Cardio for muscle building goals is quite different than doing cardio for fat loss goals.
Cardio is under estimated by many people and many “expert” trainers have been getting rid of cardio and telling people to only lift weights.
Many “expert” trainers believe that weight training is enough to work the cardiovascular system.
WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
If your goal is muscle building, you will keep cardiovascular exercise to a minimum.
BUT you will NEVER cut cardio out of your program completely.
In order to build muscle, your body must have an excess amount of energy to build muscle.
Building muscle requires energy just as building anything requires energy. If you do not give your body enough excess energy for the muscle building process, you will never build muscle.
The above statement simplifies the entire muscle building process but holds true for most situations.
Let’s face the facts here:
Cardiovascular exercise burns calories. Some people believe this to be in conflict with muscle building goals because you need extra energy to build muscle.
Cardio does burn calories, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t help you build muscle.
Too much cardio can definitely inhibit muscle gains, but smaller amounts can enhance muscle gains.
There are simply too many benefits that cardio provides to your body to completely cut it out of your program.
You’ve got to do your cardio for muscle building goals. It doesn’t matter who you are, your background, your current body fat levels, or your age. Cardio is a requirement.
If you want to be healthy, do the minimal amount of cardio during muscle building cycles — never cut it out completely. And I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be healthy and live a long and happy life.
Because cardio burns calories, you will keep cardio to the minimum during muscle building cycles.
Why do you need to keep cardio in your program?
Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits for the person looking to build muscle when using the proper cardio for muscle building protocols during weight lifting cycles:
- Burns excess Fat
- Increases recovery between weight lifting workouts
- Increases appetite
- Keeps you healthy
A Personal Experience That Will Change Your Mind About Cardio
Let me give you an example of my mistake of not including cardiovascular exercise in my program.
My goal a few years ago was to get as big as possible.
I decided to put several muscle building cycles together to get to my goal. I did not include cardiovascular exercise in consecutive muscle building cycles.
Can you guess what happened?
I gained around 40 pounds of body weight over several program cycles. I was in great shape physically from the weight lifting, but my cardiovascular capacity had severely suffered.
I would get out of breath just walking into work in the mornings. I even suffered playing sports.
My blood pressure before that weight gain had always been perfect at 120/80. Well, my blood pressure had risen to around 140/90 and sometimes higher.
I even had measurements as high as 150/95. That is not good. I did everything all natural too so it had nothing to do with drugs as many bodybuilders use.
I have never used drugs and never will as my body is much too important to me. I have kids and a family that need me.
My body was not used to being that large and my heart was having trouble with the changes.
I did not exercise my cardiovascular system at all during those program cycles and my health was suffering. Weight lifting was not enough to keep me healthy and did not exercise my cardiovascular system.
I immediately added cardiovascular exercise and learned to never exclude it from any workout program.
Some people argue that weight training does exercise the cardiovascular system. I argue that it doesn’t even come close to cardiovascular exercise.
Never exclude cardio for muscle building cycles.
Your body will become accustomed to your new and heavier body weight through the use of cardio. You will burn excess body fat and be a healthier and happier person the rest of your life.
So, What’s The Cardio For Muscle Building Strategy?
I want you to start and finish every muscle building cycle with 2 to 3 cardiovascular sessions per week for 30 minutes each session of medium intensity cardio.
If you are past the beginner stage and have been doing medium intensity cardio for a few months, you can experiment with HIIT for 20 minute sessions.
Start and end every muscle building cycle with 2 to 3 cardio sessions per week.
Perform cardio for muscle building first thing in the morning on any day of the week. It’s your choice. Simply wake up about 35 minutes earlier than normal and get that cardio session in. This is where it helps to have some cardio equipment at home.
Another option is to go to the gym early in the morning. If you just can’t fit the morning cardio into your schedule, cardio at any other time throughout the day will be fine.
I prefer that you don’t do cardio directly after your weight lifting workout during muscle building cycles.
I want you to get your post workout shake down as soon as you finish your weight lifting workout.
Work hard during these cardio sessions.
Always try to get better and perform better every cardio session. Your performance should improve due to the increased amount of carbs and calories you’ll be taking in during muscle building cycles.
If you think you need another session to help with excess fat gain during a muscle building cycle, you should first look to your diet. Are you making the best food choices?
If not, correct your diet before adding another cardio session. If your diet is good, add 1 more cardio session at maximum.
For people who have trouble gaining weight, remember that you simply need to eat more food. These are people that are naturally very skinny and have roaring metabolisms.
To help you along the way, only do 2 cardio sessions per week for 30 minutes of medium intensity.
There’s no need to increase the number of sessions or duration of cardio during muscle building cycles. Keep it to 2-3 sessions per week.
Keeping cardio to a minimum during muscle building cycles is simply a part of the overall plan. Your body does adapt to a certain amount of cardiovascular exercise over long time periods, so muscle building cycles help give your body a break from all the cardio.
If you keep the number of cardiovascular sessions lower during muscle building cycles, your body will respond with increased fat loss during fat loss cycles with increased amounts of cardio.
Save higher amounts of cardio for when you need them during fat loss cycles to melt that fat away!
Do not do tons of cardio for long periods of time. You are only hurting the effect cardio has on your body due to the body’s ability to adapt.
The muscle building cardio strategy is to keep cardio to a minimum. The number of cardio sessions per week is 2 to 3 for a duration of 30 minutes each session.
Extremely skinny people who have trouble gaining weight can do 2, 30 minute sessions per week. People who are gaining excess fat should first improve their diet and food choices.