When it comes to exercise, I always design my workouts to be as quick & efficient as possible. As much as I love working out – I do not enjoy long, drawn out and tedious workouts, nor do I believe or feel they are beneficial for my body.

My workouts need to achieve maximum benefit in as little time possible – smart, not long. What’s gonna give me the “biggest bang for my buck” so to speak. This is where (in my opinion) most people go wrong when it comes to their workouts – long drawn out training sessions that not only have you dreading your workout before it has even started, but also the burnout (physical and mental) that comes from unnecessary hours clocked in the gym. Another reason I believe many people battle to make exercise a sustainable part of their weekly schedule.

Exercise should never be tedious and feel like any form of punishment.

Doing cardio AFTER your weights could just be the time saving trick that you are looking for that will simultaneously help you burn fat faster and actually start seeing a change in your body. I have been doing this for years now and have never looked back!

WHY DOING CARDIO AFTER WEIGHTS IS SO MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE

1. When you do your resistance training first, you utilize & deplete your glycogen (carbohydrate) stores for this portion of the workout, resulting in greater strength for your resistance training, as you haven’t tired yourself out and drained these fast acting stores doing cardio first. This will help you to to utilize these (carb) energy stores to build strength and lean muscle mass more efficiently.

2. Now, seeing that you have already depleted your glycogen stores with the first part of your workout, you will be utilizing your fat stores from the get-go for the cardio section of your workout vs. having to walk on the treadmill for an hour to try and get to the fat burning part of your cardio. This results in a far greater percentage of fat burning in much less time, while preserving your lean muscle “gains” as most in the gym industry call them.

I read a blog the other day that said:

“Think about burning fat like digging for gold. You have to get through layers of dirt and rock (muscle glycogen) before you can get to the gold.
Doing cardio first is like digging for gold with a shovel. Getting through a single layer requires 32 scoops to be removed. You’ll eventually see gold, but it will take a while.
Doing resistance training first is like showing up to the same dig site with a backhoe. Now only 3 scoops are required to get through one layer thanks to your diesel fueled machinery.”

So if you’re short on time, or just want to maximize your workout benefit in order to get back to your busy schedule and just simply living your life, hit the weights first and save the cardio for the end.

Shoot for a 20-30-minute upper body resistance workout, followed by one of my free, downloadable HIIT cardio workouts 2 – 3 times per week and a intensive 30 – 45 minute leg workout 1 -2 times per week with no cardio after and just a 10 minute cardio warm up before.

I train four times a week on average and my split will look something like this:
I do not do cardio on the days that I train legs. Quite frankly – if you can… you did not train your legs hard enough 🙂

Day 1: Legs & Abs (Quad focused leg routine)

Day 2: Upper body & HIIT cardio (chest & back)

Rest

Day 3: Legs & Abs (Hamstring & glute focused)

Day 4: Upper body & HIIT cardio (arms & shoulders)