Any activity that gets your heart rate elevated and requires sustained physical exertion should be counted towards your cardio total for the week. You must be logged in to post a comment Login Despite popular broscience beliefs, cardio does not burn muscle. Instead, the answer lies on a bell curve where performing some cardio is totally fine and will produce certain health and fitness benefits, but to where performing too much can begin having a negative impact on your muscle building progress if you aren’t careful. A good guideline to hold onto is that you should still be able to breathe comfortably through your nose. But did you know that cardio can actually prevent you from getting lean? Secondly, if you perform little to no cardio during your bulking phase, it’s going to be a very painful process shifting into regular cardio once you decide to cut. That’s why, for 99% of lifters and bodybuilders, it’s best to cut all moderate- to high-intensity cardio from their workout plan. Aside from the obvious fact that cardio burns calories (helping you to improve fat loss during a cutting phase or potentially reduce body fat gains during a bulking phase), here are a few other less commonly discussed upsides of including a moderate amount of cardio in your plan… 1) Cardio can improve muscle recovery in between workouts. The more cardio you do, the more it’ll interfere with your strength and muscle gains. … Look at pretty much everybody's program, and you'll see how they approach these two goals: resistance training to build mass, followed by some cardio to burn fat. Just like most bodybuilding and fitness topics, the answer here is not black and white, and it’s most certainly not an issue of cardio being either “good” or “bad” or that you should either perform a ton of cardio throughout the week or none whatsoever. It doesn’t matter whether you obtain a negative energy balance through diet or through cardio, the fat loss results will be the same. 3) Cardio improves metabolic conditioning. Franco Columbu 2x Mr.Olympia: “We didn’t do any cardio when bodybuilding back in the day. Do you avoid or severely limit the amount of cardio you perform during the week out of fear that it will “burn muscle” and interfere with your size and strength gains? But what they fail to mention is that these studies are done on poorly trained or untrained individuals, which alters the situation. Not only does this lessen the discomfort of delayed onset muscle soreness, but it can actually help your muscles recover more quickly in the days following a weight training workout. In addition, you’ll find out what you should do instead if you bodybuilding or want to shape a shredded figure. Now, the problem is that since you’ve already been dieting for months, you may not be able to set your calorie intake any lower. When you work your muscles burn for a long time, it's because of the lactic acid they produce, right? After untrained folks do a few weeks of cardio, however, the training ceases to remain a sufficient stimulus and won’t enhance muscle growth further, but will actually impair it. If you cannot do that, the intensity is too high and the session will interfere with muscle growth. That way, the cardio will have less of a negative impact on your lifting performance. While that seems to make sense, that’s not how it works in real life. Disclaimer: Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any diet or exercise program or taking any dietary supplement. So, you’ll get identical results whether you burn eight hundred calories each week through cardio or you just reduce your calorie intake by that number. If you’re going for a leaner and more athletic look or if you’re performing cardio simply because you enjoy it or have practical use for it (such as improving conditioning for a sport), then the amount of cardio you perform is really up to you and it doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to 4 times per week. In fact, far from burning away the hard work you put in on the gym floor, the researchers found cardio can actually increase muscle size. After all, cardiovascular exercise eats away at your muscle tissue, decreases gym performance and is directly counterproductive to building a strong and muscular body, right? Thus, while cardio tends to reduce your overall activity throughout the rest of the day, strength training and bodybuilding doesn’t have that negative effect. Food is more likely to be stored as fat, recovery between workouts takes longer, your quality of sleep decreases, and you increase your chances of developing a lengthy list of possible health problems. Aside from your “aesthetic desire” for a big chest and lean abs, let’s not forget about the basic benefits of simply maintaining sound overall cardiovascular conditioning. So, the bottom line is that you should avoid cardio if you want to maximize muscle growth, instead focus on proper bodybuilding. Second, research shows that we tend not to suffer constrained energy expenditure after we hit the iron. SUMMARY. In fact, you’ll burn about the same number of calories during resistance training as you do during cardio, as found by a 2015 study from the University of Colorado. It could be considered the perfect exercise as it works all the main muscles of the body, is of higher intensity than walking and of lower impact than running, and burns more calories per hour than any other commonly used aerobic exercise (around 840 per hour). It’s purely a love-hate relationship, or maybe even tolerate-hate sort of thing. One of the undeniable hallmarks of bodybuilding is extreme muscularity. *So, what are these systems, what do they do, and how do … When most people think of cardio, they typically think of running. Cardio, if done correctly and in moderation, may actually help gain muscle. That said, even though cardio is not needed or is even counterproductive in almost all scenarios…. When you become more senstive to insulin, carbohydrates are more likely to be stored as glycogen rather than fat, and you’ll have lower levels of inflammation and require less recovery time in between workouts. That’s why you should avoid cardio if you want to optimize muscle growth. All forms of cardio done at a moderate to high intensity, however, interfere with muscle growth. Now, some people will argue that I’m overstating the interference effect of cardio. The answer is no. The researchers looked at how adding cardio to a resistance training plan would influence hypertrophy, and they found that it lowered muscle growth effect size by almost 50%. They may keep their hands and feet still, instead of fidgeting and bouncing their feet around, as they otherwise might. And the higher the intensity of the cardio, the stronger the interference. Cardio should burn away your bodyfat—but not your hard-earned muscle. They’ll cite studies such as this one or this one to show that doing cardio doesn’t hurt but actually causes muscle growth. That’s what a 2012 meta-analysis published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal found. So, just make an effort to position your cardio workouts on the specific days of the week that would maximize recovery and prevent training overlap as much as possible. Both activities burn calories. To be more specific, the more cardio you do, the more it will interfere with muscle growth. At the end of the day, fat loss comes down to one thing: energy balance. Very low-intensity activities such as walking and low-pace cycling don’t interfere with muscle growth because they’re not intensive enough to trigger much of an adaptation response. That’s why you want to keep the intensity of your cardio sessions low. An excellent form of cardio is slow-paced cycling. For instance, let’s say you’re going on stage in eight weeks from now and you’re already relatively lean. When you’re more physically active throughout the week you’ll just simply feel better, and this will have direct positive carryover to all areas of your life from your fitness program to your work to your social life and more. The most important principle when it comes to building muscle optimally is to strive for progressive overload and continuously add more weight to your lifts over time, and that’s why it’s crucial that you always enter the gym fresh and fully prepared to train at your maximum potential. While cardio does burn calories and helps aid in weight loss, combining it with at least two to three days a week of strength training workouts can increase the rate at which you lose weight. Ultra-marathons and extreme endurance events are in a league of their own. The higher the intensity of the cardio, the stronger the interference effect. Perform a couple cardio sessions in addition to your weight training workouts and you’ll be surprised at the positive effect it can have on helping you fall asleep faster as well as sleeping more deeply throughout the night. I hope you found the information useful. Light intensity sessions for 20 – 40 minutes a couple of times a week can offer huge benefits towards improving your gains. Thanks for checking out my article! It incorporates compound exercises, the format is set to help optimize muscle building and fat burn, and it will leave you feeling equal parts sweaty and strong. Fasted cardio, most often done first thing in the morning, has been a popular approach in the world of bodybuilding for years... and it works, if you're using performance-enhancing drugs to protect your muscle mass. So, if you’re like so many people out there who are relatively inactive outside of weight training, I’d highly recommend getting in at least a couple cardio sessions in during the week. Both of these movements produce less muscle damage, which helps you recover faster from your cardio sessions. Cardio and bodybuilding aren’t always two words that go together well. So, does cardio “burn muscle” and “kill gains”? Ten men aged between 25 and 30 were put through a … That’s why it’s best to limit the amount of cardio you do. What exactly would be considered as “excessive cardio”, and exactly how much cardio is too much? Probably not. Is cardio “good” or “bad”? That’s right! Excessive periods without cardio exercise will cause your overall conditioning to drop very quickly, and you’ll then have to build it right back up from scratch. It doesn’t matter, however, whether you achieve that energy deficit by eating less or by doing cardio − given the same energy balance, you’ll lose the same amount of weight and fat. Our bodies evolved to move, and being stationary throughout most of the day is not natural to our physiology. Let’s say you want to do a cardio session on the exercise bike. But also, simple and direct enough for you to put to use. HIIT workouts along with weight training burn fat after the workout is over and help maintain muscle. That’s why you want to have elevated concentrations of mTOR. A moderate amount of cardio can actually improve muscle recovery when performed within certain limits (I’ll touch on this later), but there eventually comes a point of diminished returns to where the extra cardio begins working against you rather than for you. All those hours of grinding away on the treadmill may do more harm than good for your muscle mass and bodybuilding goals. LEAN: WHICH PHYSIQUE IS BETTER. ), HOW TO LOOK BIGGER AND MORE MUSCULAR IN CLOTHES (6 KEY TIPS), DOES PLAYING SPORTS HARM MUSCLE GROWTH? (This is often a problem for those who prep for a bodybuilding or a physique contest.). Sure, that’s not ideal from a muscle-maintaining perspective. You’ll also want to space your cardio out during the week as best you can so that it has minimal interference with weight training performance and recovery. The problem, though, is that cardio triggers the exact opposite. That’s because fat loss is all about energy balance. 1) It interferes with recovery in between weight training sessions. Which is the best cardio for bodybuilding as it relates to fat loss? The content on our website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare or fitness professional. So in reality, the answer is no, cardio does not burn muscle; training in an incorrect way is what burns muscle. Constrained energy expenditure refers to the fact that after people do (aerobic) exercise, they unconsciously tend to reduce their overall energy expenditure, in particular their non-exercise physical activity (NEAT). “To gain muscle with cardio, you need to stress proficiency in your anaerobic and aerobic systems,” he adds. When you are performing resistance training, while following a calorie-restricted diet, then you stand a better chance of losing strictly body fat, while helping to enhance the natural curves of your body. Since that movement primarily trains your leg muscles, it’s not wise to do that training on your leg days. Although not the quickest way to burn calories, lifting weights increases strength, muscle tone and enhances your metabolism. If you did enjoy this post, don\'t forget to sign up for my newsletter that delivers science-based, no B.S muscle building and fat loss tips, macro-friendly recipes, motivational strategies and more straight to your inbox every week: And if you\'re into social media, make sure to connect with me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and more for additional fitness tips and updates: on “DOES CARDIO BURN MUSCLE AND KILL GAINS?”, The Negative Effects Of Performing Excessive Cardio. What’s more, overdoing cardio also creates excessive levels of fatigue, which can further reduce muscle growth by impairing gym performance. But low levels of AMPK in your muscles, something lifting weights and bodybuilding helps you accomplish. These include; Better blood flow Weight training has beneficial effects on sleep as well, but if you live a relatively sedentary lifestyle aside from maybe 3-4 hypertrophy style workouts per week, you’re probably still not getting in enough total exercise during the week in order to optimize your sleeping patterns. Weight training should always be given top priority in your program, and you don’t want to negatively impact your strength by pre-fatiguing yourself with a full cardio session prior to hitting the weights. The weight lifting or bodyweight exercises you do are going to help you maintain that hard-earned muscle … To post a comment below if you aren ’ t ideal for fat loss than cardio is that these are... When bodybuilding back in the day is not a good thing… to lose fat, need. But what they fail to mention is that these guidelines also assume it... Training is just as effective for fat loss than cardio is cardio for bodybuilding it! 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