Ask The Ripped Dude: Cardio Before Or After Weights?

I've graced more than 30 magazine covers in the past 3 years. The global fitness industry has branded me 'The World's Most Ripped Fitness Model.'
Q
My high-school football coach told me I should only do cardio after I finish my resistance training. Was he right?

Have you ever done a heavy lifting session after a long bout of cardio? It's more grueling than eating gruel. When I step up to the weight rack after 90 minutes of hoops, my energy and strength stores sag. Every time I play ball before lifting, I have my worst weight-training sessions.

On the flip side, if I play basketball after my weight-training sessions, I feel fresh and energetic. I've learned that lifting before cardio is much better for fat loss and workout energy efficiency. It takes a lot of energy to move heavy weights; don't zap it all by treadmilling beforehand!

To achieve "shreddedness," your body needs to use your stored fat as fuel for exercise. In order to do this, you must burn off your glycogen stores first. When you weight-train, you typically use glycogen as fuel. By doing weight-training first, you can burn the majority of your glycogen stores. Knocking out your cardio after you crush the weights will burn more fat!

The Key Factor: EPOC

After a workout, your body continues to burn additional calories up to 48 hours. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC occurs because your body needs energy to repair your muscles after you've challenged them. It occurs at a much higher rate after intense weight-training than after low-intensity, steady-state cardiovascular training; that's why it's important to put as much energy into your lifting sessions. If you do steady-state cardio before you lift, you won't have the energy to work as hard as you can. A less productive weight-training session can impact EPOC. Less calorie incineration for you!

A University of Tokyo Study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that doing cardio after weight training burned more fat during the first 15 minutes of the cardio session than doing cardio before lifting. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself! Spend one day lifting before your cardio and another on the treadmill before you hit the weights.

You'll be able to tell which method works best.

Accelerate Your Fat Loss

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Known as ''The World Most Ripped Fitness Model,'' he's very passionate about educating people all over the world about health and fitness.

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LobsterSlayer69

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LobsterSlayer69

What if you were to do cardio in the morning and weight lifting in the evening? Maybe with a little cardio of the weight lifting also?

Jun 29, 2012 6:49pm | report
 
SugarNation

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SugarNation

As long as your overall nutritional support and sleep/recovery are dialed in, you should be fine.

Jun 29, 2012 10:11pm | report
Gian77

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Gian77

what about the 30 min recovery window after a workout? will doing cardio after a workout affect that or would the 30 min window start after you finished your cardio?

Jun 29, 2012 11:44pm | report
 
obadike1

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obadike1

Great answer Jeff!

Gian even if you wait 30 minutes to do your cardio after weight-training it will not hurt you or if you do your cardio immediately. Either way you are fine! It is ok to take a little rest after weight-training for small recovery purposes and then hit your cardio up.

I always tell my clients and people in general that it never hurts to experiment different things to see what works well for your body. What works well for me may not work well for you...Good Luck man!

Obi O.

Jun 30, 2012 12:54am | report
 
Gian77

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Gian77

Hi Obi thanks for the quick reply! what about the 30 mins metabolic window for recovery proteins and carbs, does that time start after lifting weights or if you add cardio would it start at the end of the cardio session? thank you so much for your help

Jun 30, 2012 10:14am | report
Harobin

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Harobin

yeah arent we supposed to eat within 30 mins of weight training? Will it affect my gains if I do cardio immediately after my weights and then eat? Or will my body use the calories in my recovery meal as fuel for my cardio session and in the process burning no fat at all? :/

Jun 30, 2012 5:09pm | report
gorana

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gorana

I would like to know the answer to this question too - my weight training lasts between 1h-2h sometimes even 3h and after that I do cardio for 20-40min so when would be the perfect time to eat and still lose fat and not muscle? I suppose after lifting for 3h it is a MUST to eat before cardio but what about lifting for an hour?

Jul 4, 2012 12:47pm | report
Virucyde

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Virucyde

While the conclusion of this article is spot on, the reasoning behind it is incredibly simplified. The article focused on the idea that doing weights first allows you to work harder on them, meaning your EPOC is longer, resulting in a higher metabolism. Unfortunately, the article fails to explain the first premise, that lifting first allows you to work harder.

What should've been mentioned was how your body first uses ATP and CP(Creatine Phosphate) when lifting, and gives you an instant boost. Once that's out, it moves on to using glycogen stores in the bloodstream for energy, and finally gets to burning fat. So the reason you can work harder is because at the beginning of your workout you're using more efficient sources of energy that allow you to lift harder. Once those are depleted, it's actually good to go to cardio, since at this point you've already burned past your initial energy sources and can quickly jump into fat burning.

Jun 30, 2012 2:28pm | report
 
dominico0

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dominico0

Also failed to mention that if your workout is too long >90 min you will start to burn muscle so you want to time your workouts and also keep in mind the intesity.

Jun 30, 2012 3:20pm | report
 
Kessler131

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Kessler131

I do about an hour of lifting, then an hour or more of cardio. My schedule only allows me to work out once a day.

I've been wondering what kind of nutritional concerns I should have. Especially, when should carb up, after the lifting portion, or cardio?

Jun 30, 2012 4:02pm | report
 
dustindingess

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dustindingess

well i love basketball i wonder how many calories you burn in an hour just shooting for about an hour or more by yourself.

Jun 30, 2012 4:34pm | report
 
SugarNation

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SugarNation

Will vary quite a bit (age, weight, conditioning, etc.), but you'd probably fall in the range of 4-to-6 calories burned per minute, or 240-to-360 total.

Jul 2, 2012 10:45pm | report
winsontom

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winsontom

How do you even have enough energy to shoot after an Arm day

Jun 30, 2012 5:08pm | report
 
dominico0

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dominico0

If your weight lifting takes your over 90 min (which is too long in my opinion) you should eat a simple carb to replenish some of the glycogen along with a protein shake before doing your cardio...otherwise you will be burning muscle....correct me if i am wrong but science has proven this theory

Jun 30, 2012 6:10pm | report
 
TRO17

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TRO17

Depends on the intensity of the cardio, low to moderate will still come from fat stores, anything more intense and muscle will be used.

Jul 2, 2012 6:37am | report
debrabuchanan

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debrabuchanan

your body uses protein LAST, only when better sources of energy are gone... i.e. carbs and fat. So if you eat every 30 to 45 min during intense workouts, you will NOT burn muscle.

Mar 14, 2013 6:49pm | report
timdeestew

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timdeestew

I've been saying this method of training was the best for burning body fat. I glad to see someone has spoke up and has the body to prove it as well. I may not be as ripped but I'm on my way. I wish I could be on one magazine cover..Lol

Jun 30, 2012 6:35pm | report
 
DeclanVB

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DeclanVB

I am definitely going to start performing cardio after training. I could not forget the days when I would do my cardio before training, and I would be so sapped of my energy that I had sometimes contemplated cutting my workouts short.

Jun 30, 2012 6:44pm | report
 
g321g321

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g321g321

Hi Obi ,
What if my trainning mixes weight lifting and cardio ?
For example , 4 minutes Boxing and then a set of Bench Press ... Is it good for fat burning ?
Please advice me .
Greetings , thanks ,
G.

Jul 1, 2012 3:52am | report
 
leonfifield

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leonfifield

if you are training purely for weight loss then that is an excellent thing to do, because you are switching energy systems as you change, think of it as a car, you will burn more fuel by stopping and then firing up the engine again!!

May 13, 2013 2:12am | report
obadike1

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obadike1

G try doing your boxing or whatever cardio you do after weight-training. Try that and see if you have more energy in your weight-training sessions.

Obi

Jul 1, 2012 6:25pm | report
 
g321g321

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g321g321

Thanks a lot Obi ,
I will committ myself to your advice ,
Thanks ;)
G.

Jul 4, 2012 2:41pm | report
goose220

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goose220

Good info!

Jul 2, 2012 6:52am | report
 
bubbletea9

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bubbletea9

The amount of broscience being preached in this article is amazing.

Jul 2, 2012 11:19am | report
 
chiefgreybeard

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chiefgreybeard

Yep, anything that interferes with the energy you need to lift weights is bad. You do need to get right into the hard stuff that burns the most calories first.

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Jul 3, 2012 9:34am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 41 Comments

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