Chances are you prefer some things in the gym to others.
This is an entirely reasonable thing for most of us as we all have different aims, objectives and goals for our time spent in pursuit of fitness, but is it better to fit in your cardio work before or after adding up some reps with free weights or on the weight machines?
If building strength is your primary goal it is better to leave the cardio work until afterwards so you can focus your energy on achieving your desired reps without being exhausted, which can lead to improper technique.
“If you prioritize weight lifting over cardio, you can focus more brain power on lifting those weights correctly versus going into a session sweaty and out of breath, unable to perform as well and upping your risk due to fatigue,” Eric Bowling, an NASM-certified personal trainer, told Runner’s World.
It should also be noted that doing cardio after weights can lead to more efficient calorie burning.
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Now, this isn’t to say that doing cardio before weights is inherently a bad decision because it is not.
“Doing light cardio such as jogging or biking can prepare the muscles for the physical work of lifting weights and can increase blood flow to the large muscle groups you’ll be using,” Sarah Merrill, M.D., says. Basically, this suggests that if cardio is your primary goal then you should begin with that in order to achieve your maximum cardio gains.
How often should you work on your cardio fitness? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity cardio workouts along with 75 minutes intensive exercise should be on your schedule, along with two strength sessions.
“Ideally, I suggest weight training three times per week, as this frequency has been shown to be an effective strategy when it comes to muscle building and fat loss,” explains Bowling. “Cardio can be done every day if it’s low-intensity; the higher the intensity, the less frequently you can perform it.”