Should I Do Cardio Before or After Weights?

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One of the most common questions I get is, “Should I do cardio before or after weights?”

While the long answer is “it depends”, most people will be better off completing cardio after weights whether their primary goal is muscle gain, strength gain, or fat loss.

Here are 7 reasons why you should consider doing cardio after weights:

Cardio After Weights Reason #1) Increased Energy For Lifting Weights

During exercise, the body uses stored energy in our muscles called glycogen. If glycogen levels are low, it affects our energy levels for workouts. For example, if you’ve ever gone on a low carb diet and experienced less energy during workouts, then you know what it feels like to have low glycogen levels. The same phenomenon happens if you do cardio before strength training – you use up your body’s preferred energy source for intense exercise. If you use up that energy, it won’t be available when you need to lift heavy weights, making a goal of building muscle, increasing strength, or maximizing calorie burn through weight lifting compromised.

Cardio After Weights Reason #2) Favorable Changes in Blood PH

Completing cardio can make your blood more acidic. As you exercise, energy gets broken down and utilized to make lactic acid. Although lactic acid helps to replenish your fuel sources for continued exercise, it does so by creating excessive hydrogen ions. These hydrogen ions need to be buffered, which your body handles at an ineffective rate, lowering your pH (which makes your blood plasma more acidic). This acidic environment causes muscular fatigue and performance drops. So besides using the energy you need for heavy resistance training, doing cardio first also makes it harder for you to contract the muscles.

Cardio After Weights Reason #3) Favorable Hormonal Changes

By completing cardio first, cortisol is released without a concurrent increase in testosterone. Cortisol breaks down muscle in order to give your body the continued energy to workout. This works fine when doing cardiovascular exercises and happens extensively in long duration cardio (think marathons), but is detrimental to building muscle if there’s not a concurrent increase in testosterone. For example, when you’re strength training, cortisol levels will go up but so will testosterone levels. This hormonal shift not only allows you to have energy for the workout, but also helps to rebuild muscle after the session. Without these changes in hormonal profiles, it becomes much harder to gain muscle.

Cardio After Weights Reason #4) Clear mTOR Pathways

Another nail in the coffin for doing cardio before strength training is the inhibition of the mTOR pathways. Many people have not heard of the mTOR pathway, but in essence, this is the pathway that tells your muscles to grow. In fact, one of the biggest genetic differences between those that gain muscle easily and those that really struggle to gain muscle size is due to the differences of expression for the mTOR pathway. In other words, “genetic freaks” have easy access to this pathway, whereas “hardgainers” don’t. When you do cardio with strength training and especially before strength training, this muscle building pathway becomes inhibited, making an already difficult situation that much harder. 1

Cardio After Weights Reason #5) Greater Afterburn Effect

The workout that causes the largest afterburn effect will be the most effective for fat loss because you will
not only burn calories during your workout, but also for up to 48 hours afterwards. While the research is inconclusive (some studies show the afterburn effect to be greater with cardio before weights), an intense metabolic resistance training workout can create a very large afterburn effect and increase your cardiovascular health. A traditional bodybuilding workout on the other hand will not create a very significant afterburn effect so in that case, cardio before lifting may make sense from a fat loss perspective.

Cardio After Weights Reason #6) Exercise Feels Harder Doing Cardio First

The “perceived exertion” rates (how hard exercise feels) is higher when you do cardio before strength training – even if the results you get from both routines are the same. This simply means that if you do the same routine, but do cardio first, it will feel much harder then if you did the same exact workout by doing the strength portion first. In other words, all of those reasons listed above truly do make your workouts feel harder. The sad part is that this method is not more effective for fat loss or muscle gain than if you simply did the strength first. 2

Cardio After Weights Reason #7) Less Risk of Injury Due to Fatigue

If you try maxing out on squats after an intense cardio session, you may be mentally and physically fatigued, which increases the chance of injury. Besides needing the mental fortitude to put a heavy weight on your back after cardio, you will also need the help of a number of smaller “assistance muscles” to help with the movement. These may have become fatigued from the cardio beforehand. By tiring these stabilizer and assistance muscles before performing heavy strength training, you risk the chance of completing an exercise incorrectly or with improper form.

Why Not Combine Cardio and Weights?

If you’re truly pressed for time, you can combine strength and cardio movements. An example would be to complete two strength training exercises – think lunges and cable rows – followed by bike sprints for 30 seconds. By combining the strength and cardio portion, you are satisfying the need to create damage to the muscle, keep your heart rate high throughout the session and have more spikes to your heart rate creating a greater oxygen debt.

The Wrap Up

While there are several benefits for lifting weights before cardio, at the end of the day, the best fat loss plan is the one you will stick to and that continues to produce results. If you enjoy completing cardio first, then by all means go for it! I would caution using the “weights after cardio” approach, however, if your main goal is building muscle.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

References

  1. Nader GA. Concurrent strength and endurance training: from molecules to man. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006;38(11):1965-70.
  2. Wilson JM, Marin PJ, Rhea MR, Wilson SM, Loenneke JP, Anderson JC. Concurrent training: a meta-analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(8):2293-307.
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66 Comments on “Should I Do Cardio Before or After Weights?

  1. Walt Conklin
    November 7, 2011 #

    Interesting. I usually do cardio fist thing in the am. & lift later in the afternoon. I will try this. How much time for cardio afterward s do you suggest ?

    1. Marc Perry
      November 7, 2011 #

      @Walt Conklin – John can chime in, but in this article, John was discussing cardio immediately before, or after weightlifting, not separated out by several hours. In your case, cardio in the morning and weights later in the day makes sense. You will be able to restore glycogen levels and the hormonal issues should not be a problem.

  2. Rose
    November 7, 2011 #

    I have been doing cardio before weights for a while now because that’s the only way I really enjoy it. That being said, my main goal is to lose fat and maintain the muscle mass I already have. I lift light weights and high reps. Would you say that if I were to change up my routine now that it’s actually a routine, I might see more dramatic results? Weights first and then onto cardio?

    1. Marc Perry
      November 7, 2011 #

      @Rose – Well, from hearing your description, light weights is not going to help burn the maximum number of calories, that’s for sure. If you are in good shape, lifting “relatively” heavier weights in the 10-15 rep range could really help you out. If you like doing cardio beforehand, I would personally stick with it. With that said, I do encourage you to try a strength training workout before cardio and see how it goes. Just remember, when I say strength training, I mean lifting weights that are “heavy” for you and resting little between exercises. You should have a full sweat when you lift weights. Hopefully John can chime in.

  3. Walt Conklin
    November 7, 2011 #

    Thanks Marc, but I mis- articulated ! I should’ve of said: for how long should the cardio session be for ? ie; 20, 30, 45 mins.? Someday I’ll get this whole communication thing down !

    1. Marc Perry
      November 7, 2011 #

      @Walt Conklin – Oh, right, didn’t answer your question fully. The cardio session is completely dependent on intensity and the type of cardio. For example, you can likely get a sprint workout done in 10-15 minutes if it’s very intense with little rest between each bout of sprinting. Intervals on an elliptical for example is lower impact so you can probably do it for longer because it’s not as intense. Active recovery/steady state/cross training cardio can be done for 45 minutes. Again, it really depends on what you are looking to accomplish. One idea is to change it up and do different cardio workouts, some HIIT, some cross training, some steady state, and using different machines, or methods.

  4. Novan
    November 7, 2011 #

    i’m interesting with your note : “why not combine cardio and weight?”
    is it called a metabolic training ?
    how if we use a full body work out, for example : squat, bench press, pull ups, lunge,
    and at the end of the workout, we do “TABATA” = kettlebell swing, burpee, jumping jack (4 minutes) .
    i always do that method in my routine workout, full body workout and followed with TABATA 4 times per week and I usually use 2 or 3 exercise (thanks for your information on “metabolic training” article”)
    is it similar thing with doing cardio after weight training ?
    thank you marc

    1. Marc Perry
      November 7, 2011 #

      @Novan – Hey, new BuiltLean contributor John Leyva wrote this article and will be able to answer your comment. Thanks for your participations!

  5. John Leyva
    November 7, 2011 #

    @Rose – Marc summed up a lot of what I would suggest. Basically, if you’re using too light of a weight with the high reps, it really won’t matter which you do first. The reason for this is you’ll be utilizing many of the same energy pathways as you would with cardio, negating many of the benefits you would realize from strength training with heavier weights.

    Personally, I think you would be best served experimenting by splitting your routine in half. Half of your sessions for the week, start with strength first and a bit heavier weight (as long as your form is good). The other half, start with your cardio first and the lighter weights. Try this for 3-4 weeks. If you still don’t like the strength followed by the cardio, then revert back to the cardio followed by strength.

  6. November 8, 2011 #

    That was a great post. Everything makes perfects sense. I was also wondering about that before, and I noticed that I like doing my cardio after my strength training or together, I have more energy with this approach.

  7. John Leyva
    November 8, 2011 #

    @ Novan – Tabata training can be a form of Metabolic Resistance training. As for your other question, yes, Tabata training (20 seconds of one movement, 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes) is just an intense form of “cardio” in this instance and is best saved for after your full body routine.

  8. John Leyva
    November 8, 2011 #

    @ Tatianna – Thanks for the comment and yes you should have a bit more energy for the cardio after your strength training.

  9. Aristidis
    November 12, 2011 #

    Hi Marc

    If my goal is to gain muscle, will doing HIIT type cardio AFTER my weight training, 3 times a week, make me LOSE muscle?

    Ideally I would like to perform HIIT on my off days, but my schedule doesn’t allow it, therefore I prefer after my weights.

    Also, I was wondering, would walking on a treadmill, at a speed of 5, with an incline of 11 for 30-45 minutes be good for shedding fat but without losing muscle?

    Thanks for all your help.
    Aristidis.

    1. Marc Perry
      November 14, 2011 #

      @Aristidis – Here’s are my answers to your questions which reflect my opinion of course:

      If my goal is to gain muscle, will doing HIIT type cardio AFTER my weight training, 3 times a week, make me LOSE muscle?
      It depends on if you are eating enough food. If you are eating enough calories/protein, no amount of cardio should make you lose muscle (except extreme marathon training of course).

      Also, I was wondering, would walking on a treadmill, at a speed of 5, with an incline of 11 for 30-45 minutes be good for shedding fat but without losing muscle?
      I think it’s very important to realize if you are trying to build muscle, the primary goal is to build muscle. If you put on some fat, so be it. I would hate for you to spin your wheels and not gain any muscle because you are trying to walk a tight rope. Losing fat is “easy” compared to adding muscle. It may take a year to put on 5-10lb of muscle, but it only takes 1-2 months to lose 5-10lb of fat. I understand you want to stay lean, so instead of “shedding fat” I would say cardio can help you “minimize fat gain”. It’s very, very difficult to minimize fat gain in a muscle building program, but it can be done primarily through nailing the calorie level and protein intake, and using those big compound lifts. The cardio is A LOT less important than the aforementioned, but it can still help you minimize fat gain. Weigh yourself every monday and take you body fat every 2-4 weeks. That’s the only way you can validate your exercise/nutrition program. In addition, unless you are under 12% body fat, I would not advise on going on a muscle building program.

      Good luck!

  10. November 16, 2011 #

    Wow, this is certainly an eye opener, and it really makes so much sense you’d think it would be… well common sense! I’ve always, and I mean ALWAYS do cardio first before I do any sort of weight lifting, and after reading that list… I can’t think of a single reason why I would!

  11. austin
    November 26, 2011 #

    I’ve been exercising for a few months now and have slimed down. Now I want to build more muscle and my routine has always been cardio befor lifting weights
    So if I wanted to build muscle mass I should do cardio after?

  12. John Leyva
    December 9, 2011 #

    @Austin – That’s correct. If building muscle is your main goal, you would definitely want to keep the cardio for after the strength portion of your routine.

  13. saikijeen
    December 9, 2011 #

    Hi, I am doing 30 minutes of cardio that includes cycling, jumping, cross trainer and Streching. I do cycling for 20 minutes. After wards I do weight training I want to get a ripped look, however I hv got belly stubborn fat rest is fine just the belly. However I also want to gain muscle though I know it is not possible to loose fat and build muscle at the same time. But I wanted to know M I following the right plan. 30 mins cardio then heavy weight training. And I am 24 5′ 8 inches with 78 kgs weight. What do u say? I am I on a right plan.

  14. Ryan Overs
    December 29, 2011 #

    Marc, I am focusing on mostly fat burning right now while maintaining current muscle strength. My workouts mainly consist of 30 minutes of cardio (treadmill or bike) followed up by a mixture of core exercises and some weights. During the cardio sessions I get my heart rate up to a very high level (140-150), then quickly get into supersets of core and weights exercises, is this a good approach for what I am trying to accomplish?

    1. Marc Perry
      January 4, 2012 #

      @Ryan – My guess is you can get the results you want (assuming losing fat without losing muscle) with that strategy if you also have your nutrition nailed down. With that said, the article discussed the advantages of weight training before cardio, especially steady state cardio. I agree with John who wrote this article that ideally you should consider doing cardio after weights, but ultimately try both and see what works better for you.

  15. Jason
    February 3, 2012 #

    Marc, I weigh about 165 lbs and have just started going to the gym .My goal is to put on muscle since i look really lean and thin (I am 183 inches tall). .I do intense cardio for 20 minutes and then go for my weight training. Will it help me in putting on muscle or should i change it to the cardio after weights ??

    1. February 3, 2012 #

      @Jason – as John Leyva stated in the article, I would strongly recommend doing weights before if you are trying to gain muscle, and even considering limiting cardio to just enough to keep your cardio capacity at an appropriate level. Trying to gain muscle is a very challenging endeavor that requires eating a ton of good quality food and lifting heavier weights over time. In other words, the cardio will only indirectly improve your ability to build muscle by allowing you to lift more intensely (because you will be in better shape).

    2. upinsmoke
      February 3, 2012 #

      daaaang, ur 15′ tall dude

      1. Jason
        February 5, 2012 #

        haha…thank you @upinsmoke for pointing out the error….its 183 cms….if i was that tall id probably be in guiness world record books :)

  16. simng
    February 15, 2012 #

    So , what are you saying ? m confused !!! isn’t it better to warm up for 20 mins by moderate cardio and Then going for a weight-cardio circuit ??? instead or before and after affair..

  17. sandy
    February 29, 2012 #

    wht works best for me is cardio after weights and i have banana and wait 30 minutes in gym itself , gotta try this :) i know sound stupid , but worked big timesssssss
    cheers

  18. xtian
    March 4, 2012 #

    i want to loss weight and belly fats,..

    what kind of exercise i m going to do?..

    how many minutes for every exercise and how many minutes for rest time?..

    can you help me to make a plan for my workout?..

  19. Speedracer
    March 12, 2012 #

    Hi, i am new arount here. i am a 40 years old man, 191.4 pound, 5.9 feet and have a waist of 37.7 inches. I like to lose some belly and waist fat and at the same time get some nice muscle (i just want to look good at the beach haha) can any one give me some advice? i was thinking weight training 4 times a week and atleast 30 min cardio 3 or 4 times a week. Cardio 1 our or 2 after weight training. Thks for the reply.

    1. March 12, 2012 #

      @Speedracer – There are so many different combinations of duration/frequency of workouts, it’s impossible to consider them all. If you are looking for a structured program that is only 3 workouts per week for 45 minutes, then you should consider my BuiltLean Program. If you want to create your own program, I would highly recommend reading my Get Lean Guide and signing up for the intro emails I send when you join my BuiltLean Newsletter. They are very informative. Also, if you haven’t read this article yet, I highly recommend it – Can You Lose Fat & Build Muscle at the Same Time?

    2. Matt
      March 13, 2012 #

      I am 40 years old, weigh 177 pounds at around 11% bodyfat. When I started (Jan 1) I was at about 17% bodyfat and weight 180. It has been a little over three months. I did it by ignoring most of what was in this post. I do 15 minutes of high intensity cardio on the treadmill before moving on to a traditional 45 minute bodybuilding workout. The cardio for me consists of 15 minutes at a 8.6 mph pace. When I started I could only handle about 7mph. I think all this talk about target heart range is nonsense. All this talk about burning too much mucle is also nonsense. I have enough energy after a 5 minute break to put plenty of effort into my lifting routine and have increased from 205×5 to 275×5 during this “fat burn” stage. I believe the added heart capacity you gain by getting used to the HIIT cardio more than makes up for exercising in a “glycogen depleted state”. I have found that I am outperforming lots of kids in their twenties who are careful not to actually get their heart rates up too high lest they lose all their energy (sarcasm). In addition to the excercise I try to cut my maintenance caloric intake by about 500 calories a day. I burn about 340 during the cardio to that creates a good calorie deficit without every really getting crazy hungry. I also have one cheat day a week where I can eat anything I want. You know what though? I don’t really WANT to cheat that bad. When you start thinking of food in terms of minutes on the treadmill the food needs to be REALLY worth it or I just find myself passing. The other trick I have started using cutting the portion size for any bad food I eat by 1/3. For instance by all means to to McDonalds and get whatever you want but cut 1/3 of the burger off and throw it away and throw away 1/3 of the fries. Simple but effective. My feeling is that when I hit my bf% goal I can ease up on the cardio and have even more energy available for muscle building (but with a heart that is more fit).

      For what it is worth,

      -M

      1. Matt
        March 13, 2012 #

        Sorry, the 205×5->275×5 was on bench press. I work out monday through friday and the weight workouts don’t go over 45 minutes (high weights, low reps (2-8 range). I am off Saturday and Sunday. Also my intention was not to knock the post. I think it is more or less right for people who don’t have the mental toughness for hiit cardio 5 days a week. For me, I have a sprinter menality and lack the mental toughness for long boring cardio sessions even if they are relatively “easy”. Waiting in line at the DMV is easy too :-)

        -M

  20. Speedracer
    March 13, 2012 #

    Thks, Marc
    I will read your recomendations and do what i can do with the time that i have. I will start right away reading, one’s again thsk for your reply

  21. Ngamu
    March 13, 2012 #

    Marc, I am taking a break from heavy lifting for the next three weeks in order to relieve my connective tissues. I am doing aerobics for 30minutes followed by high rep lifting, three times a week. I feel this arrangement is making me really ripped at 13% body fat from 21%. Can this article not be prejudging i.e. directing my thinking incorrectly?

    1. March 13, 2012 #

      @Ngamu – I think John Leyva (who is the author of this article) is pretty explicit that ultimately you should do what works for you. Everyone is different. Generally speaking, I agree with John that it’s preferable to do cardio after weights.

  22. Ngamu
    March 14, 2012 #

    Thanks Marc for the wonderful articles that keep challenging my exercise/diet plans and staying motivated. correct forms are necessary to avoid injuries. if i was to go for moderate to heavy weight lifting, cardio after weights is ideal. I would never dare to do the reverse!

  23. Speedracer
    March 14, 2012 #

    marc,

    I read some of your articles and hit the gym yesterday, with moderate weight. and ended it with HIIT stationary bike for 15 minute. one minute moderate speed and one minuut full speed. (i am a vet bmx rider so condition is not a problem)

    and i tell you i wak-up in the morning with all my muscle screeming, but i fell so great and i will do this atleest 4 time a week with rest in between. i really like the HIIT after workout on the stationary bike, its let me sweat like crazy.

    thks for the good tips and your meal plan, i hope that in few month i will lose that extra layer of fat and gain some muscle.

  24. Ngamu
    March 15, 2012 #

    Hey, Speedracer, pls watch your calorie intake. seems its on the higher side. it is possible to lose 2 pounds a week but do not under eat below your BMR. I can testify that, my body started accumulating fat once was lower than my BMR. Our bodies are more clever than our conscious, i guess.

  25. Speedracer
    March 15, 2012 #

    @Ngamu,

    thks for the advice and yes i intake to much calories a day!! Now i am watch my calories. I think i eat around of 1500 to 1800 calories a day now. before that it was more than 2700 a day. I have e desk job and thats killing me, every our of so i use to eat some candy of chaclate bar etc. sins last week i just stop doing that and eat right and take healty foot instead of candies. i ride my bmx bike one or twise a week thats not much but it still help me move around a little bit. But doing the HIIT on my bike or stationary bike help me a lot and doing workout 4 time a week is just fantastic. I will meassure my waist and check my weigt next week so i will lat you guys know of any progres.

  26. Koren
    April 28, 2012 #

    This week I started doing cardio after weight lifting and I love it! A, I felt already warmed up and had stamina. B, I got my workout done in one whop and was done the rest of the day. But I have a question. I often read that you. should do multiple sets of 12-15 reps. Does this apply if you do a list of exercises? Like I do 7 lower body exercises and 5 upper body exercises. I just do one set of each which takes about 20-30 mins then move on to 40 mins of cardio. Is this okay? Do I need to cut back or do more with the weights?

  27. Katie
    May 8, 2012 #

    I have been doing a programme at the gym where I do 20 mins interval on the AMT on level 5/10 and1 min intervals for each min, Im burning near 200cals.

    I row 2000meters and burn about 102 calories.

    I do low row weights – 35kg – 2 sets of 16 reps
    chest press – 15kg at 16 reps then 20kg at 16 reps
    lateral pull 20kg 16 reps then 25 16reps
    shoulder press 5kg at 16reps then 20 at 16reps but this i find super difficult

    I do leg extensions at 50kg x2 for 16 then 60kg x2 for 16

    I also do 40-60 crunches
    40-60 3kg weighted lunges

    What else can I do? This is every day

    1. May 12, 2012 #

      Wow, those are great numbers, Katie. Your strong. I wouldn’t do that specific workout every day, maybe once a week. I do think 3 full body workouts are reasonable per week as long as you are not hitting any particular muscle group too hard. At the bottom of this workout I discuss how you should think about your workouts in terms of movement patterns, not muscle groups. I also have a video on the BuiltLean Facebook page under the “Welcome” tab you should check out. Good luck and keep up the good work!

  28. David Mullins
    May 12, 2012 #

    Hi. I normally do 30min on cross trainer first and do a 45min weight session. I’m a stone over weight and my main goal is to lose the stone and gain muscle.But i want to lose the stone asap so should i do cardio afterwards?

    1. May 18, 2012 #

      @David – Please read this article – Can You Lose Fat and Build Muscle At The Same Time? You say your primary goal is to lose fat and build muscle, but those are two very distinct goals. I would strongly recommend choosing one, or the other, in your case, losing fat without losing muscle. In addition, cardio afterwards is likely your best bet, which is the conclusion of the article.

      1. David Mullins
        May 18, 2012 #

        Thanks a million Marc for your reply. I just always thought if u gain muscle it will burn small bit of fat to repair or to fuel the growth of muscle..I started a new diet also Boiled chicken rice and veg twice a day with snacks of fruit in between. Am i on the right track with this diet?

        Thanks again for all your help
        David

      2. May 24, 2012 #

        @David Mullins – I think emphasizing lean meats and veggies is a great strategy to help you get leaner. I’m not comfortable telling you whether your diet is perfect, or not because I’m not a registered dietitian, but I think you are on the right track.

  29. Harry
    May 13, 2012 #

    Hi Mark

    Let me start by thanking you for all you do to help us achieve our fitness goals.

    With summer coming up, I would like to drop a bit of fat, all while preserving muscle. In your opinion, which type of cardio preserves muscle….HIIT or steady state??

    I have read many different views on this topic.

    I much rather walk on a 15 incline at a 5mph speed for 45 minutes, than perform HIIT for 20 minutes, as it is rough on my knees.

    Would walking at that incline cause for me to lose muscle? Should I perform it in a fasted state? Should I supplement with BCAA’s before my walk?? Does it really matter what type of cardio, as long as I get it done?

    Please help!
    Thanks
    Harry

    1. May 18, 2012 #

      @Harry – You are asking a lot of great questions, but they cover what I consider “minutiae”. BCAA’s, Fasted cardio etc. are not going to make much of a difference in your results. What will make a difference is your overall nutrition strategy of eating less calories and eating whole, unprocessed foods. Regarding steady state vs. HIIT, yes HIIT is technically better for fat loss, but if you have bad knees, then steady state is fine. I want to emphasize in my estimation at least 80% of your results will come from eating the right foods and eating less calories than you burn. For more, check out this article – How Many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Weight?.

  30. smith
    May 16, 2012 #

    Hi, Mark

    Interesting worouts here many differant types. However i need some advice currently Im training 2 days on 1 day of so it works out to be 20 -22 days training and 8-10 days rest

    On a average day I workout 45 mins wieght training (moderate weights) this includes all pulling exercises on day 1 and all pushing exercises on day 2. I have given an example below of my format.

    (This is for each mucsle)

    3x exerciese
    4x sets
    10-15x reps

    After my wieghts i get on the tredmill or mainly the cross-trainer for 45 mins and give it a good push for 45min (intensive).

    I need some advice is it safe to do this as im feeling fine and do not feel any tiredness. Also is it good for my heart is this not too much? Im taking my protien etc along with pre- workout suplements i have realy balanced diet
    I look forward to hear from you

    Thanks

    1. May 18, 2012 #

      @smith – I’m a big fan of alternating exercises back and forth and creating circuits as well. Doing only one muscle at a time is inefficient and will substantially increase your workout time. Regarding the cardio, I think you could cut it in half by using high intensity interval training. As long as you are feeling energetic and no excessive soreness, I don’t think you are overdoing it, but I wouldn’t do much more than you are doing. Just make sure that you are stretching and getting massages (or doing self massage with a foam roller/massage ball).

  31. tane
    June 9, 2012 #

    @marc
    hey marc m a model by proffession. i hav 4 dayworkout schedule.
    day 1 legs n calves and quebolic
    day 2 bicep tricep abs
    day3 back n qubolic
    day 4 chest shoulder n abs

    i do cardio after workout

    my arms size is so small according to my body shape.
    i have gud cuttings.
    nw problem is i m nt able to get more lean muscular. if i eat more carbs evan complex carbs it increase my face fat.
    n i have to do more cardio to get lean face n lean muscular body.
    so pls suggest me workout plan
    my weight is 150 lbs
    height is 180 cms
    chest 39 inches
    arms 12.5 without pump
    upper thighs 23 inches
    calves 13.5 inches

    i was 210 lbs before and i cut 60 lbs . but if i eat anything evan light protein it directly effect on my face and lower abs.
    evan first on face. pls help me

  32. Ana
    June 11, 2012 #

    So is P90X a cardio program? it advertises to define your body as if it’s building muscle and losing fat. after reading this, i think it’s more of a cardio program. yes?

    1. June 11, 2012 #

      @Ana- I don’t think P90x is a cardio program, more of a fitness program. Generally speaking, there are a few strength training workouts each week, along with some kickboxing, plyometrics, and yoga sprinkled in. It has cardio, strength, and flexibility components.

  33. June 11, 2012 #

    @tane- It sounds like you are a bit confused. I would suggest checking out my Get Lean Guide http://www.builtlean.com/getlean/ and for a structured program, you can check this out http://www.builtlean.com/workout-plan/. Finally, we have over 200 articles so far that you can easily sift through by using the search bar at the top right hand part of the site.

  34. Suzie
    June 25, 2012 #

    OMG! I have been doing cardio before weight training for months, and noticed I have gotten more toned, but I don’t feel as if I have the energy to lift weights after I do cardio until I read your article. I gave it a shot doing lots of 8 pound reps and squats then went to cardio and burned every single energy I had. I knew this felt right. Thanks!! I can finally lose some body fat!!!

  35. Ken
    June 26, 2012 #

    As a triathlete does this hold true for me when I’m trying to build endurance over muscle? Sometimes I do a ‘pre-burn’ upper body workout and then swim… do I want to flip that so my initial focus is on the sport I will be doing when I compete?

  36. Donald
    June 28, 2012 #

    Mark, how much time after weight training can you do cardio without losing any of the benefits?

    1. July 2, 2012 #

      @Donald, John can chime in, but I think when you do cardio after weight lifting is your call. You can even do it later in the day if you want. The idea is to not get too catabolic. Some workouts once the hour mark hits, your body will become more catabolic and cortisol can rise substantially. So if you have a very intense workout, I would recommend keeping it to under 60 minutes. Less intense with more volume can be longer, but we don’t think longer workouts are necessary unless you just want to clear your head :)

  37. Raymond
    July 4, 2012 #

    Marc,

    After reading most of your articles and your free get lean guide.
    I was able to lost about 19.4 pound and 4 inch of waistline in 8 weeks. I am now 173.8 lb. I am 39 year old and for the very first time in 25 years I am able to see some of my abs again!! It is just fantastic.
    I do 60 min of weight lifting 3 times a week, and cardio (running, hiit etc.) 45 min after workout 5 times a week.

    So, I do more cardio than weight lifting, that’s because I want to lose at least one inch more of waistline. But the last seems to be more harder to do, special that little love handlers (hate handlers). What can I do, cardio for an another 4 weeks? I like to do more weight lifting for body definitions but that love handler is annoying me!!

    My calorie intake is about 1550-1700 a day, no more!
    Please can you give me some idea what can I do for loose those love handlers and that one inch more?

    Thks in advance.

    Btw. Because of your articles a begin to eat and move in a healthy way!!

    1. July 5, 2012 #

      @Raymond – That’s awesome news. Congrats! The last couple pounds is very difficult. It sounds like you have a healthy, lean, and fit body, which is what matters. In terms of going from lean, to very lean, or ripped, I think it requires extra precision primarily with your nutrition plan, and a little with your exercise plan. I would encourage you to read this article if you haven’t already, or if you have, check it out again – How to Get Ripped.

  38. Ezra
    July 8, 2012 #

    Marc,

    I do mixed martial arts and am trying to gain muscle mass since mma only makes you leaner. So I’m thinking about lifting weights before my mma classes since they have a small area for weights, would that be a good idea or would I be too fatigued for my classes? If so do you have any solutions?

    Also does mma count as a cardio workout?

  39. Raymond
    July 10, 2012 #

    Marc,

    Thks for your advice and articles. I read your article over get ripped.
    good advice to follow and yes do i really want to get ripped?

    Nop i just want to be lean and healty, btw my waistline is now 33 inch one more inch and thats will be enough.

    thks, ones again!

  40. rohan
    July 15, 2012 #

    Hi Marc,
    I m 20 years,
    weight – 69kg
    height – 5’6inch
    i m working 6 days a in a week, i do weight exercise first then abbes exercise.. i m doing abbes exercise daily. i dnt wanna lose weight just i wanna lean by maintaining my wait
    i wanna ask doing this is right??
    i can achieve my goal by this schedule…
    help me plzz

    1. July 19, 2012 #

      @Rohan – it sounds like you are bit confused. I highly recommend checking out our free 20-Page Get Lean Guide, which will give you a good overview of how to lose fat without losing muscle to get the body you want.

  41. Sanjay
    July 19, 2012 #

    Hi Marc,

    im a 37 year old male.

    weight – 128 kgs

    height – 6’2 inches

    ive suddenly had an epiphany after being lazy for so many years and have got myself into the gym to start working out. ive been doing cardio roughly for 45 mins to 1 hour. im a big guy as the weight already suggests..but thanks to playing a lot of sports in my younger day ive survived the sessions. my query is i really want to lose weight at the same time i want to get toned..weight loss being a priority..im naturally quite bulky so i dont think i will ever get the lean look..would you recommend that i do weights before and maybe a 30 min cardio session..i have heard a lot of people go on about how if u weight train u dont burn as much calories as in cardio..is that true? I would really love to get some help and put me on my way back to a healthier life…cheers!

    1. July 19, 2012 #

      @Sanjay – It sounds like you are a bit confused. I would recommend checking out the Get Lean Guide, which will give you a good overview of how to get leaner.

  42. Chad Smith
    July 24, 2012 #

    Age: 22
    Height: 6″2
    Weight: 160
    Perry I found your article very interesting and will try the cardio first next time. The reason I stumbled upon this in the first place was because after doing an 8 mile run the other day I decided to do a short lifting session and by the time I finished I thought I was going to pass out or throw up. It didn’t really hit me until I was in the locker room and I had to sit down for five minutes to keep from passing out. On the bus I slept for fifteen minutes and felt infinitely better. This isn’t the first time this has happened and almost only happens when I do cardio and lifting on the same day. Strangely sleeping, even if for only fifteen minutes, has been the only cure. I thought you might find it interesting and it definitely seems to support your article. Keep up the good work! Any advice is welcome.

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