Should I Do Weights or Cardio First?

Two young girls jog along Morro Strand State Beach
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikebaird

When you start your weight loss or fitness journey there is one question that you will inevitably be confused about – should I do weights or cardio first? It is a good question and one that you should absolutely try and find the answer to. In this post I am going to give you some general information and then hopefully you will be able to make up your own mind.

The argument for doing weights first

First of all let’s have a talk about the idea of doing weights as the first part of your routine.

1. You are fresher
The main advantage of this strategy is they fact that you are fresh and awake at the start of your routine. This means you will be able to lift more weight and as such make more progress.

2. Less injuries
Many personal trainers also attest to the fact that less injuries occur when you do weights first as you have a good amount of energy to put into your technique. When you are tired and fatigued this focus often vanishes.

3. Better for weight loss
Some bodybuilders and personal trainers also tell us that weights should be done first if we are trying to lose weight. This is because the weight training helps to deplete the sugar levels in your blood. That way, when you move on to cardio, you will be burning more fat than sugar. And this is what we want.

The argument for doing cardio first

Now let’s take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum – cardio first, weights after.

1. A proper warm up
The main advantage of this strategy is the fact that you get a really good warm up before you hit the weights room. Many women these days jump right into the weights without much of a warm up and end up pulling a muscle or doing a slight strain that can set your weight loss progress back weeks or even months. When you do cardio first you are more likely to warm up properly.

2. You can go further/harder
As you know, here at Free Women’s Fitness we like to advocate harder cardio than normal. We like to encourage all the girls out there to hit the treadmill or exercise bike with vigor and passion and to step up and do a more intense workout. This becomes difficult after a weights session, however, as you are too fatigued and low on energy. If fitness is your main goal then it might be better to do your cardio session at the start.


There are positive and negative aspects to both scenarios depending on your goals. If you are aiming for weight loss then perhaps it might be better to do weights first. If you are trying to get fit then jump on the cardio machines first and really bang it out with some intensity.

If you have any other suggestions then please drop by the women’s only forum and let us know. I would love to hear what you have to say.