What's first? Weights of Cardio?

Nov 28, 2023
These 2 different types of activity impact your muscle cells differently.

If you want to improve your endurance (run long distance, cycle long distance, walk a long distance) you should prioritise cardio. Why? Because to significantly improve your cardio you’ll need to spend a lot of time doing it and there simply not going to be as much time left to lift weights. You shouldn’t stop lifting weights though. For example, last year I trained for long distance triathlon. I went from lifting weights around 5 days a week to 2 strength workouts a week. I simply had to prioritise swimming, cycling and running. I still managed 2 full body workouts a week as they were incredibly important to help my performance and injury prevention. Plus who doesn’t want to have some good looking muscles, right?

If you want to build strength, muscle and get in great shape, you should prioritise strength training. Why? Because strength training stimulates muscle growth and is much better for energy efficiency. To achieve “shreddedness”, your body needs to use your stored fat as a fuel for exercise and life in general. In order to to do this, you need to burn off/deplete your glycogen stores first (glycogen is a form of sugar stored in muscles and liver that our body uses as a primary fuel). When you weight-train, you typically use glycogen as a fuel. By doing strength training first, you can burn the majority of your glycogen stores. Doing cardio afterwards can potentially burn more fat. Doing cardio first can also negatively affect your performance during weight training.

How much cardio should you do after strength session?

This will depend on your preferences, time available, and your goal. You can choose HIIT (high intensity interval training) or LISS (low intensity steady stake). With HIIT I recommend 1-2x a week at most, 3-10 minutes. I know it sounds like too little, but it’s plenty when done properly. Fitness industry is selling you HIIT classes that in reality are nothing like true HIIT. To try true HIIT try 5 sets of 30 sec all out sprints on airbike (but I mean all out!), followed by 2 min 30 sec rest.

For LISS I recommend 15-30 minutes after a strength session. This can be a gentle run on treadmill, rowing machine or stationary bike. You want fo keep your heartrate low, around 130. Another good way to know if you’re in the right heartrate zone is if you’re able to have a conversation. If you’re so out of breath that you can’t speak, you’re going to hard and it’s no longer LISS.

For better idea of how to structure your weight training with cardio at the end see workout of the day at the bottom of this email.

If you need help to structure your workout to make sure you’re doing the most effective exercises, in the most efficient way possible. Do not hesitate to reach out.

Workout of the day:

Here’s an example of full body strength training workout for increasing strenfth, lean muscle and body shape. Followed by hih intensity cardio. Give it a go!

Strength 1:
3 sets
12 Kettlebell/dumbbell deadlift
12 Push up
-rest 2 min

Strength 2:
3 sets
20 Goblet reverse lunges
12 Single arm dumbbell/kettlebell row each arm
-rest 2 min

5 sets
30 sec shuttle run/sprints 2 min 30 sec rest
-put objects 5 meters away from each other, do as many shuttle runs as you can in 30 seconds

*Use challenging weights for each exercise. 

Happy to help.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me with your questions or suggestions. Contact details below.