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  1. #1
    Registered User TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Why do cardio AFTER lifting?

    I have what I hope is a simple question. I have heard and read that it is best to do your cardio after you lift vs. before. Can someone tell me why this is? I have not yet heard why it is better to do it after.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Registered User kneedragger85's Avatar
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    depends on your goal.

    I do cardio after because I want to be fresh to lift heavy.

    My wife does it before because she wants to have more energy to give to cardio and is not concerned about lifting heavy.

    there is no wrong or right time, in my opinoin.
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  3. #3
    The show goes on chodan9's Avatar
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    I used to do it before and found it was inhibiting my lifting sessions.
    Especially when on a calorie deficit. I would gas out before my lifting was done.
    on the flip side I rarely gas out on cardio by doing it last.
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    Registered User KLR650's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TN_Mike View Post
    I have what I hope is a simple question. I have heard and read that it is best to do your cardio after you lift vs. before. Can someone tell me why this is? I have not yet heard why it is better to do it after.

    Thanks.
    I think I'm different than the others in that I do cardio before AND after my lifting. My primary goal is weight control and rehab so bulking up isn't my concern. I also find that a light cardio after lifting keeps me from getting sore the next morning.
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  5. #5
    Registered User drumcode's Avatar
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    I do both. I do 10 minute pre workout to get the blood moving, but not enough to mess with my energy for lifting. If I am not completely gased from lifting I will do 20-30 minutes after with no problem, like above poster said. Just depends on how you feel that day, just make sure your lifts don't suffer from a burn out cardio session.
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  6. #6
    Lithuanian Defensor27's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert, but I've always tried to fit my cardio in before I lift.

    I do 15-30 mins of high heart rate cardio to warm up, stretch out, and get the blood flowing before I lift. If you're sweating when you start lifting, you're generally going to stay sweating and at a higher than average heartrate while you lift, and therefore burn more calories, which is great for me being a big endomorph. I do see some guys hop on an elliptical after they lift, and I've tried it before, but I never have the same energy after a hard workout than before.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Old_swole's Avatar
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    Some people do it before they lift to warm up while others do it after. Just like lifting the important thing is THAT you do it not WHEN you do it. Do what works for you not what you hear. Because you might being hearing what worked for one guy but it might not be what works best for you.
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  8. #8
    Registered User rob440's Avatar
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    If we assume you are weight training to gain muscle size and or strength then doing a cardio workout before you can do things like burn up glycogen and make your weight workout less than optimum. Its a priority thing.
    Last edited by rob440; 03-29-2010 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Spelling, damn keyboard
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  9. #9
    Registered User Klayfish's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KLR650 View Post
    I think I'm different than the others in that I do cardio before AND after my lifting. My primary goal is weight control and rehab so bulking up isn't my concern. I also find that a light cardio after lifting keeps me from getting sore the next morning.
    If your primary goal is weight control, then the vast majority is going to focus around your diet, not the timing of your cardio. If you're eating at or below maintenance, you're not going to bulk up no matter when you lift or run.

    Like others have said, I do my cardio after I lift so that I don't burn up my energy stores before lifting. If I ran first, I wouldn't feel "fresh" going into the weight room. Yes, I've also found that light cardio can help with DOMS, though I do mine the day after my leg day to help relieve the tightness.
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  10. #10
    Registered User c_smarshall's Avatar
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    I have been told that doing cardio after your workout keeps your heart rate up longer and continues to burn long after you work out, whether that is true or not it I do not know.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Frank87's Avatar
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    I do cardio after I work out, because I sweat like a pig. I don't want to be dripping tons of sweat all over the workout equipment. It's bad enough just lifting and sweating.

    Doing cardio first and then showering over the weights / equipment with my sweat? I'd rather not.
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  12. #12
    Knox Animal cmurray's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Old_Swole View Post
    Some people do it before they lift to warm up while others do it after. Just like lifting the important thing is THAT you do it not WHEN you do it. Do what works for you not what you hear. Because you might being hearing what worked for one guy but it might not be what works best for you.
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  13. #13
    The show goes on chodan9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rob440 View Post
    I we assume you are weight training to gain muscle size and or strength then doing a cardio workout before you can do things like burn up glycogen and make your weight workout less than optimum. Its a priority thing.
    this %100
    if your goal is to gain lean mass then you probably wait till after strength training.
    If its primarily fat loss then before may be more acceptable.
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  14. #14
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    I do it after weights cuz my heart rate is already somewhat elevated from doin the weights and it seems i get a better cardio workout in the short time that i'm doin it. If i do it before it seems i need to do it for another 5 minutes just to get my heart rate up to where it needs to be.
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  15. #15
    Registered User TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Right now, my main goal is to lose body fat. I carry it around the guy and on my back primarily.

    I know my diet isn't perfect but it isn't all that bad either. And even if I do eat very clean, I can gain fat. I have a extremely slow metabolic rate. Where most people can lift with the intensity that I do and keep their body fat low, i can not. I have to do a good bit of cardio also to keep my body fat down. I hate it but this is the way my body works I guess.
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  16. #16
    The show goes on chodan9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TN_Mike View Post
    Right now, my main goal is to lose body fat. I carry it around the guy and on my back primarily.

    I know my diet isn't perfect but it isn't all that bad either. And even if I do eat very clean, I can gain fat. I have a extremely slow metabolic rate. Where most people can lift with the intensity that I do and keep their body fat low, i can not. I have to do a good bit of cardio also to keep my body fat down. I hate it but this is the way my body works I guess.
    curious
    what is the worst aspect of your diet? (just wondering what "not perfect" means )
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  17. #17
    Registered User Tifflex's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chodan9 View Post
    this %100
    if your goal is to gain lean mass then you probably wait till after strength training.
    If its primarily fat loss then before may be more acceptable.
    IMO, one should do cardio after weight training if at all possible. I want to give my body every reason to hang on to lean mass, so I prefer to lift when I have the most energy.
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  18. #18
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    it's all about preference...

    the reason they are promoting weights before cardio is because you'll have a lot more energy to give to lifting that way
    SQUAT! Because somewhere out there... a girl is warming up with your max.
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  19. #19
    Registered User Tifflex's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chodan9 View Post
    curious
    what is the worst aspect of your diet? (just wondering what "not perfect" means )
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...#post466406231
    Genshai
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    In the video "I want to look like THAT guy", the guy does 16 minutes of intense cardio, after working out hard. This was at the advice of his coach, who is a weight lifting pro & champion.

    Something to consider.
    Last edited by Frank87; 03-29-2010 at 10:57 AM.
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  21. #21
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    Originally Posted by TN_Mike View Post
    Why do cardio AFTER lifting?.
    One reason is that you've already had your heart rate up and if you've been lifting hard, you're heart rate has been elevated to a consistently high level... cardio after helps you keep it up for longer. (No double entendre intended ) My heart rate watch reads between 68 BPM and 72 BPM but when I'm lifting I see 114 to as high as 144 BPM. The norm is in the high 120s to low 130s. This is what I'm doing now... cardio after lifting but, this lifting/cardio cycle is almost over.

    I also sometimes do cardio for 20 minutes prior to lifting as a warm up to get my blood pumping faster. Which is in my plan for the upcoming weeks.

    Other times I'll do 40 minutes of cardio on cardio only days and not do any cardio work on lifting days. Which is how I was doing it 2 months ago.

    Sometimes I bike outdoors, other times I'll do the stationary bike, the elliptical with the ski poles, then the stair master, and other times I'll do the treadmill.

    The ISSA taught us that you're body will always, eventually, get used to whatever stress you put in under, if you want to keep gaining you need to mix it up.... in this case, keep gaining in cardiovascular health.
    Last edited by acwild; 03-29-2010 at 11:20 AM.
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  22. #22
    Pudgy Limping Moderator ctgblue's Avatar
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    Doing cardio for fat loss requires you to burn off muscle glycogen BEFORE dipping into fat stores
    Why not do this with the lifting FIRST
    that way you have less glycogen to burn off and the first 20 minutes of your cardio aren't wasted buring just muscle sugar

    plus, you lift better when your muscles are full of glycogen

    IE.. 5 mins of "warmup cardio" is a good idea, especially if it's a heavy leg day
    then lift, then finish up with the real 'effort cardio'

    Just MHO
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    Originally Posted by ctgblue View Post
    Doing cardio for fat loss requires you to burn off muscle glycogen BEFORE dipping into fat stores
    Why not do this with the lifting FIRST
    that way you have less glycogen to burn off and the first 20 minutes of your cardio aren't wasted buring just muscle sugar

    plus, you lift better when your muscles are full of glycogen

    IE.. 5 mins of "warmup cardio" is a good idea, especially if it's a heavy leg day
    then lift, then finish up with the real 'effort cardio'

    Just MHO
    I never tried the 5 min warm up, that makes sense. I will start trying that tomorrow. thanks
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    I always do 5 min warm up. It's always helpful to get the body warmed up and blood flowing before lifting. Otherwise chances of injury are greater.
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    i do very little cardio in the gym and never really did a lot there. if i do, like most here i do it after the weights.
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    Originally Posted by Frank87 View Post
    I always do 5 min warm up. It's always helpful to get the body warmed up and blood flowing before lifting. Otherwise chances of injury are greater.
    Knock on wood, but I havnt had an injury due to lifting, but this makes perfect sense too
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    Originally Posted by Tifflex View Post
    IMO, one should do cardio after weight training if at all possible. I want to give my body every reason to hang on to lean mass, so I prefer to lift when I have the most energy.
    Listen to the lady
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    Originally Posted by ctgblue View Post
    Doing cardio for fat loss requires you to burn off muscle glycogen BEFORE dipping into fat stores
    Why not do this with the lifting FIRST
    that way you have less glycogen to burn off and the first 20 minutes of your cardio aren't wasted buring just muscle sugar

    plus, you lift better when your muscles are full of glycogen

    IE.. 5 mins of "warmup cardio" is a good idea, especially if it's a heavy leg day
    then lift, then finish up with the real 'effort cardio'

    Just MHO
    I hadn't ever really considered it from that angle before. Perhaps I'm doing it backwards then. light cardio before, lift, heavy cardio afterward. Light cardio to me is a brisk walk (about a mile or so). Heavy cardio to me is 30 minutes on the elliptical (~400 cal workout). But it never occurred to me that I was sabotaging my lifting by sapping their energy beforehand.
    To me I always approached it with the mindset - the muscle will build based on their workload independent of activities. So for me doing cardio then lifting was simply a way to consume more calories. Maybe by switching it around I might do it more efficiently.
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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by ctgblue View Post
    Doing cardio for fat loss requires you to burn off muscle glycogen BEFORE dipping into fat stores
    Why not do this with the lifting FIRST
    that way you have less glycogen to burn off and the first 20 minutes of your cardio aren't wasted buring just muscle sugar

    plus, you lift better when your muscles are full of glycogen

    IE.. 5 mins of "warmup cardio" is a good idea, especially if it's a heavy leg day
    then lift, then finish up with the real 'effort cardio'

    Just MHO
    Damn dude, I wish I had you commenting on my thread here:
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=123260741

    It started out about eating candy bars but.. half way through I was trying to explain how once glycogen levels were depleted that your muscle tissue moves on to burn fat stores in order to re-synthesize ATP/CP at the cellular level for energy, which is what my physiology text book states.

    I was slammed for using the word "depleted" (I guess I should have used "reduced") told that "your little weight lifting does not burn fat", that your muscles do not synthesize (burn) ATP/CP, even that hGH has nothing to do with muscle growth. (I told my college professor that and he said "what the hell does hGH do then?)

    Also that the body does not respond to strenuous activity level (eg Post Workout) by releasing hGH into the bloodstream. That insulin does not suppress that 15 to 20 minute post workout hGH spike... even though that's in my physiology text book.

    They kept posting another study saying that the study concludes that hGH does not spike and that hGH has nothing to do with muscle growth. Even though the writer of the article and study was asked "are you saying that hGH doesn't make muscle grow?" He replied "no". I posted that comment from him and all I got was "brotacular", and "broscience" and "premise=fail" along with "I still don't know what you're trying to say".

    Insulin does of course have anabolic properties, that's why pros mess with their insulin levels, and hGH of course has anabolic properties that's why pros inject hGH and of course muscle burns fat once glycogen levels are greatly reduced in order to keep re-synthesizing ATP/CP at the cellular level for energy.

    But after all the "brotacula" and "broscience" comments and then the negative rep hit, I just let the thread go.

    Sorry for the rant and bit of a hijack.

    Anyways... yes, back to the point... muscle burns fat and cardio helps.
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    Originally Posted by ctgblue View Post
    Doing cardio for fat loss requires you to burn off muscle glycogen BEFORE dipping into fat stores
    Why not do this with the lifting FIRST
    that way you have less glycogen to burn off and the first 20 minutes of your cardio aren't wasted buring just muscle sugar

    plus, you lift better when your muscles are full of glycogen

    IE.. 5 mins of "warmup cardio" is a good idea, especially if it's a heavy leg day
    then lift, then finish up with the real 'effort cardio'

    Just MHO
    OK, that makes sense. Thank you.

    [QUOTE=KLR650;469494801 Light cardio to me is a brisk walk (about a mile or so). Heavy cardio to me is 30 minutes on the elliptical (~400 cal workout). But it never occurred to me that I was sabotaging my lifting by sapping their energy beforehand.
    [/QUOTE]

    Light cardio to me is 30 minutes on the elliptical burning 600 calories. Heavy cardio to me is 3 hours on the elliptical burning 3500 calories or riding my bike 70 miles in one day. I lost 160 pounds doing the 3 hours of elliptical every night for 9 months. It worked. But it also burned off just about every bit of muscle I had before that. I started lifting after I got down to about 150 pounds. I now weigh 190. I have gotten fat again, and I promised myself that I wouldn't do that.
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