Should You Begin Your Workout with Cardio or Strength Training

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Fitness, fitness classes, Motivation, Weight loss
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Most of us hit the gym and hop on the treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical before we start our weight training segment of our fitness routine. However, is this helping or hurting our attempts to achieve those noticeable and fast results? We all want to reach our fitness goals as soon as possible. Therefore, we all know nothing can be more frustrating than putting in all your time and effort and still feeling as if you are coming up empty, and it can come down to something as little as what order we do our workout sessions.


Glucose versus fat

The truth is that you should start your fitness routine with weight training in order to get the best fat burning results. Your body only has so much glucose stored. There is about 80 calories worth of glucose in the bloodstream and approximately 300 to 400 calories in the liver. This gives you about 380 to 480 calories of easy-access energy to burn in your body. For the first ten to fifteen minutes of your workout you are burning straight glucose, no matter how you chose to start. When you use up all your glucose reserves, your body then has to use excess fat to fuel your workout. However, fat is harder to burn than glucose, which means your body has less energy.

How it affects your workout

Cardio first routine

You like many others decide to start your fitness routine with cardio. So, you hop on the treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical for the first 30 minutes or so and then move on to the weight lifting portion of your fitness routine. Did you know that you just burned up most of your glucose while you were on the treadmill or elliptical. You would have started to turn to your fat reserves during your run, but your body would more slowly burn this energy. By the time you get to your weightlifting routine, you would most likely run out of energy rather quickly.

Weight training first routine

Now look at how your routine would differ if we started with our weight training first. After the first thirty minutes or so of some intense weight lifting we could burn around 500 calories, which would be more than our stored glucose. This means by the end of our training we would already be switching over to burning fat. So, when you start the cardio section of your fitness routine you will be burning almost solely fat. This gives you the chance to some intense fat burning exercising because there is no glucose left for your body to use.

The only time you should consider doing cardio first in your fitness routine is during the warm up. You should never skip this section of your fitness routine, and it is good to get your heart pumping before you jump into any form of exercising. Most experts recommend at least five to ten minutes of some type of cardio in your warm up. Once your muscles are warmed up and ready to go you should jump right in to your weight training and then hit the cardio machines to get the best and fastest results.

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