Cardio or Weights First For Weight Loss? UPDATED 2022
If you have recently started your journey of losing weight, you may be wondering which should come first, cardio or weights.
Both have been proven to be effective in building muscle and burning fat. However, should you do cardio or weights first for weight loss?
The studies show benefits to both. However, we don’t always have the time to fit in two forms of exercise. So if you are beginning an exercise regime and wondering which is best to start, keep reading. Because in this article, we help you decide whether you should do cardio or weights first for quicker weight loss. So, keep reading to learn more.
Cardio or Weights First – What Should You Know?
Cardio or weights first? This is a conversation often debated between endurance coaches and personal trainers. Both forms of exercise help improve overall fitness and decrease weight. So, what should you know?
When it comes to choosing weight training over cardio, there is a slight difference. A cardio workout typically burns more calories than doing weight training. Time is the culprit, as you spend more time at an elevated heart rate. You also use more muscles during a workout.
However, weight training helps your metabolism stay elevated for a longer time. This generally means you will end up burning more calories after lifting weights than heading out for a run or bike. But, it all depends on how much time you spend lifting weights and how many muscle groups you focus on.
Runners, for example, are known to lose more weight than people that lift weights. This is because of the amount of time spent exercising. Often runners can spend up to 1 hour a day (or even more running). However, if you are a beginner, you are more likely to run anywhere from 3-5km a day. Meaning the beginner may benefit more from weight training than running.
However, as they increase their mileage and become more consistent, running will allow them to lose weight much quicker in the long run.
While you may be thinking you should drop weight training altogether and just focus on cardio to lose weight. Mixing both weight training and cardio will give you the best results.
Adding weight training together with cardio will not only help you lose more weight. It will also give you some variation and help strengthen your muscles and joints in the long term.
So for people that have more time to dedicate to exercise, mixing both weight training and cardio is the best way to lose weight.
Cardio Vs Weight Training For Belly Fat
Many studies have shown that cardio exercise can specifically help reduce visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat around the stomach most people want to lose. This is one of the biggest reasonäs why people start a weight loss program.
While it is clear that weight training is better at increasing your metabolism throughout the day, if you want to target your waistline more, cardio is the preferred option. This comes down to the calories burned during a session. Often cardio workouts are much longer than a weight training session, thus burning more energy in the process.
Cardio and Strength Training Same Day
If you have time to do both cardio and strength training on the same day, should you perform cardio or weights first for weight loss?
Deciding which one to do is relatively easy. It comes down to your goal of the session or day. That means if you have a hard leg workout in the gym, do your weight training session first. Then later in the day add some light cardio to increase fat burning. Alternatively, if you have planned for a longer run, reduce the intensity of the weight training session.
Trying to do cardio and weight training on the same day can often result in fatigue and sometimes injury. So, it is important you combine the two properly. This allows adequate recovery and prevents overreaching.
Cardio or Weights First For Weight Loss
So now you know that weight training increases your metabolism more than cardio. So, should you do cardio or weights first for weight loss?
If you are new to exercising, start with doing weight training first. This will be much easier on your cardiovascular system and help strengthen your muscles later when you introduce cardio into your routine.
Doing so can also help prevent overtraining in the early stages as many people starting out cycling or running end up doing too much during the first few months. This often results in injury, and then loss of motivation.
However, when lifting weights for the first time it is wise to have a personal trainer look over your form. Lifting weights with the wrong technique can cause injury and may not target the muscle you are trying to work. If you don’t have a personal trainer around, or someone that can guide you, spend the first few months using the weight machines rather than free weights. This will help you keep better form and control.
Whether you start cardio or weights first in your weight loss journey, remember to build up the volume and intensity slowly. That means starting out with lower weights and easier exercises, or by walking and running.
Whatever you decide to do (cardio or weights first) if done right you will see a consistent drop in weight and belly fat. However, if you start to plateau, look for a personal training or sports coach that can help set you in the right direction.