This is something that I have often struggled with. I perform weight lifting and cardio 5-6 times per week. I love weight lifting, but being that I am a college basketball player, performing cardio is just as important if not more important than weight lifting. The optimal answer to the question of the best time to do cardio and lift weights is an easy one. The answer is neither. If you have the time, try to perform your cardio in the morning and then lift weights late at night or vice versa. This allows for optimal rest so that you can exert 100% energy and effort into both doing cardio and weight lifting. However, this is not ideal for most people.
Is the best time to do cardio before weight lifting?
– A great benefit of doing cardio before lifting weights is that cardio warms up the muscles. Working out with loose and warm muscles is a great way to prevent injury and save time, as you will not have to perform as many warmup sets. I personally believe that doing your cardio before weight lifting is great if your goal is to lose some weight and get in shape. However, if your goal is to increase your strength, build size, and become a bodybuilder, then performing cardio before lifting is not a good option. If you are overweight or are a beginner, performing a light jog or brisk walking is most likely all you will be able to do and thus, the cardio will not interfere with weight lifting routine. However, if you are an advanced athlete, to get a good cardio workout, you will most likely need to push yourself extremely hard to elevate and keep your heart rate up. This will take a lot out of you and will most likely exhaust you. Your weight lifting workout will be mediocre at best and you will not be optimizing your time wisely. So in summary, if your goal is to just lose weight and not gain too much muscle mass, then performing cardio before weight lifting is a good option, but if your goal is to put on mass and gain strength, I suggest finding a different time to do your cardio.
- I personally find doing cardio after weight lifting a much better option that weight lifting after cardio. I am able to give it my all during my workout, but still have enough energy to get a solid cardio workout in. Although it is ideal to perform cardio and weight lifting at separate parts of the day, this is a great option for those who don’t feel like making two trips to the gym. I would highly recommend bringing some kind of small meal to eat after your weight lifting workout before your cardio exercise. I personally like to drink a protein shake after my weight lifting workout, but for many of you, that may be too heavy to consume before you do cardio. Try something light such as an apple or a fruit and nut bar to give yourself some energy before you start exercising again. If you would rather not have a protein shake before you do cardio, make sure to bring some kind of protein/carb source for after your cardio. I recommend something with the ratio of about 2:1 carbs to protein ratio. About 20-30 grams of protein and 40-60 g of carbs should be plenty. Protein is the fuel for your muscles to build and recover while the carbs are great for replenishing your glycogen stores. When you’re weight lifting, your glycogen stores will deplete over time as you use up more and more energy. Make sure you restore these energy stores by consuming carbohydrates. Examples of post workout meals can range from a protein shake to a banana and a piece of chicken. Find a post workout meal that suits you best and feel free to switch it up to add some variety but always make sure to be consuming a good source of carbs and protein after every meal. Meal timing is very important and I would not recommend going through your whole weight lifting and cardio workouts without eating anything.
Well there you have it. In summary, ideally, the best time to do cardio and weight lifting is at separate times but that often times is not ideal. If gaining muscle is a priority, lift before cardio, and if your priority is to simply lose weight and get in shape, do cardio before weight lifting. And make sure to have proper nutrition! If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask!