Is It Better to do Cardio or Weight Training First for Faster Fat Loss

Some of us are torn between the two — and here’s how to do it properly

You probably instinctively know that weight training and cardio have different effects on the body. However, you can always feel the difference physically as well as mentally. But did you know there is a difference in what fuel is burnt due to doing either cardio or weight first? Research has shown that you lose a lot more fat and get stronger faster if you do weight training first up. This is the case, no matter what your primary goal may be. For example, when you train with weights, your body prefers to burn fat stores for fuel. Prioritising weight training will increase your metabolism within the 24 hours of your recovery period. It also increases your chances of building muscle — which will further increase your metabolism. Think of it this way, too — if you start your session with weight training, you will have a lot more energy to dedicate to weights — therefore, the more effort you put in, the more results you will get. Now, I’m not saying that cardio isn’t good. I do cardio all the time, but low impact walking, instead of hours of running or the type of cardio that wears out your body (and potentially uses muscle for fuel). However, we all have to prioritise the way we want our bodies to look and feel, not to mention the type of training we love.Do you prefer more muscle or not? Are you training for an event such as a marathon? The answer to these questions will determine the path that’s right for you. Here are some quick tips on structuring your workout to get the best of both cardio and weight training.

One: Train with weights first — always (but do some warm-up first — although not strenuous cardio).

If you must do cardio, finish off your workout with interval training. Try about 20 minutes and see how that feels. When it’s leg day and you had a pretty hard session, you may not be able to sprint as well.

Two: Still do your weights first — that is, unless your endurance training. 

Whatever your activity or goals, putting weights first will get you faster results while increasing performance. You are training your body too. Burn fat before carbs — which is super important during long-distance endurance events.

Three: Try doing cardio on one day and then weights on another.

Always do more weight training sessions than cardio. Weights can be 3–4 times a week, whilst challenging interval training should be performed two or three max for 20 minutes at a time. I hope this helps you to decide which training medium to perform first. Although it’s a lot more time-effective to do both, may I suggest lighter cardio like walking instead of intervals? Then, you will be able to perform both of these on the same day without compromising muscle, strength and still burn stored fat in the process. What are your goals? 

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