Cardio Before or After Weights?

When your workouts have purpose, you get results and to form a habit, and ultimately create a lifestyle, you need results, mental and physical.

I’ve had several people ask me how to program their weeks in terms of cardio and weights. What the right balance? What comes first when I do them together? The weights or the cardio?

I think most people ask themselves this question. I’ve been a trainer for over 6 years and I still ask myself what I can do to make the balance between cardio and weights even more effective.

It’s difficult to know what to do and when. And the truth is, cross training is different for everyone.


Cardio and then strength train? Or Strength train and then cardio? 

To lose weight, it’s more effective to do weights and then cardio. You have to burn through all of your glycogen storages using your anaerobic system (when you lift) so you can burn fat using your aerobic system (when your run). Glycogen, which comes from carbohydrates, is your body’s preferred source of fuel for exercise. Once this is depleted from weight lifting, your body goes on to burn the fat.

How to do them both.

I find it’s really effective to have at least 3 workouts a week that you combine weight training and cardio. These are best set up by strength training for 20-30 minutes, body weight exercises and heavy, explosive movements, and then doing either an aerobic run or intervals after. Which run you do is contingent upon what your running schedule is the rest of the week.


Why runners should strength train. 

3 reasons: Injury prevention, to increase overall running economy, and to boost performance. Strength training also improves fatigue resistance, which will make you a more efficient and faster runner.

Meghan's Tips:

Program 2 pure aerobic days, 3 cross training days, and one anaerobic day. English–> Run or spin twice a week for 45-60 min, 3 days cross training 30-40 minutes of lifting and then a run, and have one day where you just strength train.

Start thinking about your running in terms of minutes, not miles. Operating at an intense capacity for a 21 minute interval workout will always burn more calories than a 60 minute run because the post exercise burn is a lot greater.

Every day is leg day because those are big muscles. And the bigger the muscle, the more calories burned.

Rest when you are sore. That’s the only time you can say screw the program  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!

By: Meghan Takacs (@meg_takacs)