Cardio vs Strength training: Which should come first?

figure competitor, fitness blog

Hello week 4 of prep! I missed updating you all last week, but not much had changed. So here we are entering into the fourth week of prep! I have a couple of shows in mind for the end of summer/fall depending on how things go from here on out.

So what’s been happening?

Well first thing is I started to add in some cardio, although it wasn’t without some tears and whining! At this point my cardio time is truly minimal. I’ve only added in one or two days a week of about 15 minutes of intervals. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like enough to do… well anything! Here’s why though:  if you remember this somewhat controversial post I wrote about cardio, than you already know that the human body is exceptionally well at adapting. The more cardio, especially steady state cardio (think walking or a steady jog), the more your body adapts to it and the less it does for you when it comes to burning calories.

Setting Attainable Goals

And get this: a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology, just showed that performing steady state cardio following strength training inhibits the muscular adaptations sought after with strength training. The steady state cardio interferes with the muscle’s ability to utilize glucose needed for growth. In simpler terms, your muscles can’t use that delicious post workout meal to its full benefits to grow muscle! A better alternative if you are doing cardio and strength training on the same day is to follow your strength training with high intensity intervals, as this does not interfere with the muscular adaptations like steady state cardio does. Now if you just LOVE to run go ahead and do it, just make sure its on a different day!

With my schedule I rarely have time to devote an entire training day just to cardio, and let’s be honest I am not a fan of it anyways; so I incorporate high intensity intervals to get the same cardiovascular health benefits, maintain muscle mass, and lose fat all at the same time. Starting with the bare minimum amount also gives me a cushion if I hit a plateau at some point in my training. I can simply add in some more intervals, another day etc., and have room to continue progressing.

My theory on weight loss: Eat the most food and do the least amount of work to still make changes!

Another challenge I have faced these last two weeks: Night Shift. I can’t even begin to tell you how much harder it is to train, rest, and eat properly while on night shift. So join me next week as I battle through this night shift challenge and give you tips on how to make it work!



What’s your favorite type of cardio? How do you fit it all in?




Acute molecular responses to concurrent resistance and high‐intensity interval exercise in untrained skeletal muscle. Jamie K. Pugh, Steve H. Faulkner, Andrew P. Jackson, James A. King, Myra A. Nimmo.





One comment

  1. My favorite type of cardio is MINIMAL!!!!! 🙂 Kim I often time add ESD (energy system development) at the end of weight training sessions. I may do 2 x 4:00 (20:10) circuits and progress it to 3 x4:00 (20:10) or change the bouts… Sometimes I’ll feel like it isn’t enough emotionally but science wise its always made the most sense. I’ve been thinking about joining a gym to do steady state cardio. (I’m not disciplined enough to do it on my own).

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