Cardio Before or After Strength Training?

Most people work out without really understanding the way their bodies work, so they spend years working hard just to see the kind of progress they could see in months if they were to do it the right way.

One of the big mistakes that many people make at the gym is running BEFORE they lift weights. Most people think, “Well, I’m going to get my cardio out of the way, and I’ll be pumped when it’s time to hit the weights.” However, sadly, the reverse is true.

When you run first, you use up all of the energy that your body has available to your muscles – energy stored in the form of glucose. This glucose is flowing around your bloodstream and sitting in your liver, ready to be activated when you do your exercise.

So, you mount up on the treadmill, and you get running. You spend 20 to 30 minutes running, and you’re nice and tired by the time you’re done. But, when you get to the weightlifting part of your workout, your muscles begin to complain very quickly. You walk out of the gym after completing a portion of your workout, and not really giving it your all.


The only running or cardio that you should do before your workout is a light warm up. Run for no more than 10 minutes, and keep it nice and slow. Make sure that you spend all of your time just getting your heart rate up, and don’t push yourself too hard. Avoid doing this, because you only have a limited amount of glucose available.

That’s right, you’re going to run out of energy if you run first. Your body can store anywhere between 380 and 480 calories’ worth of glucose in your liver and bloodstream. When you run for half an hour at a good speed, you burn up all or most of that energy. As soon as the energy is gone, your body turns to fat – great for weight loss.

However, your muscles can’t really use the fat – what they really need is the glucose. If you’re doing a strength training workout, the muscles are going to fatigue more quickly simply because there is no glucose available. Glucose is the form of energy that your muscles use for energy, and they cannot use the fat that you are burning. They need glucose, or else they’ll fatigue.

This is why it’s so important to hit the weights first, before you run. You’ll start using up all of the glucose that is stored in your liver and bloodstream, and only once that glucose is burned up will your body turn to the stored fat. By the time your body begins to burn fat, you’ll be nearing the end of your strength training routine. You’ll notice that the muscles begin to tire, but that’s to be expected from a tough workout.

Then, once you hit the treadmill, it’s concentrated fat burning. Your body has used up all of the glucose it has stored, and now it can only burn fat to produce the energy needed to fuel your run. You’ll find that your cardio session is much more effective, as the calories being burned are all fat calories. It will yield much better results in terms of weight loss, and you’ll actually shred fat instead of just burning away the glucose in your body. If you’re serious about losing weight, this is how you should approach your workouts. It will ensure that you burn off all that fat with far less effort, and you can keep your cardio sessions at a much lower intensity thanks to the fact that you’re only burning fat!

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