The Cardio Debate – When To Do Cardio, Before or After?

Some people say you should do cardio before your workout, others say you should do it after. Everyone has their opinion, but I’m here to settle this debate once and for all.

The answer to this question is, IT DEPENDS.

It depends on your goals. Read on to see how you should be incorporating cardio into your workout to maximize effectiveness in helping you reach your goal.

Cardio Before Weights

If your ultimate goal is to simply improve your cardio performance or to prepare for a cardio intensive event such as a marathon, then doing cardio before weights is the best option for you. This ensures you are exerting more effort in building cardiovascular endurance as you’re not tiring yourself out by doing weight training first. Besides running, if you like to partake in other recreational sports like biking, swimming and rowing, building up cardiovascular endurance is crucial for your performance.

Cardio After Weights

Doing cardio after weights is the best option for those who are looking to reduce body fat percentage and want to simply put, look great naked! It’s also great for those who wish to work on strength conditioning, as it allows you to focus on exerting maximum effort with your weight training, without being pre-fatigued from doing cardio first.

Mixing it Up

If you are not actively pursing aggressive strength or endurance goals, then this may be the best option for you. One day you can do cardio before weights, and vice versa the next. Aside from not getting bored by doing the same thing over and over again, an additional benefit is that your body won’t plateau easily as it won’t get too familiar with any particular workout format.

Alternate Days

Doing cardio and weights on alternate days is a great option if you are strapped for time or if your workouts are becoming too long when combining cardio and weights on the same day. It’s also a great option for those who workout 5-7 days a week, as doing both on the same day can get tough on your body. Alternating days allows you to avoid plateauing, as well as offer your body ample rest between workouts.


This post was contributed by Ryan Couri, strength, conditioning and fat loss coach and Head Coach of Instinctive Performance. He is a Martial Artist, Movement Explorer and Master Trainer for Fitness Kickboxing Canada. Instinctive Performance specializes in Small Group Personal Training, both online and offline, for women who are looking to get stronger, fitter and feel more confident.

One Comment on “The Cardio Debate – When To Do Cardio, Before or After?

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