Is it Better to do Cardio Before or After Weightlifting?

Is it Better to do Cardio Before or After Weightlifting?

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Yesterday I was totally inspired to start a new series of videos called “Ask Cassey”. Everyday I get tons of questions and a lot of them are the same – so after many suggestions from you guys and repetitive emails back and forth I decided that once and for all we should have a video for every burning health and fitness question you have!!!

Sure the FAQ section is fine but sometimes it is just easier to see it and hear it. I love video. It’s more personable and it’s more intimate. So happy that YouTube has given us this platform to connect with each other. It’s really incredible that we get to workout together all across the world! And now I get to meet some of you here in the UK!

Today’s question comes from Facebook:

So is it better to do cardio before or after your weight lifting or Pilates session? The answer really is personal preference. At the end of the day, you still did your cardio and you still did your weight training. It just depends on where you want to expend your energy. It also depends how you feel and which order feels more energetic to you.

But if you’re asking how can you incorporate cardio and weight training to burn the most calories, it’s gonna be spurts of HI-LO activity. For example, that could mean a sprint then bicep curls, then burpees to lunges, then mountain climbers to pushups – see what I mean?

Watch the video for more specific examples and a more in-depth explanation to this question. Thanks POPster Terry Speyer for your question! If you guys have a BURNING health and fitness question you want to ask me, leave it in the comments below, tweet me or facebook it to me. I hope we get to answer hundreds and hundreds of questions one of these days. It’s gonna be a fun journey!

All of the Ask Cassey’s will be on my BlogilatesTV YouTube Channel.

So…do you like doing cardio before or after Pilates/weight training?

<3 Cassey

44 thoughts on “Is it Better to do Cardio Before or After Weightlifting?”

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  1. Yuna says:

    Hi cassey!
    I’ve been doing excercise totally great thanks to you!
    Actually, I have an obsession about fat! and diet.
    So I did fasting, workedout too much, planned my diet but nothing worked for me.
    I even gained weight! and I felt bad.. as a result, I had metal disease.
    But after I know about your video, finally I could change my mind! everyone kept telling me “stop being on a diet” (actually, I’m skinny) but I couldn’t.
    anyway, I just want to say “thank you” and tell you this person could change something difficult to change because of you!
    now I have a question 🙂
    Q: As I’ve been on a diet, I always worry if I should have dinner after workout. you know, most women are worried about diet while they’re losing weight. so I heard that if I workout, I should eat something after. but I think if I eat something after workout, I might not to lose weight! my exercise doesn’t work because I eat after! but my friend said, if I don’t eat anything after workout, I won’t lose weight or lose my muscles!
    I’m confused which way is right.
    Please let me know 🙁 !!

    <3 – one of your popsters!

  2. Sonya says:

    ‘Ask Cassie’ is such a wonderful idea. What a great way to interact with your followers.

  3. jocelyn says:

    Dear Cassey,
    After shedding fat and losing inches, there is an excess of loose skin (aka flab) that is not tightening with the rest of my body. (Specifically the long-bottom syndrome which looks like a double-chin under my butt.) What fights flab? Fat melting? Strength training? Endurance vs power training?
    Please save my behind

    XOXO <3<3<3

  4. Nichole says:

    Cassey, you are so gorgeous! You can go with the sporty look, or the classy look and be beautiful! Thanks for the advice too!

  5. Anna S. says:

    Cassey, how do you keep motivation?

  6. Erin Bailey says:

    Hi Cassey!

    I have a burning question I really need help with! I’m starting to really understand what ‘eating clean’ means but I still have a few things I wanted to clarify. I know you always say don’t eat ‘refined carbs’ but I was wondering if this includes all natural/ organic whole wheat bread and also all natural/organic brown rice? I am very active, workout 6/ 7 days a week for at least an hour and mix it up with cardio, free weights, pilates, and sometimes bikram yoga too. From what I understand, some carbs are a necessary if you are working out hard every day. If you could just clarify the whole ‘refined carbs/ sugar’ advice, I would really appreciate it! Oh and also, I sometimes read that celebrities dont eat carbs after a certain time or never at night- is there any truth to limiting carb intake in the evening/ at night? I work out mostly in the evening and try to eat my biggest meal after my workout, so I always end up eating some carbs technically ‘at night’.

    Also, wanted to say thank you for inspiring me every day with your positive attitude & contagious smile during your videos! 🙂 even when I’m struggling to breath during them, I always try and keep a positive mind set & it makes the pain less intense!

    Thanks again!

  7. Steffi says:

    Hello! I love your blog and your positive energy. I just started my own exercise-inspiration blog check it out if you want to 🙂 I have been inspired to start blogging myself after reading your blog!! 🙂

    x Steffi

  8. KJ says:

    Love the advice and your dress! Speaking of weights and toning up, how about another POP challenge for arms, except biceps or something other than triceps? Thanks for being awesome, Cassey!

  9. Kat says:

    I think doing weights first is usually ideal. When you do cardio first, you can tire out your muscles, making lifting heavier weights and performing at your peak more difficult. However, if you do weight lifting first, even if your muscles are tired, you can still achieve the same cardio goals of a high heart rate, etc, even if you’re working at a slightly slower speed.

    Of course this depends on your fitness goals–if you’re training for a race, you probably have very specific cardio goals and want to be performing at your peak to reach them, for example.

  10. I prefer to do Pilates first, because it stretches / warms up my body before going out on a run, and that helps my form!

  11. Jon Wade says:

    It really depends on your goals. While weight training first will ensure your glycogen (sugars stored for muscle contraction) reserves are full, if your ultimate goal is to get fit and reduce fat, then you can do a little weight training after a cardio workout.

    The best solution is really to do your cardio in the morning and then after plenty of rest, and food, do your weight training in the afternoon or evening. Or just do it on different days.

    One “problem” with trying to do cardio and weight training together is that you do not always push yourself hard enough at either.

  12. Alex says:

    I really like doing cardio before weight lifting. Then, my muscles are warmed up and ready to sit my butt on a machine to calm my heartrate.

    Downside is I’m all sweaty at the machines…but hey that’s what baby wipes are for, am i right?!

    Have fun in London, Cassey!

    1. Alex says:

      Ooo I should also say when I workout at the gym I do weights after so I can go home and have a banana or some chocolate milk to give energy to my sore muscles. Weightlifting then running for 30-40 minutes makes me feel like my body is eating away at my active muscles as it bulks up the muscles I just worked.

  13. Saima says:

    I have a burning question about PROTEIN POWDER! soooo confused with the variety out there. I’ve tried a few but poor tasting ones. Currently using ‘My protein’. My Q is, what do you look for when choosing protein powder? Whats the difference between whey, creatine? There seems to be alot of jargon. I’ve just spent 2 hours researching and my head is about to explode coz im none the wiser. 🙁 Help

    1. Jon Wade says:

      For Saima – whey protein is digested faster and best taken straight after your weight training workout. Casein is slower to breakdown and is generally taken in the morning or before bed (or both) to ensure that there is a constant supply of protein throughout the day. Unless you are doing a lot of weight lifting you generally get enough from your diet.

      1. Saima says:

        Thanks Jon. Whey protein it is then! Do you the best brands in uk?

        1. Saima says:

          sorry thats meant to read ‘do you know..’!

  14. Angela says:

    Hey i just wanna to say love blogilates!!!!!

  15. Ulya says:

    I have a big questions that actually have been bothering me for quite a long time – eating before the workout. There is so much information about what and when should one eat after the workout, but I`m really confused about the pre-workout meals. The thing is that I`m trying not to eat anything at least 2 hours (or more) before I workout cause in other case I really don`t feel well. I feel this stomach heaviness and even nauseous. But I really want to workout early morning and every time I grab myself to do so I`m stuck with this eating question. Once I`ve practiced workingout on empty stomach and I often felt lack of strength and even dizzy. So if I want to workout really early in the morning like 6 -7 am what should I do? Thanks in advance for your help

  16. Alice H says:

    Hi Cassey! Great idea with the videos. I look forward to watching the rest! My question isn’t really big enough for a video, but maybe if you do one talking about food, this could be included. I’ve noticed that in all your diet plans, mustard is not a recommended condiment. I’ve heard my whole life to use mustard is great because it’s nearly calorie-free, but was curious if you know something I don’t. Is it actually a detriment to my diet? Thanks! Alice

  17. Milena says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I love your new look:-) Your videos are full of energy, inspiration and so entertaining:-)))

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Is it okay or effective to spread my workout throughout the day? I don’t always have a whole hour to workout.

    1. Celia Jones says:

      I have the same question! Is it still effective to do little work out throughout the day? I know getting your heart rate up to burn fat is needed to lose weight but for the days that I don’t have time is it even worth doing the 5 minutes here and there?

  19. Amylou says:

    Question: do you have to be eating clean 100% of the time to still lose weight? Like can I do 85% with exercise and still lose?

    1. Rashmi says:

      Of course, you can. That’s why all reputable trainers tell you to give in to your temptations once in a while, in a moderate way.

  20. Patty says:

    Love this new feature!

  21. lissakv says:

    I have the same question. Is it effective and fat burn to workout throughout the day? I have three little kids and a husband who seriously likes ne “chubby” getting an hour to work out is darn near impossible. I can sneak 20 minutes here and there. So desperate to have my pre third baby body back? And how do I get rid of this upper belly shelf? I am only 20have ish lbs away. But the shelf is weirding me out. Please help. I have started doing 30it minutes a day plus housework and kid chasing. I am schabging my diet to be more clean and gearing up to do the 90next day challenge. Help!!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Yes, doing workouts throughout the day is effective! As long as you get the time in (and your heart rate is up), you still burning the same amount of calories.

  22. Alice says:

    I prefer to start with cardio, wich in my case is running. I know they usually recommend to do the opposite, but running boost up my energy in some way. The days I rest from running I feel a bit lazy when doing pilates, but when I do it after running I’m at my best 🙂 wich is weird, because I run about one hour at a good pace and I’m really out of breath the moment I stop…
    Cassey, what about the aerobic phase? They say you need about 20-30 minutes of cardio to start burning fat. If they’re 30 min cardio-pilates (or weight training) alternated are they still effective?

  23. Shivi says:

    I have a question I’ve been wanting to know for a while, does doing pilates count as doing ‘weightlifting’? I always hear that your exercise regime should be made up of cardio and weightlifting/resistance so if I do pilates and cardio does that mean I have to doing weightlifting as well?

    I’ve always wanted to know because it’s easier to do pilates if I don’t always have access to weights

  24. Veronica says:

    I’m still starting out so sometimes I can barely get through a workout with Cassey let alone doing both.

    Here is my question:

    Is it still effective to do three 5 – 10 minute intervals of different exercises throughout the day instead of together?

    For example:
    What I did today… since the time was there is did half a cardio workout video with Cassey till my body couldn’t do anymore, then I sat down for a bit and went on facebook, followed by Cassey’s 20/ 20 work out of different routines, then I ate and sat on the computer a bit and then ran with my dogs for about 10 minutes followed by 10 minutes of running up the stairs from the first to the 14th floor.

    So really I’m doing the exercises but not all together.. does that burn more calories or less?

    1. Hi Veronica!

      I’m not Cassey, but from what I’ve read (via Jillian Michaels), it’s not quite as effective to break it up. She says that it can take a few minutes to get your heartrate up. Ex: Say it takes 2 minutes to raise your HR and you workout for 10 minutes; that’s 8 minutes of working out at an elevated HR. If you do this 3 times, then that’s 24 minutes at an elevated HR. However, if you workout once for 30 minutes, then that’s 28 minutes at an elevated HR. I’m not sure if Cassey agrees with this or not.

      BUT, I’m sure everyone would agree that *anything* is better than nothing. If you’re just starting out and still learning how to integrate exercise into your schedule, then I bet what you’re doing is just fine 🙂

      1. Veronica says:


  25. brina says:

    Your muscle cells are approx. 60% fat and 40% sugar (glucose) After about 20 min you have used the sugars.Your muscle cells use sugar to do weight lifting. En with cardio you most likely want to burn off fat. So if you do your cardio before your weights, all the sugar you need to preform is gone. Then your muscles don’t have the optimal full power to perform/grow. So it is better to first to a warm up, then do your weights and when all the sugars are gone you can do your cardio wich will immediatley start at burning fat proces. In that way it is also better to prefend your body from burning your muscles, cause that’s not what we want becaus we need the muscles again to burn more and more fat!

  26. MelodyJ says:

    I did it both ways. I’ve found that doing weights first than cardio works best.

    1. Shivi says:

      That’s the order a personal trainer recommended to me at the gym

  27. Jessica says:

    Warm up with 10 minutes of cardio plus dynamic stretching then weight lifting. Do cardio separately or after weights. This is safer and more efficient. But Cassey, that dress is gorgeous! Love you in black & red!!

  28. Ellen says:

    You are sooooo cute! Thanks for all the great info! 🙂

  29. gail says:

    what are the best moves to tone up forearms?

    1. Tanja says:

      Sports climbing 🙂 seriously, so toned.. But ok at home you can grab a weight and just do rotations with it, move comes from your elbow. Move similar to pouring milk/something liquid, if you know what i mean?
      Then you have forearm curls. I googled a bit and here you go Good luck!

  30. Loz says:

    From what i have read it is better to do your weights workout first so that you have all your power to perform your exercise properly which reduces your risk of injury. This way you are not fatigued and don’t sacrifice proper form.