Categorized | Cardio

Build Muscle – Cardio For Muscle Building

One factor of a workout program that causes a lot of confusion amongst those who are trying to build muscle is what they should be doing for cardio.

Common thinking is that cardio should be avoided if you are on a muscle building program because weight lifting and cardio training are complete opposites.

Many individuals, guys in particular, tend to feel that they will ‘undue’ the work they put in during the weight sessions if they pound away on the treadmill.

Their thinking is that all the calories they burned off doing cardio could have gone towards growing them new muscles instead.

While they do have a point, this isn’t the whole story.

The thing to keep in mind is that when you are trying to gain weight, you want most of this weight to be in the form of lean tissue mass, rather than excess body fat. No one wants to gain 20 pounds and then spend the next four months dieting off the consequential 15 pounds of fat that were gained with the five pounds of muscle.

You’re far better off if you can gain 15 pounds of muscle and a measly 5 pounds of fat with it (since regardless of how well your diet is, you do have to accept some fat gain with the new muscle.

To accomplish this goal, cardio training comes in.

What you want to do with your cardio training when on a bodybuilding set-up is keep it limited in duration and frequency, but at a high enough intensity to maintain good cardiovascular shape and to improve nutrient partitioning (the amount of excess calories that are directed towards the muscle cells, rather than the fat cells).

So, aim to perform a maximum of two to three total cardio sessions a week, either at the end of your lifting workouts or on your days off.

One to two of these sessions can be in the form of sprint training, as long as you do not feel as though your legs are being too overworked. If you are already hitting legs with weight workouts three times a week (such as on a full-body weight program), throwing in two days of sprints will have you targeting legs five times a week – WAY TOO MUCH!

As a general principle, your legs should maximally be worked three to four times a week. So, this could be three days of lifting and one day of cardio, or perhaps two days of lifting with two days of cardio.

Keep in mind too that this in individual. If you have poor recovery abilities, you’ll need to knock it down to two or three total leg sessions per week.

Otherwise, moderate paced cardio to get your heart rate up, keep blood circulating, and help prevent muscle soreness should comprise the other one to two cardio sessions each week.

As long as you do that type of protocol, along with ensure that you are eating slightly more food on the days you do perform cardio to maintain a steady weight gain, you should have no issues keeping your body fat levels under control while you work on building more muscle tissue.

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