Shawn Arent, the director of the Center for Health and Human Performance at Rutgers University and an American College of Sports Medicine Fellow, talks about whether you should do cardio before or after lifting and how it affects your workout.
The following is a transcript:
Cardio before or after weights, which one’s better?
Well ideally you would actually separate the two if you were gonna do both in the same day. So for example, we know that there’s some research that suggests that doing cardio in the morning and then your resistance training in the afternoon may produce the best results.
Now, if you do have to do them in the same session, which one’s better? The best bet would be to do your resistance training first and your cardiovascular exercise second. One of the main reasons is because of the types of fuels you can use. Do the resistance training while you’re fresh, you have more muscle glycogen. And then do aerobic exercise after where you can rely a little bit more on fat for fuel in order to do it.
When all is said and done, it probably doesn’t matter a lot, and we’ve even done a study in our lab where we actually show that before or after weights with a previously untrained population didn’t make a big difference. So if you had to pick, best bet would be to do them separately. But if you have to put them in the same session, ideally put the resistance training first and the aerobic second. Unless you just don’t want to, in which case it’s not going to make a big difference.