Cardio After Strength Training or Before?

Should You Do Cardio After Strength Training?

A question that often comes up is “should you do cardio after strength training?”

And the answer is a definite “it depends.”

If your primary goal is to build muscle and/or get as strong as possible, then no, don’t do cardio after your strength training. Strength and endurance are exact opposite ends of the spectrum, so they place diametrically opposing demands on the body, and the adaptations required are exact opposites.


In those cases, doing cardio after your strength training will decrease the effectiveness of your strength training by anywhere from 10-80%, depending on a lot of factors.

This of course doesn’t apply when you’re a beginner. If you have limited training experience, anything you do will work just because going from doing nothing (or at least no formal strength training and no formal endurance training) to doing something is more than you used to do. You can do strength training, and you will get stronger, faster, your endurance will improve, flexibility will improve, and you may even save money on your car insurance (just kidding about that last one). Same with endurance training. But if you have some training experience under your belt, and your primary goal is either to get bigger or stronger, or both, I would advise you not to do cardio on the same day that you lift weights (although a 5-15 minute cardio warm up is perfectly fine).

On the other hand, if your goal is primarily fat loss, and you don’t care too much about strength or size, there is an advantage to doing some cardio immediately after your workout because after finishing your strength training, your body is “primed” for fat burning.

How to Deal With Peer Pressure

Today’s tip comes from Fitness Solutions Plus client, Darlene Hawkins. Darlene is trying to make a lifestyle change, but she gets peer pressured by the people around her. She may want to cut back on some foods or drinks that she knows are unhealthy, but if she says to her friends “I’m trying to cut back on (whatever the food/drink is)”, the inevitable argument comes up “come on, just one, it’s no big deal. Be part of the group.” The person may do this on purpose out of jealousy, or it may truly be accidental. Nonetheless, the result is the same. You’re eating or drinking something you shouldn’t.

The solution: bring up a medical reason why you’re trying to cut back. So instead of saying “I’m cutting back on drinking”, say “I’m cutting back on drinking because I need to lower my blood pressure.” Case closed. You don’t really hear retaliatory arguments, and the peer pressure has faded. This may actually lead to a conversation that gets your peers to cut back on their drinking (or whatever the bad habit may be), so you have a healthier peer group.

Thanks for the tip, Darlene.


Until next week,


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1 thought on “Cardio After Strength Training or Before?”

  1. I too have a female fnierd and i don’t know what to advice to her with regards to muscle building given that i have only started my muscle building this week. I think i’ll just send her this post. Thanks for sharing.Last post by Matt@Build Muscle

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