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Cardio vs. Weight Training: Which Comes First?

Whether you’re on a journey to be healthier or already exercise regularly, you’re probably aware of two very important aspects of fitness: cardio and weight training. While these two forms of exercise are equally as important, they can often confuse new fitness goers as they are beneficial for very different things.

In this blog, we’ll try to break down the confusion behind cardio and strength training, while also giving you helpful tips on when to perform each activity!

For even more guidance and personalized help with your fitness, book a goal session with a certified personal trainer who can help give you customized tips that match your unique fitness level.

Cardio vs. Strength Training

As we mentioned, cardio and strength training are two equally important parts of an overall healthy fitness routine. Both work different areas of the body and promote longevity, healthy bones, a healthy heart, and so on.

But, which is better? And how often should you do both?

Let’s break down the great cardio vs. strength training divide.

What is Cardio?

Cardio is a type of aerobic exercise that includes running, cycling, swimming, and walking – really any exercise that raises your heart rate and heavily relies on your ability to utilize oxygen. Cardio is great for improving your circulation, respiratory system, and help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

While cardio has many benefits, it shouldn’t be done to the extreme. On average, you should aim to engage in about 150 minutes of weekly cardio exercise in order to stay at a healthy weight and fitness level.

What is Strength Training?

Strength training is designed to strengthen your muscles and bones with a series of exercises that can be done with your own bodyweight or with additional equipment. For women especially, strength training is an important fitness activity that can slow the signs of osteoporosis which is more likely due to calcium depletion as women age.

As well as with cardio, strength training should not be done in abundance as it can lead to muscle damage or injury. It is recommended to incorporate 2-3 strength training sessions per week to reap the benefits of this beloved activity.

Which Comes First?

When developing a fitness routine, a question that comes up frequently is, “which comes first, cardio or strength training?” and, well, the answer might just surprise you.

The truth is, there is no “correct way.” Your individual goal will determine which exercise you’ll want to accomplish first in order to reap the most benefits.

For example, if you’re looking to improve your endurance, you’ll want to start with cardio as you’ll have the most energy at the beginning of your workout. If you start with strength training, you’ll probably have less energy by the time you finish your first workout and therefore, you’ll get less out of your cardio workout.

Same goes with strength training; if you’re looking to build muscle in your arms, starting with cardio will only mean that you have less energy to really put into your arm workout.

Now, let’s say your goal is to just develop a workout routine – which should you begin with then? And, the answer to that is whatever one you like the least. Since you have the most energy at the beginning of a workout, you should put it towards the workout you like the least so that you have the motivation to get to your favourite.  

For example, if you love running, but tolerate strength training, start with an upper body session in the beginning so that you can get it out of the way and end your workout doing something you enjoy.

Find Your Perfect Workout at Fitness World

Find both cardio and strength training exercises that you love at Fitness World. We have a variety of fitness features including over 700+ fitness classes, THE WORX small group training, HydroMassage chairs, and more that will get you to where you want to be.

Join today or sign up for a 3-day free pass and try out Fitness World for yourself!