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Shawn Says Lift Before You Leap
by: Shawn Ferrando
Depending on your goals, exercise sequencing can be crucial.
Depending on your goals, exercise sequencing can be crucial.

Q: Does exercise order matter? Should I do cardio first or lift weights?

-T. Hanks, Rancho Santa Margarita

A: This is a very common question. There is no specific magic in exercise order, however it can make a difference depending on your specific training goals and the energy that you need to train to achieve those goals. Exercise order may matter with the available energy for exercise, the muscle fatigue when lifting weights, and the risk of injury during exercise. The exercise you perform when you have adequate energy is performed at a higher intensity with more focus and efficiency. Exercise performed when your energy supplies are low is less effective and may result in injury.

I usually recommend weight training before cardio for the reason of having the energy available to improve and increase the pounds that you lift to become stronger, build muscle and become more toned. This can be very taxing on the body, and to attempt lifting weights after a long cardio session can place you at risk for injury due to low energy levels. Exercise form can also be compromised under low levels of energy.

The bottom line is that it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are interested in increasing your aerobic capacity, (running, swimming, biking) then do cardio first. If your goal is to build muscle, then lift weights first. If your goal is to improve overall health, it doesn’t matter if you lift weights first or do cardiovascular training first. In fact, you can do both at the same time through interval training or circuit training routines or you can alternate weight lifting one day and cardio the next.

Whether you perform cardio before or after weight training will not affect how much body fat you lose. Do what you want to be better at first. I recommend choosing the order you prefer that will help make your workout more interesting, fun and enjoyable based upon your specific goals!

 949.292.1799| 30555 Trabuco Canyon Road # 101, Trabuco Canyon, CA

Owner of Shawn Ferrando Studio Fitness, Shawn Ferrando, has over 24 years professional experience in the health and fitness industry. Shawn has numerous National certifications including the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Advanced Specialization Sports Fitness Specialist, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Certified Core Stabilization Training, O.C.C. Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer, Apex Certified Trainer, AA Nutrition Education, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Indoor Cycle Certification. Shawn has extensive experience in rehabilitation training (post injury/pre-post surgery), sport specific training and is CPR/AED Certified through the American Heart Association. Shawn is also a member of the world’s largest associations of Health and Fitness Professionals, Idea Health and Fitness Association and the American College Of Sports Medicine. To contact Shawn directly, please email her at

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