What type of cardio should you do if building muscle is a priority?
I’m a big believer in the philosophy of casting votes for the body you want. Well, casting votes for the life you want really.
Cardio is cardiovascular fitness, i.e making the heart healthier. This is, of course vital for your long term health into old age and to prevent diseases such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension and other silent killers.
The advantages of doing cardio are obvious but the problem is that it’s incredibly BORING for a lot of people and so it’s normally a grudging after thought following a workout.
Most people who do weights workouts as a main exercise don’t normally do cardio for this reason.
I’m definitely in the camp that steady state cardio is boring and so I looked for another way to keep my heart healthy while also making a vote for the leaner, more muscular body that I wanted.
Does cardio make you lose muscle tissue?
If building muscle and losing fat is your goal then you may be worried about burning though muscle tissue with cardio.
Over 10+ years of bodybuilding competition meant that I did probably thousands of hours of slow, trudging cardio in an effort to lose body fat.
I may have lost some muscle tissue doing that as a result of the very low carbs and calories that I was eating at the time. This was necessary to get into the shredded condition necessary for the stage.
For most people though, losing muscle tissue won’t be an issue if you add cardio as long as these conditions are met
- You are eating adequate protein at least 1.6g/kg bodyweight
- You don’t do more than 60 minutes cardio at a time
- Your calories are not too low – a rule of thumb would be around 20-24 x your body weight but you can work out your calories easily using my Calorie Calculator
How much cardio should you be doing?
In this video I’ll outline my principles for cardio that I employ with my Hybrid Bodies coaching community so you can apply them to your own routine.
I am a big believer in only doing exercise you like, this includes cardio.
Cardio is one of the most hated exercises that people do, they do it because they think they have to in order to lose fat.
Truth is that you don’t need to do cardio to lose fat as if fat burning is your goal then all you need to do is burn off more calories than you eat.
I have clients that get in great shape and never do cardio – Check out Andy’s story
If you want to do cardio for fitness benefits such as better heart health, circulation, blood pressure control and just to be more active then pick an exercise that you like doing but also fits your long term objective for your body.
- Listen to the podcast
- Watch the video below