The Right Time for Cardio

When is the right time for you to do your cardio???

I had a conversation with a client this morning about whether or not it is better to do your cardio before you lift weights, or to lift weights and do your cardio work second.  To be completely honest with you all – and I told her the same thing – this question could get 10 different answers from 10 different people.  Some people are going to throw all of the research at you that they can find, not only to give you a “science-backed” answer, but to also appear smarter than they are.  Some people, on the other hand, will have no clue and make something up.  For most people asking this question, though, they don’t want a complicated, or bull-shitted, answer.  And to be honest, there isn’t a need for one.  The answer is really very simple.

It all boils down to one simple question:  What are your goals?  Are you wanting to primarily increase your cardiovascular endurance, and using resistance training as another avenue to help you along the way?  Or is your primary goal to gain strength, and use cardio to help reduce body fat and lean up a bit?  Are you training for a half marathon or a weightlifting competition???

The answer to my first question will lie in the answer to my second question.  Simple put, your primary goal should take priority in your workouts.  If you are training for an endurance event, do your cardio FIRST.  If you want to gain strength and muscle, do your cardio LAST.  The reasoning for this is that, obviously, whatever your main focus, you want to be fresh for that.  If you’re training for a half-marathon, you do not want to go into your cardio workout already drained and feeling sluggish from an intense resistance training workout.  On the other hand, if you want to get as strong as you can, you want to use all of your body’s fuel toward lifting heavy things, not cardio.

It really is as simple as that.  Don’t let some big shot in the gym try to impress you with “research” that he got online somewhere.  Don’t let somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about BS you into doing something that won’t help you out any…. All you need to do is this: Figure out what your PRIMARY goal is, and make that your priority during your training.

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