Your goal is to build muscle and gain weight, but you don’t want to get fat in the process. So adding cardio makes a lot of sense as it should keep fat gain in check.
4. Good Cardiovascular Health Is Very Important
Cardio when bulking is important for the same reason that it always is, health!
It improves the flow of oxygen throughout your body, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and some kinds of cancer.
Not only will adding some cardio in your strength training routine promote greater health, it’s also been shown that low intensity cardio reduces stress and thus promotes a healthier environment in the body.
This environment also promotes better recovery, which can potentially lead to more muscle growth as discussed earlier.
5. It Will Make You Feel More Energized
This is something I think is connected to the health aspect of doing cardio.
In the beginning of my fitness journey I didn’t do any cardio. All I did was watching my diet and strength trained. Even though this approach worked, as you can see in my transformation video, one thing I learned recently was that I lacked a lot of daily energy back then.
Here’s how I learned that:
When I began PT school a few months ago, I started doing cardio twice per week with my class. And this had me feel so much more energized.
I feel more productive and alert during the days, and best of all my sleep quality went up immensely. This is a very positive benefit, since sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to maximizing muscle growth.
What Types Of Cardio To Do
When it comes to cardio there are generally three different types people refer to:
- Low intensity steady state (LISS)
- Moderate intensity steady state (MISS)
- High intensity interval training (HIIT)
I’m sure you’ve heard that doing moderate intensity steady state (MISS) is negative when it comes to muscle growth and strength development, and that Low intensity steady state (LISS) and High intensity interval training (HIIT) is fine.
Well, this isn’t entirely true. The reason why people believe this is because it’s so easy to do too much training when you do MISS. It’s not a problem with the training modality, it’s a problem with doing too much training volume, so recovery becomes an issue, which can lead to plateaus.
This means that it’s completely fine to pick any of the modalities as long as you’re not training too much. Let’s look at what too much is:
How To Program Your Cardio
Low Intensity Steady State Cardio
This type of cardio is the easiest kind, but it requires time to give noticeable effects on calorie burn.
Low intensity cardio is only suppose to raise your heart rate a bit, for most people low intensity would happen somewhere between a brisk walk or a slow jog. You should be able to keep a conversation going without much effort.
Medium Intensity Steady State Cardio
This is the type of cardio that you should be careful with, since it’s very easy to go overboard on the amount of training you do in a week.
MISS is when you do some sort of cardio activity repeatedly at a moderate intensity. As opposed to LISS, this is when it’s hard to keep a conversation, you’re sweating, and your heart rate is elevated to moderate or high levels.
High Intensity Interval Training
This type of cardio is great.
It’s awesome for conditioning, burns more calories per minute compared to low intensity cardio and it’s also been shown to support strength gains because it’s very similar to weightlifting in terms of high effort and rest periods.
However, you shouldn’t do too much of this cardio, since it’s very taxing on recovery, which could potentially steal recovery from your strength training.
Instead of doing HIIT routines like the one above, you could play sports 1-2 times per week on rest days for 20-30 minutes. Sports usually involve short periods of high intensity efforts with periods of walking or resting, so it’s very similar to HIIT.
A great benefit of playing sports is that they’re typically more enjoyable than normal “cardio” because you do something that’s not as repetitive, and you can have fun playing with your friends or a team in the meanwhile.