fat lossNutritionresistance training

Cardio or Weights- Which One Goes First?

women doing cardio workout with weights

Whilst there are many types of training, they generally fall into two categories: cardio or weights (resistance). However, there have always been misconceptions around which one to do first. Of course, the best results in the gym come through combining the two in a tailored and balanced program, but knowing where to start, and the reasons why can make all the difference to your results! 

Year 9 Gym Class Don’t Fail Me Now! 

For our bodies to generate any sort of movement, we require a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Our body breaks this down, which releases usable energy to our muscles and tissues. This provides us with the short term, explosive energy that activities like lifting weights, jumping and running require.

Our ATP stores deplete quickly, as only a small amount of this energy can be stored. But with every movement of the body requiring ATP, we have developed the ability to synthesize more on-demand. We can improve our body’s ability to create more energy, more efficiently, by incorporating a range of training and exercise types into our regime.

Improving your health and fitness isn’t just about being able to go for longer, it’s about helping your body to create energy, naturally, which helps us power through our day.

Why Does This Matter? Is it Cardio or Weights First?

When your body requires energy, it uses our ATP stores. Although we can synthesise more, this is still a limited process, and with enough exercise, we can completely deplete our supply of ATP. 

When you choose to hit the stair climber before lifting weights, you are actually robbing your body of the energy it will need later. Not only will this put more strain on your joints, but it can also become dangerous if you don’t recognize the signs of fatigue. 

Verdict: cardio after weights training for the best results, and session in the gym!

Whilst there are different reasons for cardio or weights training, most wholistic programs will have a combination of both. Combining a range of resistance and weights exercises with high-intensity cardio will give you the most impactful results, and the biggest boost in energy overall, in the shortest amount of time. 

Weights Before Cardio Can Help You Burn Fat

Another good reason to lift weights before cardio is for the added fat boosting power. Did you know that increasing your muscle mass can actually help your body to burn more fat while resting?

“When we are resting, one pound of muscle will burn around three times as much energy compared to fat, just to maintain itself. A lot of those calories come from the body’s fat stores, and so it stands to reason that the more muscle you have, the more fat burning your body will do in a resting state!”
Dieting Without Strength Training is Pointless 

So we know that lifting weights can actually help your body to burn fat, purely on a metabolic level. But knowing what we now do about adenosine triphosphate (ATP), we can start to understand a bit more of the why. 

When we lift weights before doing cardio, our muscles are full of ATP and ready for movement. In performing the exercise, more ATP is sent to the muscles that need it most- your biceps for each curl, or your glutes to help push you up in a squat. 

This extra ATP is stored in the liver, and is replenished by- you guessed it- breaking down our fat stores. This is why we recommend doing most of your cardio after lifting weights. 

Weights Then Cardio It Is!

Not only do you get to build muscle mass with the most available energy, but by the time it comes to cardio sessions your body has already depleted a lot of these ATP stores. In order to supply you with enough energy to finish that run, it has to learn how to more quickly and efficiently break down fat cells.

The right training regime can help you to reduce fat stored in your body, and help it to more efficiently convert our fat stores into energy.

That’s why we recommend resistance training as part of any balanced workout routine.

But it doesn’t have to be scary. If you’re not sure how to get started the Turnfit family can help! We offer obligation free health assessments to get your journey started. Then, if you would like more information about any of our services, including individual and group personal training in Vancouver, online personal training, nutrition advice and more, get in touch with us.

We look forward to getting you moving!


About Turnfit Personal Trainers

Turnfit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day.

With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the 2019 Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver.

Every trainer at Turnfit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life.

For more information, please visit Turnfit.ca, join our community on Facebook and take advantage of all of our FREE content by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-David Turnbull

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