the glycogen so that you can move straight to burning more fat when you switch over to cardio.
Another reason to do weights first is to prevent injury. The thought behind that is, if you are tired from cardio, you won’t be as agile and conscientious during your weight training, which could be dangerous.
What to be aware of when performing weights before cardio
Even though I suggest starting with weights, that does mean you should skip your warm up. You should never walk right into the gym and lift your max. Obviously, if part of the reason to start with weights is to help prevent a weight training injury, there is more to it than simply swapping the order.
Warm up with light weights, perform some kettlebell swings, do jumping jacks or something else along those lines for 5-10 minutes so that you can safely perform a light stretch and prepare your body for the workout.
In the end, it’s all about your body.
If you are exclusively using light weights or performing a circuit training routine that mixes weights and cardio, you don’t need to worry about the order. You aren’t as likely to hurt yourself using light weights, and circuit training is a combination weight-cardio workout rather than a split order.
Above all else, as long as you’re working out, you’re doing great. If you’re covering both weights and cardio, and your method is working for you, then stick with it. If you’re not currently on an exercise plan, I hope this information fuels you to get off your rear and take that first step towards becoming a stronger, hotter version of yourself.