Do you spend too long on the treadmill, bikes, or ski machines?
If you have the aim to build muscle mass then you will have to consider the time you spend on cardio. Cardio is brilliant for your circulatory system and to develop your lung capacity. By all means, you shouldn’t avoid cardio, but you should think about how much cardio you are doing.
When building muscle mass we need a caloric surplus to take in enough nutrients throughout the day, to aid in muscle growth. If we don’t get a caloric surplus your muscles or fat stores will start breaking down to find the energy that it requires to function.
Now think about it…if you are spending say, hours performing cardio, then you will be consuming many calories while working your circulatory system, and furthermore, long endurance training doesn’t build muscle mass. To build muscle mass you need to train with weights – performing hypertrophy training. If you are like many people, you may struggle to consume your daily calories in clean foods sources, anyway. Trying to consume 3-5 meals plus supplements can get demanding.
Now, if you are doing a lot of cardio – for example: over an hour per session; then you will need to consume the extra calories that you burnt off doing cardio to aid in achieving the minimum calories and nutritional requirements needed to build muscle mass.
What’s the answer to building muscle mass while maintaining a cardio regime?
This depends on a major factor; the amount of fat that you are carrying on your body. If you struggle to put on weight and have a skinny body type then a more intense cardio session may be more useful. Keeping your cardio 15-20 minutes with some hi-intensity training, where you could include some sprints or bursts of higher intensities within your cardio regime which may be more beneficial too.
If you have a higher level of body fat then cardio will be imperative to include along with weight training as you probably want to be building mass while losing fat at the same time. However, instead of solely focusing on hi-intensity exercises, keep more towards low-intensity cardio – also known as the fat buring zone – to help increase the rate of fat loss.
You should aim toward a 30-minute low-intensity cardio session where you are comfortable at being able to hold a conversation while performing the exercise. Many bodybuilders will include a 30-minute brisk walk as a fat burning exercise to supplement their weight training or something with a similar intensity and length of time.
So before you step into the gym, think about the time you spend on your cardio! You could be burning unnecessary calories, preventing you from reaching goal towards building muscle mass.