Cardio Before Or After Bodybuilding?

Cardio Before Or After Bodybuilding?

This is a question that keeps coming. Whether you practice bodybuilding at home or indoors, what is the best time to place your cardio session? Before or after doing your weight training exercises? There are a whole bunch of rumors on the issue. Some prefer to start with the cardio to warm up well, others prefer to calmly finish with a bit of bike to recover. But, in reality, it all depends on your goals.

Cardio Before Or After Bodybuilding?

Cardio does not mean warm-up

First, a real cardio session should be distinguished, which may last, for example, 1 hour in moderate intensity, or 20 minutes in high intensity, and warm-up. Indeed, the warm-up has nothing to do with the cardio. It takes 10-15 minutes to “wake up the machine”. That is, it is necessary to activate the blood circulation, prepare the joints and the tendons. The goal is not fat loss at all and it is better to avoid too much fatigue during this preparation. However, this is an essential step before starting a weight lifting session. This helps prevent injuries and prepare the body to give its maximum.

Cardio, on the other hand, is a full-fledged session, whose duration and intensity are variable, but which aims to increase caloric expenditure by targeting the use of fats as energy.

Why not do cardio before bodybuilding?

Doing cardio just before your workout may seem like a good idea. We heat the body at the same time, we begin to perspire and then we send this chore to devote ourselves then to bodybuilding. Yet there are several reasons for not doing so.


The first of these reasons is that if you want to do a good bodybuilding session, you must be in full possession of your means. Now, a cardio workout will draw on your energy reserves. In the case of adipose reserves, this is not so serious because they are rarely exhausted, but in the case of muscle glycogen and blood glucose, this is a problem. Indeed, you will begin muscle building with these empty reserves. This will strongly impact your performance and therefore the amount of your bodybuilding session.


Second reason, after a cardio session, your body undergoes a strong catabolism, a state in which it tends to destroy muscle fibers. Instead, you should try to reduce catabolism and promote anabolism, which is its inverse, to build muscle. Practicing cardio before weight training will increase the impact of catabolism during the workout. Your recovery will then slow down , just like your muscle building.

Good reasons to do cardio after bodybuilding

Here are the reasons why you should prioritize the practice of cardio after bodybuilding. Be careful, if your goal is to take mass , it may even be worth not to do any cardio after your session to avoid burning too many calories and slowing down your recovery.


As we have seen above, the cardio draws from your energy reserves and puts the body in a catabolic state. If you move your cardio session after bodybuilding, it means that you will begin to lift weights with your full energy reserves and that you will therefore perform better.
In addition, although bodybuilding training is necessarily catabolic, it will be less so if you do not impose on your body the catabolism created by the previous cardio session.


A cardio session requires a lot more concentration than a weight lifting session. However, if you begin to exhaust yourself before weight training, you will necessarily be less focused when practicing your exercises. Better to preserve your concentration abilities and use them to lift weights. You will then have all the leisure, once your session finished, to ask you on a bicycle and to pedal by thinking of something else.


As cardio is an activity that fatigues your muscles and joints, it increases the risk of injury if you practice it before your workout, especially if you are less concentrated. This is yet another reason to place your cardio session after bodybuilding.


Your bodybuilding session will empty your carbohydrate reserves and begin to release fat. Cardio after this session will allow to burn this released fat and to quickly dip into your fat stores since there will be no more carbohydrate reserves to burn. It would therefore be more efficient to practice in this sense to promote the melting of fats.



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