One of the most common questions that I got as a personal trainer is “should I do cardio?”
The simple answer is yes.
Won’t cardio eat up all of your precious muscle gains?
The Cardio Myth
For some reason, most bodybuilding “gurus” have spread a nasty rumor about cardio.
They say it will ruin all of your muscle gains and cause you to look like an anorexic distance runner.
Because of this, every mass building program made today tells trainees to avoid cardio like the plague.
This is a huge mistake!
While lifting heavy weights does a great job of getting your heart rate elevated, doing some extra cardio exercise regularly can also have many great benefits, such as…
- Increased Heart Health
- Increased Metabolism Efficiency
- Lower Blood Pressure
Knowing this, I’m not sure why cardio got has gotten such a bad reputation.
How Running Increased My Squat
Back in the day, I had an idea in my head that I was going to become a cop.
After watching a few movies that had some awesome chase scenes and gunfights, I thought being a cop would be amazing.
This was back when I was a tub of lard who classified himself as a “powerlifter” because I needed an excuse to eat anything I wanted and look like shit.
I had a gut and I wasn’t even that strong for my body weight. I was just an average lazy fuck.
As a result, my ability to do anything that relied on my heart to move oxygenated blood throughout my body sucked.
I could only run for about 5 minutes before I was gasping for air which was pretty embarrassing.
Anyway, this all tied in with becoming a cop because of the police academy physical agility test.
In order to pass the test, I had to be able to do 40 push-ups and sit-ups within a minute and run a mile and a half in 13 minutes or less.
Of course, I had the push-ups and sit-ups conquered, but running was a whole different ballgame.
Long story short, I practiced running on a track for 2 months but still fell short of my goal.
Even though my ability to run longer distances greatly increased, I still wasn’t quite fast enough.
However, one thing that I learned from the whole experience was how cardio can actually make a person stronger in the weight room.
See, whenever I would perform heavy squats, my cardio fitness level would prevent me from getting the maximum amount of reps possible.
And it sucked!
I mean, my leg muscles had plenty of energy left, but my heart would be pounding out of my chest.
This held me back for many years until I saw the effect that running had on my lifting.
After running consistently for a few months, my new and improved cardio skills gave me the ability to complete more reps with heavy weight!
As a result, I was able to increase the amount of damage done to my leg muscles which made them bigger and stronger.
The Best Cardio Method For Bodybuilding
Although I got good results from running, I don’t actually believe that running is the best method of completing your cardio workouts.
You see, running, especially if you are overweight, puts a tremendous amount of stress on your joints and can cause annoying overuse injuries such as shin splints.
Running on lifting days can also make you weaker if you do it before your weight training.
So, what is the best method of cardio training?
Walking regularly will help you
- Burn Fat
- Save Your Joints
- Conserve energy for weightlifting
- lower blood pressure
- increase overall cardio
The Best Time to Walk
Whenever you decide to do both cardio and weight training on the same day, I highly recommend doing your weight workout first.
This will allow you to have the maximum amount of energy possible to lift heavy weights and build bigger and stronger muscles.
Trust me, going for a 5-mile walk (especially where I live in Arizona) before completing your weight workout can leave you feeling drained and exhausted.
Make Your Walks Educational
Please for the love of god, don’t just listen to retarded music when you walk.
Instead, take advantage of that time and learn something new!
Download audiobooks or educational youtube videos and listen to them while you walk to gain greater knowledge.
The Bottom Line
Cardio can have a positive effect on your weight training and make you an overall healthier person.
You will not lose muscle mass unless you stop eating and lifting weights!
Don’t be afraid to get outside and get moving.
From The Man Himself –