To Cardio Or Not To Cardio?
How, when and who should do cardio? The old adage is that to get strong you lift the barbell and go buffet. OOF. And if you're me, you sometimes skip the barbell part.
In all honesty some form of cardio can benefit us all, regardless of our goals. It can help overall fitness, which in turn can help our recovery and ability to handle more training = get strong and jacked. Obviously cardio = cardiovascular which is great for our heart health. There are many benefits to cardio and we are going to lay out how to implement them based on your goals.
1. Lifter/general health: For the general public getting 3-4x a week of some light cardio is a great addition to any fitness plan. Adding in 20-40 minute walks or bike rides is a simple way to improve mood, health and general well being. This can easily be applied to the strength athlete as well. Using your warmup and cool down as staples. Try hitting 15-30 minutes at a moderate pace of your choice before getting into your squats/bench/deadlift workout. This will not negatively impact your session and over time will allow you to recover better from your volume.
2. Bulking: This is a very common question and dilemma for many. Many people justify in their minds that cardios only for marathon runners and bodybuilders that are dieting. Much like the general lifter and general health, cardio for someone with mass gaining goals can be a great compliment. Again just relying on warmups as your form of cardio is a good start. Adding in a bit extra in a bulk isn't a bad idea either though. This will allow you to not only partition calories a bit better but also can allow you to sneak in a few more calories if your appetite is growing from the MEGA GAINS AND TRAINING.
3. Fat-loss: Cardio is probably most known for its effects on burning calories. This is true, calorie deficit is the key to losing weight or burning fat. To lose weight we can create a deficit through eating less calories daily or moving more. It's simple. How we go about this tends to be a bit more personal. Dropping calories too low can negatively not only affect our energy in training and in life. Slowly adding/layering in cardio with a progressive plan is often a better route so we can keep our calories generally high. Lifting weights still needs to be a priority as this will not only burn calories but also maintain our muscle which is key. Just like lifting starting slow and adding over time is the best method. Doing an extra 1-3 sessions a week of 10-30 minutes of cardio is plenty. If weight loss stalls add one more session a week of 10-30 minutes. From there next plateau you can simply add 10-20 minutes.
Long story short cardio is great for all of us regardless of goals. It can be walking, running or biking. The method or tools you use are less important than having a consistent plan to stick to. These boots weren't made for walking but I'm fat.
Since you're into fitness and all...check these articles out(links below).
---> Setting Your Fitness Goals <---
---> How To Stay Motivated <---
---> Diet Adherence <---