Is it better to do cardio before or after lifting weights?

Is it better to do cardio before or after lifting weights?

When it comes to blending cardio with resistance training, when you do it matters. Let’s break it down into simple steps so you can understand how the timing of your cardio impacts your results.

Option 1: Cardio on Rest Days

Easy enough, right? Pick the days when you’re not lifting weights to do your cardio. This way, you keep things neat and tidy, letting your body focus on each type of exercise separately.

Option 2: Cardio on Lifting Days

Here’s the trick – if you can, spread out your cardio and lifting sessions. Studies say the more space you can put between them, the better your results. This works like a charm, especially if you lift three days a week and dedicate one (or more) of the other four to cardio.

Juggling Act: Frequency, Preferences, and Fun Days

As you lift more often, finding the right balance with cardio becomes a puzzle. It’s about figuring out how many cardio sessions fit your routine. And don’t forget personal preference – maybe you want some days off for leisure instead of sweating it out all the time. It’s your workout, so make it work for you.

Splitting on the Same Day: Smart Moves

If keeping cardio and lifting apart is a mission, no worries. Split them up on the same day. Try cardio in the morning and lifting in the evening (or the other way around). It’s especially handy for HIIT enthusiasts. Just remember, the order isn’t a big deal; what matters is giving your body a few hours of rest in between.

Snack Time: Fueling Your Performance

Feeling tired? A well-balanced diet can sort that out. But if you’re doing morning cardio before breakfast, grab some carbs right after to refuel your energy stores.

Rule for Same-Day Workouts: Lift First

If you’re stuck doing both cardio and lifting in one go, stick to a rule: Lift first. Aerobic exercises, even the easy ones, can tire you out. Start with lifting to keep your energy levels up. Studies show doing cardio before lifting might mess with your muscle growth signals, no matter if it’s HIIT or regular cardio.

In a nutshell, when you do cardio is like adding spices to a dish – it can make or break it. So, consider these options, think about what suits you best, and get ready to rock your workout routine. Whether you like to keep things separate, mix them up on the same day, or follow a rule for same-day workouts, the key is finding your sweet spot.



New to eating more for weight loss? Grab our free Quick Start Guide! 

Eating more OG? Join the Workout Vault Community to take your results to the next level!

Did you enjoy today’s episode? Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss any new episodes! The Diet Rebel podcast is available on Audible, Spotify, Google Play, or Apple.

Is It a Plateau or More? Signs Your Body is Begging for a Diet Break

Is It a Plateau or More? Signs Your Body is Begging for a Diet Break

When was your last diet break?

If you’re a woman over 40, looking to lose weight …again …chances are, you’re no stranger to “the plateau.”  For most, when fat loss stalls, they instinctively want to lower calories EVEN further – which may potentially do more harm than good. Though the thought of increasing food intake when the scale won’t budge is likely the last thing on your mind – it may be exactly what your body is asking…erm…begging for.  In this podcast, we’ll explore the concept of diet breaks, debunk common myths, and help you find the right balance for your unique needs.

What Are Diet Breaks?

Diet breaks involve temporarily increasing your calorie intake to maintenance levels for a specific period. This strategic approach provides your body with a much-needed respite from caloric restriction, offering numerous benefits for both physical and mental health.

    • Decreasing your calories causes your metabolism to slow down to accommodate the smaller amount of food intake.
    • Slower metabolism = slower fat loss.
    • When your calories are too low for too long, your body begins to adjust, making the reduced calorie level your new maintenance. (this can happen in as quickly as 3 weeks!)
    • By taking a diet break, you essentially “remind” your body of what maintenance ACTUALLY is. This will help keep your metabolism revving higher, aiding the fat loss process once you reduce the calories again.
    • More importantly, a diet break can also serve as a psychological break if you’re under severe stress, or struggling with sticking with your plan.

Diet breaks can come in several forms, from the classic “cheat meal” (a “re-feed” day – on purpose! No need to cheat!), to a full diet break which can last for a couple of weeks, to a metabolism reset. 

Debunking Common Misconceptions

Let’s address some common misconceptions that women over 40 may have about diet breaks:

Age Limits Progress: Contrary to the belief that age limits progress, your body’s adaptability remains relevant. Diet breaks can positively impact your fitness journey at any age.

Hormones Are All That Matter: While hormonal shifts during perimenopause and menopause play a role, balanced nutrition, including diet breaks, is still effective in achieving your health goals.

Extreme Measures Are Necessary: Extreme diets and intense exercise are not the only solutions. Diet breaks offer a balanced and sustainable alternative, preventing burnout and health issues.

Always Pursue Caloric Deficits: Constant caloric deficits can negatively impact hormones, muscle mass, and well-being. Diet breaks counteract these effects, contributing to long-term success.

Fear of Weight Gain: A well-structured diet break is designed to prevent excessive weight gain while providing various health benefits. Fear of gaining weight shouldn’t hinder you from considering a diet break.

Neglecting Nutrient Intake: Focusing solely on calories overlooks the importance of consuming adequate nutrients for overall health. Diet breaks address nutrient deficiencies and promote well-being.

One-Size-Fits-All Approach: Women over 40 have unique health considerations, and a tailored approach is essential for diet breaks to be effective.

Prioritizing Short-Term Results: Prioritizing short-term results can hinder progress. Diet breaks contribute to sustainable long-term results by promoting metabolic health and preventing burnout.

Relying Solely on Exercise: Both exercise and nutrition are crucial, especially as we age. Relying solely on exercise to offset a poor diet is a misconception. Both aspects need to be balanced for optimal results.

Neglecting Self-Care and Rest: Neglecting self-care and rest can impact your body’s response to diet and exercise efforts. Prioritizing sleep, stress management, and self-care is crucial for successful diet breaks.

10 Signs That Indicate the Need for a Diet Break

Now, let’s explore the signs that indicate it’s time for a diet break:

#1  Stalled Progress: If your hard work isn’t yielding the expected results, a diet break can reset your metabolism and boost progress.

#2  Fatigue and Low Energy: Experiencing constant fatigue and low energy levels may signal the need for a diet break to restore vitality.

#3  Irritability and Mood Swings: Mood swings and irritability can be indicators of hormonal imbalance, which a diet break can help address.

#4  Poor Sleep Quality: If your sleep quality is compromised, a diet break can stabilize hormones and improve restorative rest.

#5  Persistent Hunger and Cravings: Intense cravings and persistent hunger can signify the need to satisfy your body’s nutritional needs with a diet break.

#6  Obsessive Thoughts About Food: Constantly thinking about food, fearing certain foods, or feeling guilt around eating may indicate an unhealthy relationship with food that a diet break can help normalize.

#7  Social Isolation: Avoiding social situations due to dietary restrictions can lead to social isolation. A diet break allows you to engage more freely in social activities.

#8  Hormonal Changes: Hormonal imbalances due to caloric restriction can impact menstrual cycles, fertility, and bone health. A diet break can help restore hormonal equilibrium.

#9  Recurring Injuries or Illnesses: Weakened immunity and delayed recovery from injuries can be addressed with a diet break providing essential nutrients for healing.

#10  Decreased Physical Performance: Inadequate energy availability can impact strength, endurance, and overall workout performance. A diet break can rejuvenate your energy and improve performance.

Conclusion: Finding Balance for a Healthier You

Understanding the myths, signs, and benefits of diet breaks is essential for women over 40 who want permanent fat loss. Remember:

A diet break is not about giving up or letting go of your goals but about finding a sustainable and balanced approach to nutrition and overall well-being.

Embrace diet breaks not as setbacks but as strategic pauses to help you lose more fat (and keep it off long term!) while maintaining your sanity and quality of life.


New to eating more for weight loss? Grab our free Quick Start Guide! 

Did you enjoy today’s episode? Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss any new episodes! The Diet Rebel podcast is available on Audible, Spotify, Google Play, or Apple.

Why Weight Loss Gets Harder with Age

Why Weight Loss Gets Harder with Age

The more a woman ages, it’s less likely that there’s just “one” thing that will make everything magically fall into place when it comes to losing fat. Each decade (and the decisions made during it) adds it’s own unique piece to the fat loss puzzle. It’s important to know how it’s ALL been compounding in order to decide exactly how much time (if any) we want to dedicate to “fixing” perceived problems.

Let’s breakdown the common fat loss struggles that women face at every age and discuss practical tips and advice for overcoming them. Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond, we will cover the unique challenges that each decade brings and provide strategies to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

(for more detail, watch full video below)

The 20s: Navigating a Changing Lifestyle

During your 20s, transitioning from the active lifestyle of your teenage years to the demands of work, school, and social commitments can lead to weight gain. The combination of decreased physical activity, stress, and poor dietary choices can impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight.

Tips for Weight Loss in Your 20s:

  • Establish an exercise habit, begin strength training.
  • Opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods over processed options.
  • Manage stress through relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation.


The 30s: Hormonal Changes and Work-Life Balance

In your 30s, hormonal changes related to pregnancy, perimenopause, or menopause can make weight loss more challenging. Additionally, busy schedules and increased responsibilities can result in a sedentary lifestyle.

Tips for Weight Loss in Your 30s:

  • Engage in regular strength training to counter muscle loss and boost metabolism.
  • Focus on a balanced diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables.
  • Prioritize sleep to support metabolism and hormone balance.


The 40s: Combating Muscle Loss and Hormonal Shifts

Muscle mass that has been slowly declining since your mid 20s, becomes a drastically noticeable hit to your metabolism by mid 40s. Hormonal shifts during this decade can further complicate weight loss efforts, which is why this is the decade that many women suddenly wonder why weight loss gets harder with age…

Tips for Weight Loss in Your 40s:

  • Increase protein-rich foods in your diet to support muscle preservation.
  • Prioritize strength training to maintain muscle mass and metabolism.
  • Stay hydrated to support metabolic processes.


The 50s and Beyond: Hormonal Challenges and Health Factors

Entering your 50s and beyond can bring about hormonal changes associated with menopause, leading to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. Health issues and medications can also contribute to challenges in weight management.

Tips for Weight Loss in Your 50s and Beyond:

  • Prioritize a well-balanced (high protein, high fiber) diet that meets your calorie needs.
  • Strength train regularly, increasing warmup + recovery (yoga, pilates, walking, etc)
  • Consult your healthcare provider to discuss hormonal changes and medication effects.


Conclusion: Embracing a Lifelong Health Journey

No matter your age, weight loss is achievable with the right strategies and mindset. Embrace a holistic approach that includes regular physical activity, a balanced diet, stress management, and sufficient sleep. Remember, the journey to health is a marathon, not a sprint, and small, sustainable changes can lead to significant improvements in your well-being.

By understanding the unique weight loss struggles that accompany each decade, you’re better equipped to navigate challenges and make informed choices that support your health and happiness throughout your life.


Listen to this podcast episode on: Audible, Spotify, or Apple

No-Nonsense Fat Loss: Simplify Your Weight Loss Journey

No-Nonsense Fat Loss: Simplify Your Weight Loss Journey

NeuroticSimplify Your Weight Loss Journey

If you listen to the media, fat loss can sound pretty complicated.  High carb, low carb, nutrient timing, intermittent fasting, carb cycling, ketogenic diets, carb backloading, juicing, green smoothies, magical supplements…

It can be challenging to keep a level head and avoid all the latest trends, wondering if a tweak (or two) might be a way to break out of a plateau or to get better results.  There are definitely times to include a tweak, but generally speaking, its best that you save these for times that you really need them.

So how do you know if its time to include a tweak?

At EM2WL, we encourage you to take a very no-nonsense, simplified approach to fat loss with minimal rules.  Instead of spinning your wheels to figure out which diet is best — take a moment to strip away the “nonsense” from various diet plans that are often just minute variations on the basics.  There are a few best practices that we believe to be critical to your success.  It’s best to make sure that these elements are firmly in place before tweaking anything.

Think about building a successful fat loss program like building a house.  When building a house, you wouldn’t want to try putting up walls before the basic foundation has been laid.  Without a firm foundation to build upon, everything else is pretty useless.

What makes up the foundation of a successful fat loss program?  We believe there are four key components that are critical to have well established before incorporating any other “tweaks.”  We recommend looking over your current fat loss plan and evaluating whether you have a good handle on the following four elements before making any additional changes.  How do you measure up?

1. Sufficient calorie intake

20140626-184149-67309423.jpgIf you’ve been following EM2WL for some time, you know that we firmly believe that eating enough is a key component of a successful fat loss plan.  The standard “eat less, exercise more” model of weight loss can lead to more muscle than fat loss, lowering your metabolic rate over the long term. Without eating enough calories, you run the risk of causing metabolic damage which does more harm than good. If you’ve been dieting for a very long time and are not seeing the results that you desire, it is very likely that you would benefit from doing a metabolic reset.  If you are still struggling to get in an appropriate number of calories daily, it is highly recommended that you become consistent there before incorporating any additional changes. If you’re curious about how many calories is considered sufficient, check out our calorie calculator.

2. Protein

Not only do most women typically not take in enough calories, but tend to be lacking in the protein department as well.  This macronutrient can be one of your biggest weapons in winning the fat loss game!  Generally, we recommend taking in about 0.8 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight.  A number of studies have shown numerous benefits to high-protein diets.  Since protein takes longer for the body to break down and digest, it promotes a feeling of fullness, making it easier for you to stick to your plan.  Protein also is essential in sustaining your lean mass, helping you to recover from workouts, and maintaining healthy skin, nails and organs.  Protein also has been reported to improve brain function, lower blood pressure and improve sleep quantity.ID-100151671

It can be very challenging to get in all that protein!  Give yourself time to get acclimated to a higher protein diet by setting reasonable goals and increasing them weekly.  For instance, if your goal is to eat 150 grams of protein, but you’re currently averaging around 75 grams daily, you might start by trying to get in just 100 grams daily and increase slowly.  Divide your protein among your meals, and it will likely seem a bit more manageable.  Focus on making sure to hit your protein target daily, and then allocate the remaining calories to carbohydrates and fats.

3. Fiber

Most Americans only average about 15 grams of fiber daily, while most people should be taking in anywhere from 20 to 30 grams of fiber daily.  Foods high in fiber are more filling and generally take longer to eat than foods low in fiber.  They are a great way to “stretch out” your meals, thereby eating a high volume of food without adding many calories.  In addition, including fiber in your diet will slow the digestion of carbohydrates and absorption of sugars, keeping blood sugar stable.  High fiber foods also promote digestive health and prevent problems like constipation, hemorrhoids, IBS, and other digestive complaints.  High fiber diets also promote heart health by moving fats and bile salts out of the body, lowering cholesterol in the process.

Tip:  Keep an eye out for snacks like Quest Bars which can provide 20g of protein, and 17g of fiber per serving.  They can be helpful to reach your goals in a pinch, or if you’re newer to tracking these macros, but be sure to try getting as much protein and fiber from whole food sources as possible.

4.  Heavy Resistance Training

Heavy resistance training should be a key component of any fitness program when the goal is fat loss.  Heavy resistance training has a number of metabolic benefits that will pay off in the fat loss department.  Unlike cardio, the metabolic benefits of this type of training last for 24-48 hours after completing your workout as your body must work harder to rebuild its oxygen stores.  This effect, commonly referred to as the afterburn effect or EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption) has a number of metabolic and athletic benefits that will improve your body composition as well as your gym performance! If you don’t know where to start, there are a number of strength training programs to get you started on your journey to a leaner, stronger, healthier you!

How heavy is heavy lifting?If your current fitness program does not currently involve heavy resistance training at least 2-3 times a week, it is highly recommended that you start here before adding in cardio or other forms of exercise to accomplish your goals.  You will be amazed at the way your body transforms when you consistently hit the weights!

DISCLAIMER: We know that many of our followers love running and other forms of cardio and we firmly believe that you should regularly engage in a form of exercise that you truly enjoy! However, there may be times to evaluate whether your preferred form of activity supports your goals.

The Take Away Message

If you feel that you have a good handle on these four elements, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a small change or two to see how your body responds.  We emphasize that it is usually best to change one thing at a time and give your body a chance to respond before changing another variable, however.  As you make adaptations to your plan, you will want to make sure you are listening to your body!  Pay attention to how you look and feel, how you are performing in the gym and your energy level any time you make a change.  Often times, just a very small change can lead to some great results, but if you change too many things at once you will never know what that missing part of the puzzle was!


Photo credit: Apolonia, hin255 of

How Much Cardio is “Too Much?”

How Much Cardio is “Too Much?”


Contrary to my personal anti-treadmill stance, cardio can absolutely play a role in fat loss. But just like everything else in life, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Although our motto here at EM2WL is “cardio for fun, weights to transform,” we DO recognize the value that cardio can add to a goal-specific workout plan (and that fact that some of you REALLY actually…umm…love it).  So it’s understandable that cardio lovers in the Fam, striving to heal their metabolisms and finally lose fat tend to panic a bit when they hear anything about doing “too much” cardio!

When it comes to cardio, it seems that people either love it or hate it. Whether you’re a group instructor, runner, or despise cardio, your workouts should work for you, not against you. In order for this to happen, you must understand the purpose behind each type of workout, how it pertains to your goals, and apply it accordingly.  



Cardio is endurance exercise. The more you do, the better your body adapts, and builds up the ability to be able to withstand the same circumstances next time.

This adaptation is great if the goal is to cover a certain distance in increasingly quicker amounts of time (think: training for a marathon), or simply last longer in Zumba class.  

As far as general heart-health is concerned, this is usually the goal.  



Your new level of efficiency is usually noticeable during workouts when you’re suddenly able to do more cardio than you initially were physically capable of doing just weeks/months before. For example: you may have originally broken a sweat doing ten minutes of cardio before, but now you have to do fifteen minutes to get to the same level.

If you were formally breathless chasing the kids, or climbing a flight of stairs – this type of adaptation is an amazing/healthy feeling.  However, when the goal is fat loss, this adaptation means you now have to do more work to achieve the same results you initially were achieving with your cardio-only workouts. 

Adaptation = doing the same work for lesser results.

When it comes to adaptation, strength training is no exception.  If you lift the same weight day in and out, your body eventually adapts and that weight just won’t cut it.  You’ll have to introduce new stimuli to keep getting results, or risk hitting the infamous plateau.

But there’s good news when it comes to weight lifting adaptation: all you have to do to bust past that plateau is to lift heavier weights! The duration of your weight lifting sessions will never have to change (like your cardio has to) so long as you’re increasing your weights. This allows you to still be efficient without putting in extra time. Weight lifting gives you the most bang for your buck.

In other words: endurance exercise improves your endurance, but doesn’t necessarily contribute to fat loss beyond the initial newbie phase.

Lifting improves your strength, endurance, lean body mass (muscle!) and assists in fat loss. 



So how do you know that you’ve entered the “adaptation zone?”  

In addition to monitoring your performance during the workout, you can turn to your heart rate monitor (HRM) for clues. Using a HRM – or other wearable fitness device that monitors HR (like Fitbit) will allow you to see when your body gets to a point where it becomes more efficient at cardio.  

As endurance improves, your HRM will subsequently show that your calorie burn is lessening for common cardio activities.  When you notice that you’re burning less cals boing the same amount of work, your body has adapted. At that point you must either increase time, or change up your workout style to continue getting results.

If, for instance, you’re training for a race or are focused on increasing endurance, remember increased efficiency is in fact a good thing. When that calorie adaptation occurs, you’ve just shortened your race time. Increasing the time of the workout is actually the goal in that case.  

On the flip side, when it comes to fat loss, inefficiency is key.  



Doing the same workouts, but burning less cals, would mean that over time you’d be eating too much (even on a diet) – and eventually start GAINING weight.

That is what we’re trying to prevent when we provide warnings about “too much cardio” during your reset or early stages of fat loss.  It’s not about removing something that you love, but rather understanding the roles that workout style plays in your fat loss journey.

There is no magic, universal number for how much cardio is too much. By using the tips above, your best answer is to listen to your body and evaluate often to see where your efficiency levels are at and if they’re conducive to the physique goals you’re trying to achieve.



Opt In Image
Get in-depth info on Strength Training
Exclusive vids, tips, and free workouts

Should you just do cardio to lose weight? How heavy is heavy lifting? Do "strength" DVDs count? What if you don't want to lift? Sign up now for in-depth info on strength training and fat loss.  You'll also receive special vids and free workout plans to help you get the most from your time in the gym.

No worries, we hate spam too!



Plugin by Social Author Bio

STOP Spinning your wheels and Get OFF the Rollercoaster!



Download the FREE EM2WL Quick Start Guide and get...

> An overview of the Eat More 2 Weigh Less basics


> Access to our Crushing the Diet Mentality Facebook Community


> BONUS!! FREE fat loss/muscle gain workout plan.


You have Successfully Subscribed!