Should I start my workout with weights or cardio?

I started my workouts with cardio for years. It was just the natural thing to do: go straight to the treadmill or bike or elliptical.

But when I wasn’t seeing results after one month of working out, I went and spoke to a trainer. The first thing she asked was, “do you start your workout with cardio or strength training?”

She asked me what my goals were. I told her I want to slim down and shape up. I wanted to lose fat and gain muscle.

And that’s when she told me I may be working out in the wrong order. She explained that when you start your workout with weights, by the time you get to the treadmill your anaerobic energy systems will already be exhausted. That means your body will have to burn fat to keep your aerobic system going strong.  Exercise Physiologist Marta Montenegro agrees.

That means if I tap out my energy with weights first then by the time I get to cardio I will not only burn more calories but I’ll burn calories after I leave the gym too.

Cardio is important. Cardio workouts not only burn fat but they also keep your cardiovascular health in optimal condition.

And weight training doesn’t mean static weights anymore if that doesn’t strike your fancy. There are options. You can opt to take a dynamic strength conditioning class, or train using your own bodyweight. You can use machine weights or free weights. But lifting something heavy will make you stronger. And that increase in muscle mass will help your bone density, posture and overall strength.

According to, doing strength training first does have an advantage if you wish to lose fat, but at the end of the day the difference is negligible. “It’s better for you to have consistency in your exercise than to worry about the two extra calories you might burn from doing weights or cardio first.”

What do you do first? Cardio or weights? What works for you? Leave a comment or question!

Stay active and smile 🙂



4 thoughts on “Should I start my workout with weights or cardio?”

  1. Weight training requires carbs to fuel your body, and protein afterwards to feed muscle rebuilding. If you do cardio after weights your body will not rebuild properly, and will actually harvest existing muscle for energy. Cardio is good for strengthening your cardiovascular system. Eating appropriately is good for controlling BF%.
    I don’t do cardio before, nor after, weight training.😊


  2. Wow, so happy I just read this article right now. I’m heading to the gym, and as usual I always jump on the treadmill first, but I am having a hard time seeing a difference in trimming down. Today and for the next few weeks I will definitely be doing my weight training first before cardio and I’m excited about that. It will change things up and hopefully give the results I want. Thanks for the advice 🙂


  3. In order to get the most out of weight training, you want to do that first. Otherwise you will already be fatigued and won’t be able to lift as heavy. Then you can do a bit of cardio after you are done with weights, or ideally on days separate from strength training.


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