One of the greatest (and most certainly the longest) debates in the fitness world is – what should you do first – cardio or strength training? The interesting thing is that, as the experts have proven long time ago, there is no need for this debate at all. The reason is simple – lots of researches have shown that if you want to be a better runner, you will have to incorporate strength training in your routine or if you want to build a fit and lean body, you still have to add some strength training and not just cardio.
The problem is that if you don’t have enough time, you have to choose between these two types of training, which does not give you results you could possibly get. Because of that, experts conducted a few researches and come up with interesting results – those researches have shown that the best idea is to do both strength and cardio in one training session and that the first thing you should do is strength training.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has recently published a research that have put three different workout tactics to the test: cycling then strength, running then strength and strength training alone. The results have shown that people who have done only strength training did more weight lifting reps than those who had cardio before. Because of that, most of the people actually feel stronger when they do strength training before cardio. The reason for this is fairly easy to understand – when we do cardio first, fibers in our muscles fatigue before doing any of the weight lifting exercises, which leads to less reps and feeling that we are tired or exhausted. One expert claimed that you will be stronger if you always do strength training first and then cardio, but there are no researches that have shown that you will be stronger if you do strength training first or weaker if you do cardio first.
If you are at the beginning of your fitness journey and you are focused only on losing weight and not so much on gaining strength, most of the people will tell you that you should do only cardio. However, the same researches we mentioned before have shown that in this case you should also combine both cardio and strength training. First of all, doing both of these exercises can significantly decrease the amount of body fat you have, more than any of these two trainings alone. Furthermore, doing strength workouts builds muscle, which raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more fat in less time.
The same research, however, shown that doing only strength workouts won’t help you too much lose weight and there is a reason for that: when you build muscle, you get heavier and this is why people who start with strength training don’t see results on the scale.
One of the things you should always remember is that cardio changes your size and strength training changes your shape.