T Nation

Why Not Cardio Before Weight Training?


I was reading an article by Dr Clay in the articles section and I noticed in the comments section that he told one guy NEVER to do cardio before a weight training session unless it's light warm ups.

Why? I do the treadmill for 35 minutes (fast walk, 3.5 incline) before starting my 2 hour weight workout, then I do another 45 minutes of the same after. Why not before?



There's a lot of more complicated reasons, but most simply, people have a limited amount of energy and focus, and if strength training is your goal, you want to do your weight training when you're fresh. Whatever is your main priority should usually go at the beginning of the workout.


And good lord, I just reread your post, and while there's nothing necessarily wrong with a three hour session, if you're spending that long exercising and are asking that question, there's probably a whole lot you still have to learn, and ways you could spend you time, both in and out of the gym, more efficiently.


Oh an efficiency expert eh?

And why don't you just tell me how I could spend my time more efficiently, especially outside the gym.

Well come on Mr smart ass lay it on me. Hell I'm only 62 maybe you can tell me how to run my fucking business for the next 2 years before I retire.

Fucking dumb ass punks who make stupid, fucking moronic statements before they think make me laugh.

I was making efficiency decisions when you were still puking on your daddy's shirt you little piss ant.


You burn your Glucose doing the cardio and have none left for your workout.


Hahahahaahahahaahahaha Okay this was priceless.

The kid has a point in his first post about goals. We know you are battling a chronic illness and with your recent success I advise not changing a thing.

Us slightly younger guys who may be working on strength like to save the energy for the big lifts.


You know, this is the over 35 section and I expect a much different caliber of post here. If I wanted to read responses like this I would go to the bodybuilding or off topic section. Please don't destroy the civility that is the over 35's.

If it's been working for you so far then definitely don't change it. I guess it depends on how hard you're walking on the treadmill. I drag a sled for conditioning and there's no way that I could do sprints then do my strength training.



Wow!! Talk about grumpy. He was making a point in his response that that is too long for a dang workout. Just over an hour is the best "sweet spot" for a workout. Again not sure what your goal is but 2 hours plus cardio is probably making you lose muscle and making you weaker not stronger... Just trying to help since you asked. Cardio should be done after lifting if needed at all...


Damn pops!!!
I wish I could last like you (in the gym of course) when I'm 62


My sentiments exactly.


My apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my tirade.
I'm sorry to say I have a very short temper with loafers, losers and morons. I will try and hold my peace in the future.


No worries, but like Snap a James said we are normally a pretty laid back group. Now from time to time a youngun will jump up and post, but really that is far and few between.

I still thought it was funny, but I tend to have a weird sense of humor.


I think as long as the cardio is of low intensity (treadmill walking, light cycling) it shouldn't negatively affect your weights workout too much. I sometimes find I have a great session if I've done cardio earlier in the day (although not immediately beforehand) because it acts as a real thorough warm up (or maybe a bit of CNS stimulation?). However, if you're really hammering at it, hill sprints, sled pulls etc, you might find yourself flagging later on, especially if doing legs.

As far as a two hour workout goes, early on when you're new to lifting you're not really capable of working out that intensely, but once you've been doing it a while you will find out that you can workout a lot harder and therefore your sessions will probably get shorter as they become more taxing.

Remember, you can either lift hard or long, not both.

Welcome to the forum and congrats for starting lifting when most people are thinking of winding down.

And CHILLAX MAN!! Us old folks don't like drama, it upsets us.


I'm the exception........But then again I keep my rants pretty much in my own log and have a disclaimer on the first page of my log giving fair warning. Other then that on a whole most of us tend to stay pretty laid back like stated above.


When i read the original post i thought 'no way' and then i realised that what i do is pretty close ie usually walk for at least that long just to get to the gym--sometimes up to a hour 15.

From my own limited (beginner) experience i don't see a walk pre workout as being a problem--i just don't do mine in the gym that's all.

Equally i don't try for very long workouts either, 40 minutes to 1 hour is about it, mind you i have tried to aboslutely maximise my work time while in the gym eg pairing/twinning exercises and supersetting just about all the time.

EQually--when i have finished in the gym i either walk home or go straight to work , another 40 minutes to an hour. I probably don't really think of walking as 'cardio'--but i am a very efficient walker.


I have to agree that for most three hours in the gym is WAY too much.

That said, if the walking is for fat loss or for simple cardio then I would think it would be more effective after the lifting anyway. Let the lifting use up glycogen stores and then do the walk which I'm assuming is at a moderate pace.

I can't picture where a long period of low intensity cardio would be better pre-lifting rather than post lifting.


Well expirience tells us that by doing Cardio first for any length of time Before lifting, when the main goal is to get stronger/bigger is not good

If your main goal is to be "fit" then do whatever is clever that is working for you.

If you asked me to build a program for you I would seperate the "walks".One first thing in the morning one after the weightlifting.

And to the weights -- when lifting with a big group of guys we might go over 2 hours on any given day.

Usually when weightlifting is Intense--Short duration when weightlifting is low-intensity-- make sense?


I actually pre-scribe for older people 15-20 minutes of cardio walking warm up before thety see me. This gets them warmed up before we exercise. My clients would not like it If I took 15 minutes of their time warming them up.


There are hormonal response reasons to question long lifting sessions. Studies were done on younger populations however.


Sounds like my gym walk in is just a slightly longer warm up, must say that it seems ok for me, glad to hear that it isn't too far from what you are prescribing.
Have to say that the walk to the gym does seem to set me up well and so far seems to be a factor in preventing injury.