Cardio or Weights First for Exercising?

It’s no secret that exercising is great for both our physical and mental health. Even if you hate it, training will surely leave you feeling better. It’s the magic of the endorphins.
One question that you may wonder when you hit the gym is, do you start with cardio or weights first for exercising? Does starting with one first produce better results?

Cardio or Weights First?

There hasn’t been any solid research that states that it’s better to start your workout with one or the other. It all boils down to your goals for your fitness journey.
Some people have certain fitness goals, whereas others work out just to stay in shape and get a good endorphins rush.
To figure out whether you should start with cardio or weights, you must set your goals first. Ask yourself whether you want to enhance your strength and grow your muscles, or do you want to improve your endurance and focus on cardio?
Keep in mind that both goals will require you to do both cardio and weight exercises. The main difference will be in the patterns through which you go about your workout.

Starting Your Workout With Weights

If the goal is to build muscles and boost strength, then lifting weights would be the better start. If you start your workout with cardio, your muscles will be worn out and tired by the time you begin weight training.
The less exhausted you are, the more counts your muscles will be able to handle and the better your workout will be.
It’s also important to note that, unlike what most people think, weight training doesn’t just help with increasing muscle mass; it also helps with weight loss and fat burning.

Starting Your Workout With Cardio

If the goal is to improve your endurance and burn a lot of calories, starting with cardio is the way to go. However, keep in mind that doing insane cardio for long periods of time isn’t really the key to burning more calories.
You should warm up first, start at a slow pace, and steadily increase the workout’s intensity so that your heart rate will rise at a steady level.

Can You Do High-Intensity Weights and Cardio Training on the Same Day?

While you can mix the two together at varying ratios, it’s not advised to do both weight and cardio training at a high intensity on the same day.
You can start with cardio and then finish up with a bit of weight training to allow for what’s known as the afterburn. Alternatively, you can start with weights and finish off with a bit of cardio to get an endorphins rush.
If you want to do both at full potential, it’s advised to keep them on separate days. Keep in mind that body recovery is important as well, so don’t get caught up with weight and cardio training on a loop. Instead, assign some days for stretching and yoga.
Stretching will improve your flexibility and will allow your muscles to recover from all the intense training you’ve been doing.
You’ll also notice that your performance will be a lot sharper and better each time you return to high-intensity workouts after you let your muscles recover.

What Are the Benefits of Cardio Training?

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of cardio training.

Improves Sleeping

Cardio training is fast-paced, increases your heart rate, and wears out your muscles. As a result, it forces your muscles and body to relax after finishing the workout.
The relaxed state your muscles are in when they’re recovering from training helps you sleep better and deeper.

Improves Mental Health

Ever thought about why we feel better after working out? Or why when we're facing a problem, we become less stressed after working up a good sweat?
It’s because cardio workouts cause the blood to release endorphins. They’re hormones that, when produced, reduce the feeling of pain and trigger happy and positive thoughts in the mind.

Maintains Immune System

Aside from calorie-burning, cardio training helps in maintaining the shape of your blood cells. It also helps maintain a healthy amount of a kind of protein called cytokines.
Cytokines are one of many factors that are essential to help keep a strong and healthy immune system.

What Are the Benefits of Weight Training?

Now that we’ve taken a look at cardio training benefits, let’s take a look at the benefits of weight training.

Prevents Injury

Weight and resistance training can help reduce injury risk because it helps increase your balance and helps you have stronger, more stable footing.
It also helps strengthen your tendons, which helps in maintaining strong support for your bones and body.
Keep in mind that the right stance and form are crucial during weight lifting, so always have a professional around to guide you.

Burns Body Fat

Cardio isn’t the only method to burn calories and fats. When your muscles become stronger through weight lifting, your body gets accustomed to burning fat more effectively.
The reason behind that is that the muscle tissue created from the training helps burn more calories and increases your overall metabolism.

Gives Your Body a Leaner Look

As mentioned before, weight training helps in fat burning and increases muscle mass. This causes your body to look more toned and lean.
As you lose fat and build more muscle, you’ll notice that the muscle looks more held together and lean than fat.
You might even notice that your body looks leaner and slimmer even though you haven’t lost any weight. But don’t worry; that only means you’ve lost fats and gained muscle mass instead.


To sum things up, there’s no right way to start your workout. It all depends on what you’re aiming for.
If you’re just aiming to stay healthy and in shape, you can let your mood decide for you and start with whichever you prefer.
If you’re looking for a good calorie burn and an endorphins rush, then start your workout with cardio.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to increase muscle mass and strength, then starting with weights would be the better option.
Either way, make sure to always keep a coach in the loop with you to avoid overdoing things and avoid injury.