Cardio versus Strength Training which one is better?
Which should I do first? Cardio or Strength Training?
A common question is which one I should do, cardio or strength training? Many studies support Cardio first, then strength training, but some studies conclude you should strength train before cardio training. Which one is right? Both!
The great thing about our bodies is that they are uniquely made, and when it comes to fitness, there’s more than following a standard formula. Have you checked out my YouTube Video: Working out for your body type?
You will discover that our bodies are built differently and require variations of the same movement. We also have different goals. An ectomorph may want to gain more muscle. I would not suggest cardio training before strength training but for an endomorph who wants to lose fat. I may recommend low-intensity steady-state cardio before strength training. It all depends, so I was hoping you could read this post with that in mind. We are all individuals and need to do what works for us. Not what works for an Influencer that you admire.
Why does it matter if you do Cardio training or strength training?
Working towards your goals is hard enough. It can be discouraging if you’re using a method not meant for you and not reaching your goals.
We need to be intentional. Autopilot is inadequate, and if you are on a lifestyle journey, be willing to experiment to see what works best for you. That is why I created the Get Strong Series and Bible and Bootcamps. Both programs educate you on how to live a healthier lifestyle that works for you. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach to your wellness but an opportunity to identify and be intentional about how you care for your health.
Which one is better for achieving my goals? Cardio or Strength training?
Everyone wants a cure-all. Because you often sweat more when doing Cardio, if you’re not challenging yourself in strength training, people think that helps them lose weight. And it does, but the results don’t look as you desire. Women are often afraid if they lift weights, they will become “bulky” or have the muscle mass that looks like a man. That is not the case in our genetic makeup. Without artificial stimulants, it’s challenging for a woman to have the muscle mass of a man. As you age, it’s challenging for women (and men) to maintain muscle mass. What do you do? How do you reach your goals?
How to train to reach your weight loss goals?
Let’s talk about cardio and strength training. So I want to say that no matter what you do, the more you weigh. The more that you will burn, the more you have to burn. When you are leaner, it becomes more challenging to burn. Your level of exertion is higher, and you have to challenge yourself to change adaptations. Keep that in mind, whether it’s Cardio or strength.
When doing your Cardio, Cardio burns more calories during the session. I’m going to say that again. When you’re doing Cardio, you’re going to burn more calories during your cardio session. Still, in strength training, you burn more calories resting than you do when you’re doing your strength training.
Which one do I do first; cardio or strength?
If you are working on progressively loading your strength training. I suggest cardio afterwards so that you have the energy to lift the heavier weight. If you are going for High Intensity training with a light weight load. I recommend a cardio warm-up. It’s hard to answer that questions without knowing what’s your goal.
How does fat loss work on your metabolism?
How does that work? It all has to do with our metabolism. There was a study conclusion from NIH stating that there’s a 4% increase in resting metabolism, especially immediately after your strength training up to 38 to 72 hours based on your intensity. Now I also have to mention that the study indicated that there has to be a caloric deficit to achieve fat loss. (1) What does that mean? When you are training, you’re building muscles, and once you finish, your body continues to utilize fat to build muscle. Your metabolism is the process of converting food into energy which is affected by how you move. Your strength training directly affects your body’s ability to burn calories even at rest.
Our body functions off of energy. The energy expended to repair and build muscle results in calorie burning and fat loss. There are a few factors that determine the effectiveness of this fat burner. Your intensity is a significant variable. There’s a process called Exercise post-oxygen consumption (EPOC), after-burn. (2) You have to challenge your body to increase your EPOC. The same goes for cardio training. A sprint and a low-intensity steady-state cardio session have different calories burn effects on the body. The intensity of your workout is dependent on your fat burn.
The myth is that if you strength train heavy, you will become bulky. You will gain more muscle definition and become denser because your body will be composed of more muscle than fat, but if you were assigned female at birth. Strength training will not make you look like a man, but it will help you effectively burn fat for up to 72 hours once you finish.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training has many benefits. It helps with your hearth, posture, coordination, brain and age well. Check out my post on: The Benefits of Strength Training
How does cardio t aining help you achieve fat loss?
Usually, I get asked which is better ecause people are more likely to asso iate cardio or strength training with the other. But God gave us two muscle groups affected by Cardio and Strength training. Meaning we were made to achieve both. We were made to run from our predators and lift heavy things, so both should be trained. As a modern society we don’t have the same lifestyle needs that we did but our bodies are still capable to perform. We have to qualify both modalities to perfo m at our best intentionally.
Cardio is effective at achieving fat loss. You burn the most calories during the cardio session a terward but still achieve fat loss. Cardio training is also suitable for our hearts, lungs, and brain. I encourage my clients and those seeking advice to do both. And often, the next question is, how long and how ma y times? Again, dependent on your goals, but there is a standard approach you can do to optimize your health.
The Difference in Cardio and Strength Training
Cardio training is different from strength training. It recruits your Type 1 Muscles that allow your body to endure movement for extended amounts of time. Type 1 is also activated in high rep strength training and isometric holds. During cardio training, you burn the most calories. The higher the intensity, the more calories burned. The great thing about both cardio and strength training is there are so many options. In strength training or short burst of exercise like sprints you use Type 2 muscles.
High Intensity Interval Training, known as HIIT, is very popular and effective. High-intensity interval training. HIIT is intense exercise with a brief rest period in different interals. Studies have proven that you can burn up to 25 to 30 percent more calories than any other form of cardio exercise. On the contrary, recent studies have shown significant benefits to low-intensity steady state cardio (LISS) in calorie burn effectiveness. (3)
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How do you find what works for you?
I suggest that unless you have a personal trainer to help you create a plan that works best for your body and goals, you should try oth for 6-8 weeks consistently to see what works for you. It’s a time investment, but if you are working on your fitness for a healthier lifestyle you have time. I found my body responds best to a combination of both, and my rest and environment l stress have a direct correl tion with my achieving my goals. Check out my post on why stress may affect your weight loss.
Cardio can be done from 5-45 minutes. It is dependent on your goal. The Center for Drug and Disease Control suggests, “Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.” (4)
Benefits of Cardio Training
Many benefits of Cardio exercises shouldn’t be overlooked, which is why a balanced training program includes both cardio and strength training. Cardio exercises increase your heart and lung capacity, which is essential to decrease blood pressure and optimize your health. A study concluded after four weeks of exercise that the participants reduced their stress, felt more emotionally available and had more self-efficacy and confidence, and felt better about their overall health. (5)
What should my workout schedule look like?
I also recommend some mobility training. A suggested workout schedule to help you optimize fat loss, strengthen your heart and lungs, and have you ove better can look like this:
This is just a suggestion, and if you don’t know what to do on the strength days or the Cardio. Check out the FaithFueled Life app. I will tell you what to do and how to do it. Each month you receive new workouts, and daily you receive new devotions, meditations, and prayers. Suppose you aren’t part of the FaithFueled Life community and want to do it independently. When creating a workout plan, you must factor in availability, ability, and goals.
When creating your workout I would recommend strength training, balance and mobility training, Ca dio, and recovery. That keeps you moving almost daily, which is what our body was made to do. I have created several programs to assist and guide you in movement. I have programs from 7 to 90 days that include devotions, prayers, meditations, video exercise demonstrations, follow-along wo kout videos, and explanations for what and why you are doing the movement.
It’s a great way to get foundational training if you cannot afford one-on-one services. There are also many resources for mobi e apps, websites, and books, but keep in that you want somethin made for you and your unique body.
Types of Cardio and Strength Training
I would love for you to check out my 7-Day Get Strong Series. It gives you the seven foundational moves of strength training. The next step would be my Bible and Bootcamps 7-week transformational program that is essential training for living a healthier lifestyle that honors your temple. I coach you through the best workouts and how to eat to nourish and fuel our workouts.
What does God’s word say about honoring your temple with daily devotions, prayers, meditations, and reflections directing and connecting you to God? And a workout plan that effectively includes strength training, balance and mobility training, Cardio, and recovery.
I would love to help you figure out what serves your body best so you can stop wasting your time and getting discouraged with the lack of results and begin living a lifestyle that honors your temple.
Join us for the 7-Day Get Strong Series and begin building a foundation that honors your temple.
- Miller T; Mull S; Aragon AA; Krieger J; Schoenfeld BJ; “Resistance Training Combined with Diet Decreases Body Fat While Preserving Lean Mass Independent of Resting Metabolic Rate: A Randomized Trial.” International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28871849/.2, Author Pete McCall Health and Fitness Expert Pete McCall. “7 Things to Know about Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).” Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) | ACE Blog, https://www.acefitness.org/resources/pros/expert-articles/5008/7-things-to-know-about-excess-post-exercise-oxygen-consumption-epoc/.3. Lindberg, Sara. “ iss Cardio: Benefits vs. HIIT, Heart Rate, Workout.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 3 Oct. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/liss-cardio.
4. “How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 June 2022,
5.Bretland, Rachel Judith, et al. “Reducing Workplace Burnout: The Relative Benefits of Cardiovascular and Resistance Exercise.” PeerJ, PeerJ Inc., 9 Apr. 2015, https://peerj.com/articles/891/.