Science Takes a Look: Cardio First or Strength First

Science takes a look at the topic of cardio or strength training before or after weights for fat loss. There are many opinions on which method works best. Some say that cardio is better than lifting weights because it burns more calories and makes your body burn more fat. Others believe that strength training is better than cardio since it requires less time and effort compared with doing both together. Still others claim that they do not have enough time to train both methods properly so they prefer one over the other.

There are several reasons why some people choose one method over another. For example, there are those who feel that their bodies need time to adapt to the new routine. They may want to stick with what they know and start off slowly rather than jumping into something completely different right away. Also, some people like to get stronger before starting out on a fat burning program such as dieting or exercise. If you’re interested in getting stronger, then you might prefer to lift weights instead of cardio.

You could even combine these two activities if you’d like.

Regardless of whether you decide to go with cardio or strength training first, it’s always good to know how much energy each method uses. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to switch up your workout routines and keep things interesting!

Cardio vs.

Strength Training – How Much Energy Do They Use?

By David St. Jean

The human body is a complex machine, so it’s hard to measure how much energy each activity actually uses. However, scientists have come up with ways to estimate which activities use more energy than others. It is possible to compare the amount of energy used for anaerobic exercise (example: sprinting) versus aerobic exercise (examples: walking, jogging, or running long distances). It is also possible to compare the amount of energy used during strength training exercises (example: weight lifting) versus cardio exercise (examples: running, biking, or swimming). With this information, one can start to see which methods can help them achieve their health and fitness goals in the most efficient way.

Exercise and Calories

One of the main reasons people exercise is to lose or maintain their weight. All physical activities require energy, therefore all physical activities affect the number of calories the body consumes. The number of calories that one burns during a specific activity depends on multiple factors including intensity, duration, body mass, and more. So it’s difficult to measure the exact number of calories burned for each individual. The best that scientists can do is estimate based on population data.

In general, it is accepted that one hour of jogging will burn about 500 calories for a person weighing about 150 lb. It is also generally accepted that one hour of weight training will burn about 200 calories for the same person.

Strength training and anaerobic exercises, such as sprinting, have higher immediate energy costs than aerobic exercises. Anaerobic exercises use a lot of energy quickly, but the body’s need for energy drops quickly as well. For example, it only takes a few minutes for a person’s heart rate to return to normal after sprinting, but it may take hours for the body to return to a resting state after jogging for an hour. Anaerobic exercises tend to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, and therefore they are sometimes favored by people who are trying to lose weight. However, if a person’s goal is to burn calories over a long period of time, then aerobic exercises are the way to go.

Science Takes a Look: Cardio First or Strength First - Picture

In the long run, jogging every day for an hour will probably help someone lose more weight than going on a short sprinting session.

Exercise and Muscle Building

The process of building muscle is called muscular hypertrophy. To build muscle, it is typically best to focus on strength training rather than long periods of cardio. Muscular hypertrophy occurs when muscle cells experience damage and then repair themselves to be stronger than before. This damage can be achieved by lifting heavy weights, or by experiencing small amounts of damage from a lot of repeated activity (such as with plyometrics).

It takes time to build new muscle tissue. When a person begins strength training, they don’t start off looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, they might even lose weight in the beginning. This is because muscle tissue is more dense than fat, so even though the scale might say that a person has lost weight, what’s really happening is that the muscle tissue is replacing the fat. As the weeks and months go by, the muscle tissue will grow and eventually the fat will be replaced as well.

In short, strength training helps people lose weight in the form of fat so that the weight lost is replaced by something more useful, muscle tissue. It should be noted that building muscle also helps to increase a person’s basal metabolic rate. This means that building muscle actually causes the body to burn more calories even when resting. Strength training can therefore help people reduce their overall weight and keep it under control in the long term as well. For these reasons, it’s best for people who are trying to lose weight to focus on strength training rather than long periods of cardio.

Muscle Building Tips

1. Start out slow.

If someone is new to strength training, it’s best to start with something light like a broom stick or a small set of dumbbells. Even something as simple as a bottle of water filled with sand can make a decent makeshift set of weights. When starting out, people should never try to lift more than what they are able to handle. Doing so can result in pulled muscles or tears which can set a person back in their training. It should be noted that the concept of lifting until failure is a misconception.

Science Takes a Look: Cardio First or Strength First - | Gym Fit Workout

Most people should only ever lift until they reach momentary muscular failure, or the point at which they can’t perform another rep with good form.

2. Vary the routine.

Someone who is new to strength training shouldn’t get stuck in an endless loop of doing the same routine over and over again. Doing so will likely lead to a plateau which causes the body to stop experiencing growth as a result of repetitive usage. Instead, people should try to incorporate variety into their routine by changing things up. This can be achieved by using different exercises, sets and reps, or even going to a different location to lift such as a park or athletic center.

3. Focus on proper form.

When performing an exercise, it is important that people focus on techniques rather than just going through the motions. For example, when doing a bicep curl, people should make sure to keep their back straight and core tight while lifting the weight. If they don’t, they could end up causing an injury such as back pain or a hernia. It’s also important to note that someone shouldn’t try to add too much weight too quickly. Doing so can result in bad form that can cause an injury.

4. Be patient.

Someone who is looking to get big and strong isn’t going to accomplish that over night. It takes a while to build muscle tissue and someone should always focus on the long term rather than what they could gain in months, but shouldn’t expect to see in weeks or days. Building muscle takes dedication and a strong work ethic.

5. Eat right.

It should be noted that building muscle naturally is very different from building muscle through the use of anabolic steroids. Steroids not only help people build muscle but they also help them lose fat. Someone who is using steroids can eat a lot more than someone who isn’t because their body doesn’t have to worry about putting all the food it consumes to good use. For those who don’t have that luxury, it is still possible to achieve a decent physique by focusing on clean eating and drinking a lot of milk.

6. Sleep well.

Someone who is serious about building muscle should prioritize their sleep and rest. While it isn’t exactly known why, research has shown that those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to lose muscle mass than they are to build it. Ideally, people should be trying to get anywhere from seven to nine hours of straight sleep every single night.

7. Get excited.

Science Takes a Look: Cardio First or Strength First - | Gym Fit Workout

Someone who is looking to build muscle should always take the time to just sit back and imagine their new muscular physique. Think about where you’re going to go to work out, what new clothes you’re going to buy, and everything else that comes along with it. Focusing on the future benefits of what you’re working towards is a great way to psych yourself up and get excited about what’s to come.

Building muscle isn’t going to be easy, but for those who are willing to put in the work and make sacrifices along the way, they’ll definitely be able to achieve their goals.

Sources & references used in this article:

Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Workout myths, Training truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise by A Hutchinson – 2011 –

The Dilemmas of Islamic Bioethics in the Twenty-first Century:’Being a Stranger in a Strange Land'(Or: Procrustes ‘Islamized’) by G Reynolds – 2013 – Penguin

Dr. Di takes a scientific look into claims that tyrosine can do wonders for sports performance and weight loss, and for anything else that may ail you. by AI Bouzenita – American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 28: 1, 2011 –

Can tweets predict citations? Metrics of social impact based on Twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact by M Matthews – 2012 – Waterbury Publishers

The CSIR-the first 40 years by M Di Pasquale –