postheadericon Cardio before weights, after weights, or not at all?

I have tried weight training every which way – lifting before doing cardio, lifting after doing cardio, lifting and cardio as separate sessions in the same day, and lifting and doing cardio on different days. There is a great deal of discussion about this on various fitness oriented websites and magazines. Although many people like to get the cardio out of the way first, I seem to remember more people recommending cardio after weights (observational memory only – I didn’t actually count how many websites recommended each). The Ripped Dude is a firm believer that cardio AFTER weights burns the maximum amount of fat (and cites the research). Some think that the goal (muscle building vs. fat burning) determines the order. And still others don’t think we should be doing any cardio at all! What’s a weightlifter to do?
mms_picture(12) Like with many of these questions, ultimately we have to do our research, have a little trial and error, and figure out for ourselves which way works for us at any given time in the life cycle. For me, I have come to the conclusion that weights and cardio in the same workout session no longer works for me, and I am leaning towards not even doing them on the same day. When I began weightlifting, I quickly dispatched the notion that I could do cardio first. Uh-uh. Even a twenty minute stint on the treadmill and I was not going to be able to give the lifting session my best effort, and I found myself trying to save my energy for the session to come. Plus, doing cardio first made it challenging to get my pre-workout nutrition right. I like to consume some liquid protein just a few minutes before I start lifting. Know what it’s like digesting a high protein shake immediately after doing 20-30 minutes of running or HIIT? Sat like a boulder in my stomach. Ok, so cardio first was out – but what about cardio after? I actually did do that quite often for about a year. However, as time went by and I needed to lift heavier and heavier weights (unlike what is in the photo), again, I found that the second phase of the workout (even if it was cardio) suffered from lack of my best effort. So no dual session workouts. That leaves different session same day workouts or different day workouts. After some further experimentation, I have decided on the following:
If it is a weight day and I do weights first, I’m done. No cardio that day (sometimes for the day following as well!)
If it is a weight day and I do some cardio in the morning, I can lift in the afternoon and it is fine. But there has to be a space of a few hours and at least one good solid meal in between.
If it is a cardio day, I focus on that only, unless it is a really light workout and I plan to lift later in the day.

What about you? Do you do cardio and weights on the same day? And if so, in what order?

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