Cardio Before or After Weight Training? | Sacred Beast

When does cardio give best results? Is it before you do weight training or after? There is much to cover in this vast topic, but let’s start with establishing an understanding of weight training and cardio exercises.

Cardio Before or After Weight Training

Weight training is a type of power/strength training where you lift weights so that your muscles can adapt to get bigger and stronger. On the other hand, cardio training, also known as aerobic training, is a set of activities that raises your heart rate and keep it that way for a period of time in order to burn fats and calories. Some examples of the cardio activities are Jogging, Swimming, cycling, etc. As widely believed, cardio exercises aren’t just for weight loss, but also for a lot of other beneficial factors. We’ll discuss that shortly, but first, let’s explore the relation between cardio and weight training.

Essentially, weight training builds your muscles, whereas cardiovascular training makes your heart and lungs strong. The relation between them is logical. With a good cardiovascular system, you will be able to prevent that fatigue in between weight training sets. In addition to enhancing performance and endurance, doing regular cardio will benefit your circulatory system, that in turn will help your muscles recover faster because the blood and oxygen will reach it more efficiently. On the other hand, doing weight training will give you a power boost during cardio exercises. Both Weight training and Cardio compliment each other.

Importance of Weight Training

Weight training is also known as strength training or resistance training. It is known that with age humans tend to get weak and fragile. Studies show that by the age of 30, our muscles start to lose mass.

  1. Weight training helps us to retain our muscle mass and strength during these years.
  1. Our body learns to combat weakness, fragility, and increases bone density if we do regular weight training.
  1. A good workout routine can prevent osteoporosis and diabetes.
  1. Human body utilises insulin way better when we do weight training. It is because it uses the glucose in our body to build muscle mass and muscle strength. This also results in lower blood sugar levels.
  1. For people with diabetes, it is recommended to do weight training at least twice a week along with aerobic exercises.

Myths and Facts about Weight training

It’s 2022, and there are still some intense myths lurking around about weight training. It is a good practice to acknowledge them and educate yourself with the correct facts.

Myth#1 Weight Training will result in Bulky physique

Only if it was that easy. It is a myth, and the fact is that it takes years to get bulky, and will only ever happen if you have a diet and workout for a bulky physique. Women often don’t start their fitness journey because of this myth.

Myth#2 Weight Training is bad for the joints

This is a myth. The fact is that weight training helps in strengthening the bones and joints.

Myth#3 Weight Training makes the body rigid and less flexible.

This myth might have originated by the way a buff, gym going person looks. This is a myth, and the fact is that weight lifting can help you increase strength and be flexible at the same time. The key is to use a full range of motion while lifting the weights.

Myth#4 Weight Training increases your blood pressure.

Weight training puts an immense pressure on our circulatory system. The pressure makes the blood pressure go up. Due to this the blood flow to our muscles during weight lifting is temporarily cut, so it depends on anaerobic energy. So in some sense, blood pressure goes up during weight training. However, it is temporary and in the long run it lowers blood pressure and keeps the heart healthy.

Myth#5 If weight training is stopped, it converts your muscles into fat.

Muscles and fats are two very different things, and stopping weight training has different effects on both. While muscle loss is observed, you can see fats settling in places such as belly and face once weight training is stopped and wrong eating habits make home.



What is cardio?

Cardio or Cardiovascular training also known as aerobic training are any type of rhythmic movements such as walking, swimming, cycling, etc. that increase your heart rate for the duration of the exercise. Cardio is different from strength/weight training because of its ability to use oxygen during the exercise. That is why it is called aerobic training, literally meaning body’s energy production “via air”. Any exercise in a steady state form that lasts more than 2 minutes can be considered as aerobic exercise. Even household activities such as mopping is a type of aerobic exercise. Conversely, anaerobic means the body’s capability to produce energy “without air/oxygen”. 

Why is cardio training important?

Cardio training can be done either in a high-intensity style or a low-intensity style. The good thing about cardio is that it is exercise that doesn’t take much time. Although, timing can vary depending on the intensity and the person’s endurance. Nonetheless, cardio is very important and here’s why:

  1. It helps in weight loss because it can burn fats and calories
  2. It improves sleep quality, and is proven to cure many sleep related disorders.
  3. It increases lung capacity which means that you can hold more oxygen in your lungs
  4. It greatly improves mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, etc.
  5. It reduces the risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. by strengthening the heart and circulatory system.
  6. It improves bone density with its high intensity form like rock climbing.

How many cardio sessions are required in a month?

The amount of cardio sessions to do in a month will vary from person to person depending on his/her fitness level, fitness goals, diet, schedule, etc. Furthermore, the intensity of cardio training is also important while calculating the frequency of your sessions.

The frequency of the cardio sessions comes down to your lifestyle. If you are new to the fitness lifestyle, don’t have much time, and just want to be healthy then doing cardio a little bit every day will give results. However, if you are a gym going advanced muscle builder, then limiting cardio to 3 to 4 times a week with moderate intensity is recommended. High-intensity cardio sessions are not to be done daily because it can have adverse side effects like fatigue. While doing high-intensity cardio sessions make sure to take alternate rest days.

Overall, for maintaining good health a 20 minute low to moderate intensity cardio session can be done for 5 days a week which is 20 times a month. On the other hand, for weight loss, a 30-40 minute moderate to high intensity session can be done 12 times a month.

Difference between Cardio Sessions Pre-Weight Training and Post-Weight Training?

What is the ideal placement of cardio exercises during your workout routine? What happens if you do cardio before doing weight training, and what happens if you do it after weight training? Let’s find out.

Pre-Weight Cardio training

A 30 minute Cardio workout is known to burn more calories compared to weight training. So, doing cardio before weight training can help you burn those calories first. It also brings your heart rate up in the zone where it steadily increases. Therefore, moving to weight training with that heart rate can benefit in losing more of those calories. If your goal is to build endurance then doing cardio first makes sense because doing weight training first will tire you out, especially if you are lifting heavy. Cardio needs to be done for a set amount of time to reap its full benefits, and therefore making it secondary will only tamper with the amount of time you need to do it.

Post-Weight Cardio training

If your goal is to increase muscle strength then doing weight training first is recommended. You might tire yourself out if you do cardio first. Muscles need energy to complete those reps, and you won’t be able to do any weight lifting properly if you lose energy on cardio. Doing cardio post-weight training also helps in losing fats. It is because your muscles use all the glucose/carbs as fuel while doing weight training, and when you move on to cardio, your body then uses fats as the source of energy.

In the end, it all depends on your goals. Doing cardio pre-weight training will build your endurance, increase your heart rate and blood flow to the muscles. Whereas, doing cardio post-weight training is beneficial for muscle strength and fat loss. Typically, most fitness enthusiasts recommend doing cardio post-weight training because of its positive effect on muscles and fat loss. However, a low-intensity cardio can also be done before weight training to warm up the body.