When to Perform Cardio: Before or After Lifting Weights?

Yet another age-old debate in the bodybuilding world is when should a person do their cardio… you know… jogging, cycling, rowing, etc. Should it be done before a workout, or should it be done afterwards?

The strongest argument I’ve been able to find for doing it before a workout is that it can be used as a great warm up. And, true – getting the blood pumping and the muscles warm is important. In fact, no workout should be performed without an adequate warm up. But… in my opinion, it’s detrimental this way.

Why do I think this?

Well, let’s say you’ve eaten your pre-workout meal. A good dose of carbs. Your muscles are full of glycogen and thus have enough energy to work to their maximal capacity. But, you’ve just done a 10-20 minute warm up and used up much of that energy – so your muscles aren’t going to be able to perform at their optimal capacity. They are semi-fatigued without a weight lifted!

This type of warm up isn’t necessary at all. In fact, the only type of warm up you need to do before a workout is… warm up sets using lighter weights. (You need to do warm up sets anyway, whether you perform other warm up exercises or not… so simply make them your only warm up and you’ve saved energy.)

Also, what is your intention in doing cardio? Cardio is only useful for burning extra calories during cutting, and will be nothing but detrimental during a bulk (unless you have the habit of overeating and do it to burn a few calories off the excess.)

Either way, and whatever your goals – cardio should, in my opinion, only be performed after weight training because weight training is the priority.

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