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Readers Respond: How Do You Sequence Your Workouts?

Responses: 17

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Updated March 01, 2011

It can be confusing fitting in strength and cardio workouts each week and we often wonder if we should do cardio before or after strength training. There's no right answer to that question and it often depends on your goals, preferences and schedule. What about you? Do you do cardio before strength training? Why? Share the details of your workout schedule.

Cardio After

If you are trying to burn fat and get the most out of your cardio workout then you want to do cardio after you weight train. The reason why is while you are weight training you are burning off your sugar that you have consumed from whatever meal you ate before your workout. So, when you get to doing cardio you will be burning more fat. Also for the best results you should do interval training. At the time you will not be burning much calories but your metabolism will be up so you burn more calories throughout the day.
—Guest Alex

Guest

I do 30 min cardio everyday and alternate upper body and lower body weight lifting, and then stretch.
—Guest Lisa

Cardio Before

I do 1/2 hour of HIIT on the elliptical. I start at 60 rpm for three minutes at level one then go to 75 rpm for three minutes. I raise the level by one every three minutes. After that I move right to strength training. I choose a large muscle group and two small muscle groups and I work a tri-circuit non stop for another 1/2 hour. I use 70% of my one rep max.
—Guest Instr. S.Saud Bey

Cardio before Strength Training

I do interval training. I start out cardio but then after several minutes a round of strength training is done, then it goes back and forth. I heard that is the optimal way to exercise for maximum benefit.
—Guest Rose

ptgirl

Weights then cardio to lose weight-you are more likely to actually be burning fat when you do cardio after because during the lifting you should have exhausted the muscles and used their fuel up already which then leaves fat as the last source of fuel
—Guest Michelle

cardio before strength training

I always do my cardio first if I'm going to do both cardio and strength training in the same workout or even in the same day, for the reasons you mentioned in your article (increased afterburn). While I am not trying to lose weight, I am always aware of not gaining weight. If I need to do a long endurance cardio session I will do weights on a separate day, after a shorter bout of cardio.
—Guest Kelcey

Cardio before strength

Yes, I usually follow this pattern for working out, but as personal trainer my clients are sometimes pressed for time so I add intervals of cardio in between strength training. This way they don't get bored, plus both strength and cardio are covered and those calories keep on burning for several hours after the workout ends. But please do not forget to stretch!
—Guest Marci

cardio first

I have tried both doing cardio first and after my strength training. I have found that if I do my resistance training first, my body feels like jello, making my runs harder to complete (and longer for the same distance). I have also found that I will burn at least 150 calories more for the same routine when I do cardio first (I wear a heart rate monitor). I burn the most amount of calories when I alternate between cardio and strength (i.e. 5 minute run, 3 sets of squats, 5 minute run, 3 sets of pullups...etc...) these are by far the hardest workouts for me, and I burn the most calories during these workouts too (I'm sure afterwards too).
—Guest sis

Cardio and Weight Training

I often do 10 mins of a moderate to intesne cardio workout prior to weight training. Often times my weight training will also include cardio depending on the pace of the weight training and shorter rest periods.
—Guest James Pedersen

Cardio Before Weight Training

I always do cardio first. The length of time depends on the type of cardio (swimming, jogging, hiking rough terrain, eliptical) and my goal: am I trying to strengthen my endurance? train specific muscles? Overall, I spend 45 - 75 minutes swimming, the treadmill or the eliptical. 1.5 hours or more in the hills. My weight training is then another 30 - 60 minutes (I include ab work in that time). I like it this way because I feel the aerobic exercise gives me a great warm-up. I have never felt that I perform as well aerobically if I weight train first.
—Guest Kim

Lift before cardio

My goal is five days a week. Alternating days between lower body lifting and upper body. One day a week with my trainer. One day cardio only. On the days when I do strength training, I do some stretching or very light lifting before I start the heavier stuff. I always do cardio last, largely because -- when I'm done with the cardio, I have nothing left! Could have something to do with my age (70), I suppose.
—Guest Jay

Cardio before strength

I do cardio first to warm up then do a set, then do 5 minutes of cardio then do the second set, etc. By the time I'm finished I've done about 40 to 45 minutes of cardio including the cool down. The entire workout usually last about 1 1/2 hours with stretching at the end.
—id04436

Cardio then Weights

I've done 1 hour of cardio (400+ calorie burn) before strength training (35 minutes) for the past several months. It works well for me!
—Guest drgeri

Yes cardio before strength

I always try to do cardio before strength training, even just in the gym I do an hour high intensity cardio then 40 minutes strength training finishing off with mat work. My favourite is an hour spinning class followed directly by an hour bodypump class! I can't recommend it highly enough.
—josie1987

cardio B4 workou

If I did cardio first, I would not have the energy for a good workout immediately after. I will do my cardio early in the morning (6am or 7am before I go to work). I will then do my workout on my lunch hour (12pm-1pm). I workout everyday and cardio is 3 times per week. There are times I will do very light cardio (about 15 mins.) before a workout just to get my body temperature up. This works for me.
—Guest Rogie66

Cardio 1st!

I always do my cardio first - it gets me warmed up and loose so I can get more out of my strength training. Even when I'm not doing weights but rather push-ups and ab work, I always feel like I want to do more when I'm already warmed up.
—Guest pilatesgirlsocal

Cardio before strength

I always do my cardio before strength training. I find that lifting first really ruins my cardio workouts, but I have plenty of energy after cardio for weight training. It's even better if I can do cardio in the morning and strength training later in the day, but that doesn't always work with my schedule.
—Lilly

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