I get asked these two question a lot! Both as a Personal Trainer and as a teacher to trainers. Short answer: What is more important? They are both important. What should you do first? Depends on your goal
Let’s talk a little more about the importance of both first, because they each accomplish very different things.
Benefits of doing Cardio Exercise:
The benefits of doing Cardiovascular training are many. Some are very specifically health-related and carry physiological benefits like building a stronger heart and increasing your lung capacity. Let’s not forget that these are vital organs that you need to live. Period. Not very sexy, I know, but still very important. Other benefits are more goal related like training for a 5k run. Here’s a bit of a list:
- Strengthen heart muscle and function
- Increased lung capacity
- Increased bone density
- Reduced stress
- Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer
- Temporary relief from depression and anxiety
- More confidence in how you feel and how you look
- Better sleep
Benefits of doing Weight Training:
There are equally many benefits to doing resistance training that are just as important for longevity of life and quality of life. Typically, men prefer this kind of training over cardio and women are the opposite. Men think they are going to lose their sexy muscles if they cardio train too much and women don’t want to look too bulky, plus they are often intimidated by the weight training areas of the gym. But in reality, it is almost more important for women to do resistance training than men.
In life, men generally will do more heavy lifting which builds muscle, plus they are born with larger muscles and bigger bones than women. Men and women start losing muscle and bone mass in their late 20’s and early 30’s unless they do strength training. Men have more to lose, so even if they don’t train they are going to fare better than women as they age. And remember ladies, strength training will NOT make you bulky and man-like. Muscles give you shape, strength, power, confidence and a nice butt….sorry, couldn’t help myself 😉
So some of the benefits of doing weight training:
- Strengthen and build muscle mass
- Avoid sarcopenia as we age (muscle loss)
- Strengthen and build bones
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Build a stronger, leaner body
- Perform daily activities with more ease
- Increased confidence
- Reduced stress
- Prevent backpain
- Better posture
- Weight loss (Build lean mass, muscle, so you burn more calories all day)
Which should you do first – cardio or weights?
It really depends on your goals. If your goal is to train for a 10k run but you are also being really smart and incorporating resistance training then you might want to do cardio first because that is where you are wanting to improve the most. The weight training is only there to help and enhance. However, if your goal is to lift heavy and push yourself to new PRs then the resistance training should come first as the cardio might fatigue you a bit. It’s as simple as that 😉
How much of each and how many times a week…? I feel a new blog post coming on so stay tuned.
Have a great day and schedule your exercise in for the week…do it now!