T Nation

When to Do Cardio and When to Do Weight Training?

#1

When do you think is the best time to do cardio and do weight training on the same day? I’m looking to lose some body fat while still gaining some muscle. My plan is to go to the gym first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and do cardio for 30 minutes then drink a pre-workout smoothie, then lift heavy weights for an hour or less. Is that too much all at once? Will it impact my workout progress and muscle strength?

#2

When I do cardio I do it after weight training. But I usually don’t do cardio until the month or so leading up to a street luge race. To lose fat I eat less and keep hitting the weights hard.

#3

Doing cardio and weight training on different days is preferable for many if not most.

If you are doing both on the same day, then two popular approaches are:

  1. Morning cardio followed by afternoon/evening weight training (separated by a few hours - and a meal - at least)
  2. Cardio after weight training
#4

You don’t need to do any cardio to lose fat.

#5

Do you go to the gym on an empty stomach? Take any pre-workout/coffee/caffeine at all before workout?

#6

I like this idea but might be difficult to fit into my schedule.

Would it be optimal to workout and then do cardio on an empty stomach or just caffeine / pre-workout? My plan was to do cardio first on empty stomach then drink a protein smoothie then workout, but that also seems a bit of a hassle in between (changing my mindset).

#7

Unless you’re committed to fasted cardio, I would consider changing the order of what you’re thinking about.

Coffee on waking up
Carb/protein shake before/during morning weight training
Weight train for 45-75 minutes
Cardio train for 25-35 minutes

#8

No. Typically I have for breakfast a latte made with 8 oz milk, and a PB&J sandwich made with an english muffin, 1 oz crunchy natural peanut butter and .7 oz jam or jelly. Then before I head to the gym about an hour later I have a preworkout mixed into 8 oz pineapple juice. On days where my son goes to preschool I have to workout in the afternoon, in that case I have lunch before I workout which is typically 4 eggs and a sweet potato.

I don’t believe working out fasted is ideal for me, but wouldn’t eat a big meal beforehand either.

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#9

I think what I’m going to do for optimal muscle gain and fat burn is wake up, take protein shake smoothie and pre-workout which is either a pre-workout supplement if I’m tired (which is not often) or otherwise a cup of coffee as usual.

Then go to the gym, do some weight training, then do cardio. I think my diet will also help anyway which is 2900 calories 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. All whole foods. I will experiment and see how it works out every 4 weeks and evaluate my fat loss progress with before and after photos.

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#10

True, but it’s can accelerate the fat loss and it’s also good for your lungs and heart.

#11

After lifting. Anyrmtime after lifting. That cannot be stressed enough. I’ve never seen anyone with any appreciable amount of mass or strength do cardio before weights. Don’t be one of those guys. Honestly a separate day is probably better. Also it does technically accelerate weight loss but it varies person to person. For example cardio doesn’t help me very much, I have to put down the fork. My gf can eat the same and throw in 4-5 hours of steady state cardio per week and drop weight like crazy.

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#12

Forgive me for using the exception to prove the rule, but Brian Alsruhe

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#13

It can be done I suppose but 99% do not. I travel for work so I’ve been in a lot of gyms. And usually guys you see doing that are your typical commercial gym going “I just bench and curl” type dudes. Or just skinny guys that go to socialize or whatever.

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#14

I’m going to do after my workout which fits my schedule best. I workout 6 days a week, ideally, I would do cardio later in the day but that would be a lot of driving back and forth, so some cardio after workout.

#15

To fully answer your question I would have to ask what your goals are. To get stronger, gain mass, lose weight? etc. For me personally, it seems like too much cardio but thats based on my personal goals

#16

To burn body fat. I have 19% body fat. I want to get a six pack and then go back to lean bulking. I have been doing steady cardio with 15-degree incline and slow speed. Burned about 600 calories after my 1-hour workout and 30 mins cardio. I’m still getting stronger from my workouts and don’t look smaller. I’m still eating like 2800 calories with 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat.

#17

Gotcha, in that case the amount of cardio makes sense. I personally found the most success with either full body circuits (sometimes with running incorporated) or sprints myself, especially because I feel I can get more accomplished in much less time. I personally would try to split things up throughout the day, strength in the morning and cardio at night. However, if you try something like the following circuit with even 135 lbs. I’m sure you’d feel you got both accomplished: run 1/2 mile, 10 overhead press, 10 squats, 10 bent over rows, 10 floor press, then 9 of each of those…after doing the 6’s run another 1/2 mile, then work your way down to 1 of everything and run another 1/2 mile.

#18

Find the structure that will make it easiest to get your work done, for you, and then do that.

Usually, folks can’t mentally handle the 6 weeks or so where the fatigue of cardio work masks their strength so they don’t like the cardio first approach.

Then it’s just a matter of whether you can put the required effort in after your strength work.